Catamount is a smaller prominence in the Adirondack High Peaks region, but is considered by many to be one of the classic shorter hikes in the area. It is often overlooked because of it's smaller stature, which is a huge mistake. This mostly bare mountains offer one of the few sustained "Alpine type" hikes in New York. The last .8 miles is mostly steep over bare rock with many scrambles and three point hiking challenges. because of it's relative isolation, the views from the summit are first rate. One of the best views of Ester and Whiteface mountain in the entire area.
This "little" mountains offers a interesting change of pace for those who like to hike the Adirondacks and other NE hills. Enough cannot be said about this hike, it is that fun. This is perfect hike for those pressed for time, looking to kill a few hours, or to sandwich between other high peak hikes in the area.
Despite the short nature of this hike, It should be considered a Class 3 Hike (Yosemite System)
From the town of Wilmington, NY (12 miles north of Lake Placid), take the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway. At the actual toll gate (which lead to the summit of Whiteface), stay to the right and continue to a Junction 6.9 miles from Wilmington. Turn Right and continue to the Plank Road Intersection at 7.0 miles. Take a right and continue for 2.1 miles.
A the bottom of long gradual downhill slope (2.1 miles from the above intersection), slow down and look for some RED (or possibly yellow) surveyors tape on the left hend side of the road. THIS MARKS THE TRAILHEAD.
It sounds more complicated then it really is. This area is pretty flat and you are clearly able to see the mountain on your approach. see below photo for how it will look on the approach road.
This is a 3-4 hour dqay hike, but people often choose to "camp out:" along the way due to the nice quiet, less traveled aspect of the area. The same regulations apply as in the rest of the High Peaks region. They are;
* Except where marked by a "Camp Here" disk camping is prohibited within 150 feet of roads, trails, lakes, ponds, streams or other bodies of water.
* Groups of ten or more persons or stays of more than three days in one place require a permit from the New York State Forest Ranger responsible for the area.
* Do not use soap or wash, yourself, clothing or dishes within 150 ft of water.
* Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through filtration device to prevent instances of giardia infection.
* Fires should be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided. Use only dead and down wood for fires. Cutting standing trees is prohibited. Extinguish all fires with water and stir ashes until they are cold to the touch. Do not build fires in areas marked by a "No Fires" disk. Camp stoves are safer, more efficient and cleaner.
* Carry out what you carry in . Practice "leave no trace" camping and hiking.
* Keep your pet under control. Restrain it on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and camp sites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources.
* Observe and enjoy wildlife and plants but leave them undisturbed.
* Removing plants, rocks, fossils or artifacts from state land without a permit is illegal.
* The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited.
When To Climb
Can be climbed at any time of the year. Because of the exposed "Alpine nature" of this mountain, extra care should be used in times of poor weather. Because much of the upper mountain is rock scrambling and steeper pitches over bare rock, winter climbing should only be considered by those with appropriete "winter climbing skills" including in extreme conditions, ice axes and crampons.
By far the most popular time to climp is summer when this mountain can be enjoyed by all memebers of the family, just make sure no one is adverse to steep pitches over bare rock, chimney climbing, many cliffs and drop offs. Kids, of all ages, will love this mountain for the same reasons.
Camping is permitted anywhere along the trail beyond the first .5 miles provided the above stated regulations are followed. Camping in the first .5 miles (which ismaked by a yellow metal pole) is not permitted as it is private property.
Most people will choose this as a shorter day hike and will not choose to camp along the route. No lean-to's or other formal sites are in the area.
None. Basic weather counditions found on Whiteface mountain and the entire Lake Placid area would suffice. It should be noted that the Adirondacks, as a whole, does regularly see EXTREME conditions during the winter season.
If you plan a trip during this time, prepare for and expect typical extreme winter mountain weather, including High winds, extreme wind chills and plenty of snow and ice.
What;s in a Name.
Catamount is the eastern name for the American Mountain Lion, so it would seem that this mountain (like several others) is named for that creature. Officially Mountain Lions no longer reside in the area (however there are, each year, many undocumented sightings), but they once regular resided in the area.
If you wanted to be creative, you could certainly make an argument that the mountain, when viewed from a distance, resembles scat from the elusive American Panther that this mountain is named for.