Location: Wilmington, NY, USA
Starting Point: Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
Elevation:  Whiteface 4,865ft (#5 on High Peaks List)
Esther 4,239ft (#28)
Ascent: 3,975ft
Route We Took: Starting at Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
Total Distance: 16km (10 miles)
Time: 7.5 hours (with breaks)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Whiteface and Esther are #6 and #7 on my list of Adirondack 46ers. They made for a great day of hiking despite the crappy weather!

My friend Kat (also in pursuit of the 46) and I headed to the Adirondacks the night before and stayed in Wilmington at a cute little Airbnb. It had a fantastic view plus  our host Merri got up early to make us fresh blueberry muffins for breakfast! SCORE.

View from AirBnb
THE CUTEST. Fresh delicious homemade muffins!

We were on the trail by 7:30am with only two other cars in the parking lot. The first 35 minutes of the trail were straight up but manageable. We were shocked how fast we made it up the first steep section to the summit of Marble Mountain. This is the only place we got views all day.

View from Marble Mountain

By 9:10am we already hit the cairn that split the trail to Esther (to the right) and Whiteface (to the left).  We decided to get Esther out of the way.

Left = Whiteface, Right = Esther

Esther’s trail was pretty muddy with a gradual up and downhill for 40 minutes to the summit. The summit was surrounded by trees with a plaque in the rock at our feet.


We were back at the cairn by 3:00pm and ready to take on Whiteface.  From here the rest of the hike is pretty cruisey until the last 15-20 minutes.  We passed ski runs and a gondola on the way up.  When you hit the giant rock wall (that is attached to the road up Whiteface) you know you are close!

This rock wall means you are SO CLOSE.
From here you take the trail up to the road. It’s easy to miss but the trail continues up and left instead of walking up the road the rest of the way. The rocks were wet and quite dangerous from the rain.
After a good steep climb you will see the Weather Observation Station at the top of Whiteface. We hit the summit before 12:00pm with rainy and windy conditions and ZERO view. We snapped a few pictures with the sign and retreated into the Observation Station to eat and warm up. We also stopped by the cafe and gift shop to look around and use the indoor bathroom.


What a beautiful view.


We left the Whiteface summit at 12:45pm and took the road back down to the rock wall (to skip the sketchy wet section). It only took us until 3:00pm to get back down to the parking lot.
I suggest doing this hike in good weather as the top is a spectacular view. I’m hoping to drive back up one day to see what we missed that day!

Mary Anne Ivison

Mary Anne loves hiking, mossy rocks and her gig as a radio personality. She is in pursuit of becoming an ADK 46er and touching every mountain on planet Earth.

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