Concerned about public safety and increased traffic, New York officials will temporarily relocate the trailhead and trailhead parking for Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain West during Columbus Day Weekend.
New York Department of Environmental Conservation officials say the trailhead and trailhead parking will be moved 1.3 miles west of the current trailhead to the Olympic Regional Development Authority’s Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is committed to ensuring New Yorkers and visitors alike have safe access to our state’s world-class natural areas, and during busy holiday weekends we must take steps to ensure public safety. By offering an easily accessible parking area with connections to current trails, this temporary trailhead relocation will help ensure all interested hikers can safely enjoy the opportunities this area has to offer.”
Beginning at dusk on Thursday, October 5, through dusk on Monday, October 9, the pull-offs along State Route 73 near the current trailhead will be closed to parking, and roadside parking in the area will be prohibited. New York State Police and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department will enforce the parking prohibition during this temporary closure.
Roby Politi, Supervisor, Town of N. Elba said, “The Cascade Mt. trailhead is presently a parking hazard and nightmare. I’m pleased DEC is taking action to address this public safety need by relocating the trailhead to the Mt. Van Hoevenburg Sports Complex.”
New York State Police Troop B Commander Major John Tibbitts cautions the public about observing the parking ban: “The New York State Police will be patrolling the area to ensure motorists are obeying the parking restrictions. Those who are not in compliance may be ticketed or their vehicles may be towed.”
Hikers planning to climb the summit of Cascade or Porter mountains can park in parking lots at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex at no cost. Volunteer stewards will direct hikers to a 2.0-mile marked route on the complex’s cross-country ski trail system. The ski trails are smooth and gently roll through the forest making for an easy hike. The route links to a newly constructed 0.4-mile connector trail between the ski trail and the Cascade Mountain Trail. The connector trail joins the Cascade Mountain Trail approximately 0.6 mile from the current trailhead. A roundtrip hike to the summit of Cascade Mountain will be 8.6 miles long, an addition of 3.8 miles to the round trip from the current trailhead.
Hikers seeking to climb the summit of Pitchoff Mountain will start on the same route across the complex’s cross-country ski trail system. After 1.7 miles, the route to Pitchoff Mountain leaves the ski trail and traverses 0.3 mile across a private driveway to State Route 73. Hikers will then walk 0.15 mile and cross State Route 73 to the current trailhead for the Pitchoff Mountain Trail. A roundtrip hike to the summit of Pitchoff Mountain will be 8.4 miles long, an addition of 4.4 miles to the round trip from the current trailhead.
Mike Pratt, President, ORDA said, “ORDA welcomes hikers to the relocated trailhead at Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex and encourages their use of facilities present there.”
In addition to a safer place to park, Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex located at 220 Bobsled Lane, Lake Placid, NY, will provide hikers with other amenities not available at the current trailhead, including bathrooms and food and drink. The concession at the Cross Country Lodge is open 11:00 am to 4:30 pm daily. Visitors can also enjoy bobsled ride, mountain biking, or a bus tour of the complex. (www.mtvanhoevenberg.com/for current rates and reservation information)
Hikers will also be able to hike 3.2 miles round trip through the Sports Complex up Mt. Van Hoevenberg. The trail ascends 840 feet from the parking area to the summit which provides amazing views of the High Peaks Wilderness and its many mountains.
Hikers seeking shorter hikes can check Hikes Outside the High Peaks (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9163.html) on the DEC website for hikes that will provide a similar experience and scenic views.