Whiteface Mountain: A Guide for Families
Whiteface Mountain is the 5th highest mountain in New York. It’s Veterans’ Memorial Highway and Gondola Rides make it an easily accessible mountains for visitors of all types. For winter enthusiasts, Whiteface is a popular skiing and snowboarding mountain.
Whiteface Mountain is located in the NY town of Wilmington, about 13 miles outside of Lake Placid, the home of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics.
There are multiple ways to view and reach the top of Whiteface Mountain, including the Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Gondola rides, and hiking. The alternative ways to reach the summit make Whiteface the perfect destination for those with tiny legs in your family! The summit of Whiteface offers 360 degree views that span as far as Canada and Vermont on clear days.
Whiteface Mountain is one of the top ski resorts in the US Northeast and is currently managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. It was home to the six alpine ski events in the 1980 winter Olympics.
Cloudsplitter Gondola Rides: 9:30pm to 5pm Friday-Sunday
Veteran’s Memorial Highway: 8:45am to 5:30pm Daily
Winter Tickets/Lifts: 8:30am to 4:00pm
Free parking is available at the Main Lodge and Bear Den Lodge. The main lodge includes the River Lot, Lake Placid Lot, and Wilmington Lot. The Bear Den Lodge has two parking lots available.
Paid parking is available in the Gold Lot of the main lodge for easy access to the ski center and shops.
How To Get to Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain and the Ski Center is easily reached by car. The mountain is located approximately 13 miles outside of Lake Placid along NYS Route 86.
There is a free shuttle that runs from Lake Placid to Whiteface. The Shuttle runs in the winter time from December to March for those looking to ski the mountain.
Visit the Summit:
The summit of Whiteface Mountain can be reached via tunnel & elevator or via hike. The summit will give you 360 views of the surrounding areas, including Lake Placid and Lake Champlain.
***Summit access is currently closed due to the pandemic***
The Slides are a series of steep, narrow chutes for skiing. The slides are three times taller than the Empire State Building.
Located throughout Whiteface are six terrain parks with terrain for all skier levels, including advanced and beginner. These parks allow skiers and snowboarders to get practice while jumping, spinning, and sliding through the parks.
A 9 hole disc golf course at the foot of Whiteface Mountain that the whole family can enjoy. Disc golf is available from 9:30am to 5pm daily until Columbus Day.
Lessons and Programs:
There are plenty of opportunities at Whiteface Mountain for education and training. These include the Future Medalist program, Cloudsplitter Club, athletic programs, and Snowboomer Club. There are also many group and private lesson options available for kids and adults.
There are plenty of hiking options around Whiteface Mountain for hikers of all ability levels. Some of the best hikes include:
- The West Branch Nature Trail: A 1.9 trail that can be done in approximately an hour and a half. The trail follows the West Branch of the Ausable River.
- The Stag Brook Falls Trail: A 0.5 mile trail that can be done in about a half hour. The trail begins at the Main Lodge and follows the Stag Brook. Along the trail you will pass a 25 ft. tall waterfall.
- Top of Gondola to Whiteface Summit: A 3.50 mile round trip trail that take about 3 hours to complete. The trail begins at the top of the Gondola rides on Little Whiteface and takes you up a steep path to the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
- Nature Trail at the Summit Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway: A 0.2 mile trail from the Whiteface Castle to the summit that can be done in about fifteen minutes. The trail ascends approximately 257′.
- Bear Den Mountain Hike: A 3.2 mile round trip to the summit of Bearn Den Mountain that can be done in about two and a half hours. There is a 1,432 elevation gain.
The Whiteface Mountain Ski Center and Bear Den Lodge have plenty of dining options with a variety of food choices with something for everyone. Enjoy a meal or glass of wine/craft beer following a long day of exploring and hiking!
- Taste NY Café: Located on the 2nd floor of the main lodge, the café offers many locally grown products, including yogurts, cheese, pastries and other snacks, and local draft beers. The café is open daily from 8am to 4pm.
- The 4610′ Grill: Located near the Whiteface Castle, the 4610′ Grill is the highest food truck in NYS and offers not only great food but stunning views of the areas surrounding Whiteface Mountain. The grill is open daily from 8:45am to 5:30pm.
- Growler’s Grill: Located at the Bear Den Lodge, a pub offering a variety of meal and drink choices, perfect for families with young children. The grill is open from 11am to 4:40pm.
- Base Camp Market: Located on the 2nd floor main lodge, the market offers soup, Whiteface Chili, pizza, sandwiches, wrap, salads, burgers, and fries. There are also bag and go options available. The market is open 8am to 4:30pm.
- J. LOHR Vineyards and Wines Café and Wine Bar: Located on the 2nd floor of the main lodge, this café offers a variety of locally grown and produced dishes and a variety of wine choices. The café is open 9am to 5pm.
- Cloudspin Bar and Grill: Located on the 3rd floor of the main lodge, the grill offers burgers, wings, poutine, quesadillas, sandwiches, and wraps as well as a selection of cold brews. The grill is open 11am to 5pm.
- Black Bear Market: Located in the Bear Den Lodge, a kid friendly restaurant featuring burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, pizza, fries, and a variety of snacks. The market is open 8am to 4:30pm.
The Whiteface Mountain offers multiple gift, apparel, and gear shops.
- Brookside Apparel: Located in the main lodge, this shop offers ski and snowboard apparel and accessories.
- Castle Gift Shop: Located at the end of the Veteran’s Memorial Highway, the shop offers apparel and souvenirs.
- Flying Squirrel Apparel: Located in the Bear Den Lodge, the shop offers ski and snowboard apparel and souvenirs.
The Gondola Rides take you from the foot of Little Whiteface, where you can enjoy views of the surrounding area, including Lake Placid, view the summit of Whiteface Mountain, and, if you choose, complete the hike to the summit. (Find more information and images below).
Veterans’ Memorial Highway
The Veterans’ Memorial Highway is a 5 mile long drive on a paved road to the Whiteface Castle. (Find more information and images of the highway below).
The Ski Center (Photo Story)
The Whiteface Ski Center is home to shops, restaurants, and the Cloudplitter Gondola rides. The gondola rides are approximately fifteen minutes long one way and take you the to the summit of Little Whiteface. There you will be able to disembark and enjoy the views of Lake Placid, the village of Lake Placid, Lake Champlain, and many surrounding mountains.
The Gondola Rides are available Friday through Sunday from 9:30am until 5pm until Columbus Day.
While winter is one of the most popular times to visit Whiteface Mountain, the beauty that you will find in the fall months when the leaves are at peak colors simply cannot be described with words.
Veterans’ Memorial Highway (Photo Story)
The Veterans’ Memorial Highway is a five mile long paved highway that takes visitors to the Whiteface Castle, approx. 300 ft. below the summit.
Construction of the Veteran’s Memorial Highway began in 1929 and was opened in 1935.
The highway is a toll road with a $15 fee for one person, $30 for two, and $40 for 3 to 6 people.
Along the drive you will find plenty of overlook areas where you can pull over for some great views of the surrounding areas.
At the end of the highway you can find a food truck, gift shop, and rest rooms. There is also a tunnel leading to an elevator carved into the center of the mountain that will take you to the summit. Alternatively, you can hike up to the summit.