Bear Den Mountain - Wilmington, NY
Sunday September 20th and I was back on the trails and up again at 4:30 in the morning to head to Wilmington, NY. I was planning on taking my mom on a nice moderate hike in the Lake Placid area called Bear Den Mountain which was part of the Lake Placid 9er.
We started our drive up the highway and got off the exit and my GPS had me trying to park near St Huberts - I knew this couldn't be right, because I knew the hike didn't say anything about hiking Lake Rd... I realized the Bear Den Mountain it was bringing me to was the one that is on the trail with Dial & Nippletop, not the one I planned on hitting today.
We found some service and realized that the GPS was of course wrong, and that we needed to head about 20 minutes up the road to the Whiteface ski center.
When you enter Whiteface there is a sign on your right hand side that says "Bear Den Parking", follow that. There is also a sign that says "Authorized Personnel Only", so I was a bit skeptical but asked a worker and he told me it was okay to go through anyway.
You enter this lot with gondolas, construction vehicles and I look around and there isn't a car in sight! Finally I see the trail sign in book off to my left in the second lot and I'm like okay, weird but this is right.
8 am in Lake Placid on a Sunday and not one hiker in the parking lot .. have a hit the jackpot???
We park, sign in the book and hit the trail.
Bear Den Mountain is a really well groomed mountain. It ended up being around a 5.2 mile out and back hike (not a 3.3 like alltrails says) that climbs over 1400 ft of elevation and offers some incredible views of Whiteface.
It isn't a technical hike, as most of the trail consists of dirt paths, but don't discount this mountain - as you still need to put in work to climb that elevation!
The hike starts out following a small waterfall and stream and then juts up towards the summit. Consisting primarily of switchbacks, the trail continually climbs to the summit.
There is one fork in the road towards the top, where you can summit Bear Den or continue your hiking journey over to Whiteface. Bare to the left if you want to summit Bear Den like we did.
We spent about 20 minutes on the summit (it got chilly quickly up there) and headed back down.
Fun trail if you are looking for a moderate Lake Placid hike, good for families, dogs, and kids and anyone looking to escape the crowds in the high peaks. We had the trail completely to ourselves until around 10:30.