Backpacker Magazine Adirondack Park: Cascade Mountain 

Southeast of Lake Placid, this popular 4.3-mile out-and-back climbs 2,000 feet to Cascade Mountain's rocky summit and views of Whiteface, Lake Champlain, and the Great Range peaks.

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Author: LisaDensmore
Date: 18 Sep 2008 11:02:55 AM
Activity: Hiking
State: New York (NY)
Distance: 4.3 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 1863 ft
Total Loss: 1859 ft
Net Change: 4 ft
Difficulty: 5 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Keene Valley
Tags: Adirondack Park, Lake Placid, New York
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

A popular destination with Lake Placid dayhikers, Cascade Mountain packs in big, 4,000-foot views in 4.3 miles. (Tip: Go early to nab a parking spot in one of the three turnouts near the trailhead.) From the trailhead, descend a log-framed staircase to the sign-in box and follow the red trail markers. The route begins climbing a rocky and root-strewn path over occasional waterbars and stone steps. Gaining 2,000 feet in roughly 2 miles, the trail climbs at a grade through a mix of birch, beech, and striped maple; on two occasions, the climb levels (once to cross a stream and again to traverse a mud hole).

About a mile in, the trail swings northeast and continues ascending rock slabs through a gradually thinning forest. After climbing a steep slab at mile 1.7, the trail breaks out into its first overlook—look west to Mount Marcy and north to spy Lake Placid’s ski jumps. Just ahead, the trail forks with the route to Porter Mountain: stay left here to continue on toward the Cascade summit. In its final half-mile, the trail levels in a grassy clearing before encountering a cairn-spotting scramble to the summit. Atop Cascade’s bald ridge, enjoy views south to peaks in the Great Range, look north to Whiteface, and east to Hurricane Mountain, Lake Champlain and Vermont’s Green Mountains. Enjoy a summit lunch before backtracking to the trailhead.

Note: Cascade is considered a beginner hike by seasoned Adirondack peak-baggers, but it is still an exposed summit. Be prepared year-round for wind, cold conditions, and sudden weather changes.

-Mapped by Lisa Densmore,


>> Order the USGS topo quads listed above at
>> Order a custom, seamless map of this route by selecting our Print MyTopo option.

CONDITIONS: Check weather at Lake Placid, NY (12946)

INFO: For more information about the region, check out Visit Adirondacks.

CONTACT: Adirondack Mountain Club, Member Services Center, 814 Goggins Road, Lake George, NY 12845; (518) 668-4447;


1866 Nys Route 73
Keene Valley, NY 12943
(518) 576-2281 ‎

Jones Outfitters Ltd  
2733 Main St # 2
Lake Placid, NY 12946-3318
(518) 523-3468

Eastern Mountain Sports‎
3066 New York 50
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 580-1505‎

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery‎
813 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946
(518) 523-3813‎

‎Eres Pizza 
2439 Main St # 1
Lake Placid, NY 12946-3366
(518) 523-2997  

45 Phila Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-3211
(518) 584-4790

TO TRAILHEAD: From Main St. in Lake Placid, head southeast on NY 73/Cascade Rd. for 7.5 miles to the trailhead (on right). Note: It's the second of 3 small parking areas just before Cascade Lake.

Position Format: Datum:

Cascade Mountain

Distance: 4.30 mi Points: 472
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Cascade Mountain

Points of Interest


Location: 44.218928, -73.887573 Altitude: 662.33
Trailhead: Descend a log staircase and then cross 4 footbridges to reach the sign-in box. Marked with red NYSDEC blazes, the trail ascends from the sign-in box. There are lots of rocks and roots. Numerous waterbars and well-placed stones help to fortify this popular route.

Trail View

Location: 44.215525, -73.885331 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore


Location: 44.215486, -73.864916 Altitude: 1164.031
After scrambling up a steep slab, the trail breaks out onto an open rock revealing views of Mount Marcy (west) and Lake Placid's ski jumps (north). From here, the trail re-enters the woods, continuing uphill to the northeast.

First View

Location: 44.215509, -73.864710 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore © Lisa Densmore


Location: 44.215971, -73.862559 Altitude: 1196.34
Bear left at the trail fork on the broad, flat rock (follow red markers). The right fork heads to Porter Mountain. Ahead, the trail levels and passes through a grassy meadow. When the trees end, continue following yellow-printed signs and rock cairns for a scramble to the Cascade Mountain summit. To add 1.4 miles to the hike and bag another 4,000-foot peak, consider a detour to the Porter Mountain summit.

Summit View

Location: 44.218539, -73.859990 Altitude:
A view of Great Range peaks to the south from the Cascade Mountain summit. © Lisa Densmore © Lisa Densmore

Upper trail

Location: 44.217616, -73.860741 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore

Hikers departing summit

Location: 44.218508, -73.860011 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore

Summit view to Lake Champlain

Location: 44.218508, -73.860483 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore

Summit view of Whiteface Mountain

Location: 44.218631, -73.860483 Altitude:
© Lisa Densmore


Location: 44.218558, -73.860190 Altitude: 1244.194
Cascade Mountain (4,072 ft.): Look for the Hurricane Mountain fire tower (east), Lake Placid (northwest), Mount Whiteface (north), and several Great Range 4,000-footers (to the south). Atop the long and broad ridge of the summit there are many places to enjoy the view and a picnic lunch before backtracking to the trailhead.


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