Vanderwhacker Mountain is a moderate climb in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Reaching an elevation of 3,389 feet, views are quite good from the summit. After a fairly stiff hike of about 5.7 miles, you will be rewarded with great views of the High Peaks (including Algonquin, Colden, Marcy, and Gothics among others). However, this view is limited from the summit itself; as views in three directions are obscurred by trees. But if you're brave enough to venture to the top of the firetower, you will have panoramic views of the majestic Adirondack Mountains.
The trail itself is a very nice trail, as long as you go during the "dry season" (may be hard to tell when that is in the Adirondacks)because it is mostly on a soil trail. Following Vanderwhacker Brook for most of the hike, the trail can become very muddy and require careful foot placement. At first the trail is a flat path (clearly defined) leading to a stream crossing, a swamp, and finally the old ranger cabin. At this point, the trail becomes significantly steeper and continues as such for most of the remainder of the hike; leveling out once you get close to the summit.
Overall, a very nice hike. But the drive in can be worse than the hike! The trailhead is 2.6 miles down a dirt road, and a rough one at that. So use caution when driving back in. You will hit a bridge at about 1.5 miles and then cross some old railroad tracks; the trailhead is about 1 mile further with a SMALL parking lot.
Getting there isn't very hard, the dirt road is right off of Route 28. If coming from Old Forge/Long Lake, it will be about 5 to 10 minutes past Newcomb, being a right hand turn just before
the Boreas River Bridge. If coming from Minerva, it will be a left hand turn just after you cross
No peak fees to speak of, just you and the 'dacks in complete solitude.
On the dirt road leading to the trailhead, there are numerous campsites to stay at. As far as I know these will be free, however you may want to check with the local ranger to see if you need a permit. As for off of the trail, it is on state land and therefore camping is permitted with special regulations. See http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7872.html for specifics.
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