Complete with a fire tower and magnificent views, Vanderwhacker Mountain is a perfect option for hikers looking to explore the area!

How to get there

*PLEASE NOTE: The dirt road to the trailhead is closed for the foreseeable future. The bridge along the road is closed due to needing repairs, rendering the road closed to motor vehicles. However, it can still be hiked on foot. For the time being, please park across the bridge in the parking area on the other side of Route 28N. DO NOT park along the shoulder of the road. The road closure adds 2.6-miles of road walking to the trip. In total, this trail will be 5.3-miles one way.

From exit 28 in Schroon Lake, follow I-87 north for one exit to the North Hudson exit, #29. From here follow Boreas Road west toward Newcomb. Continue all the way to Newcomb and Route 28N. Take a left onto 28N and continue for just under 6-miles to the access road for Vanderwhacker Mountain on the right, just before the crossing of the Boreas River. Follow this road for 2.6 miles to the trailhead. The access road is dirt and very rough. OK for low clearance vehicles but take it very slow. It can also be hiked to make a fine full day.

By the numbers

  • Distance: (from the trailhead) 2.7 miles, one way
  • Elevation gain: 1,700 feet
  • Mountain Elevation: 3,325 feet

Hiking

From the trailhead, you will hike on a moderate trail with slight elevation change. While wet under some conditions, it’s a nice trail to be on. About half way to the top, a snowmobile trail will come in on the left, often missed, but no less there. At around 1.5 miles from the trailhead, you will come to the old observer's cabins. From here the trail gets quite steep with much of the elevation remaining. It will level out again to a more moderate hike as it approaches the fire tower. From the fire tower the views are stupendous.

Camping

The Vanderwhacker Mountain tent site is near the tower trailhead.

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing

Winter means the summit is thick with tall firs and birches, covered with snow, but there are fine views from the cab of the fire tower. The 360° view includes the High Peaks to the north and the Boreas River valley to the east. Take care on the steps, as they are exposed and can be slippery. Please remove spikes or snowshoes before climbing the tower in the winter as traction devices can damage the steps. Due to steepness of the final push, skiing is not recommended.

Visitors may have to park on the main road during winter.

Views from the summit and the fire tower.
Views from the summit and the fire tower.
The Vanderwhacker Mountain firetower has wonderful views.
The Vanderwhacker Mountain firetower has wonderful views.
See many High Peaks from Vanderwhacker Mountain.
See many High Peaks from Vanderwhacker Mountain.
Always sign in and sign out. Let people know your plans.
Always sign in and sign out. Let people know your plans.
The fire tower was staffed from 1911 to 1971.
The fire tower was staffed from 1911 to 1971.
A wonderful placement make the Vanderwhacker fire tower a favorite.
A wonderful placement make the Vanderwhacker fire tower a favorite.
Beautiful scenery along the trail.
Beautiful scenery along the trail.

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