Summary: The fire tower on Vanderwhacker mountain provides a spectacular view of the Adirondack High Peaks.
The trail is marked with red disks. Sign in at the trail register. Within the next mile, you will cross several small creeks and pass around a wetlands. Then, the trail splits. The old road (now a snow mobile trail) continues to the left, while the path you want bears right. After passing two cabins used by the fire observer, you begin a strenuous climb. After another mile, the climb becomes more moderate.
Soon you reach the fire tower. Climb the tower and enjoy the panorama to the north.
Trailhead: From North Creek, take Rte 28N north for 16 miles. Immediately after the highway crosses the Boreas River, there is an unmarked gravel road on the left. Take this road for 2.6 miles to the point where it splits. The trailhead and parking is on the right.
*CAUTION* This is a rough road in spots. It is best driven with a high-clearance vehicle (ex. pickup truck). It is possible to drive this stretch with a typical sedan, but you must drive VERY SLOW.
You can optionally park off Rte 28N at the pulloff on the right just before the bridge.
Trail Guides for Vanderwhacker Mountain:
50 Hikes in the Adirondacks
by Barbara McMartin (Backcountry Guides)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: NYS DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger (518) 251-3418
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by George Senft, who has posted 26 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by AzCm on 8/18/2011
Amazing hike! Well worth the exhausting hike up the mountain. Just when you think you are getting close to the top...guess again. Had lunch in the fire tower with a view you can't even describe. Even got to see a hawk soar by. Hiking boots are a must on this one. When they say that a truck is recommended..they mean it. That initial ride up to the trail is rough and long. But it was all worth it.
Reviewed by CB on 8/18/2011
Yuna and I hiked Vanderwhacker Mountain for the first time, August 13,2011. The trail had 3 downed trees you had to climb over, one downed tree to shimmy under. Lots of mud and the trail was extremly wore, it was like hiking a dry creek bed with all the stones and roots sticking out. It was a hard climb, bur WELL worth it the views and fire tower where awesome. Will do again this fall when the leaves have changed, I really enjoyed the challenge!
Reviewed by Scott on 5/17/2010
Second time up Vanderwhacker, only made it to cabins first time due to rain. Very wet trail with lots of mud. Less mud after cabin, but sections of trail were in a river. Views from top were great even though it was a bit overcast. Great view of highlands. I made it up the dirt road with Honda Accord, but did bottom out right by trailhead.
Reviewed by The_O on 6/26/2009
Hiked Vanderwhacker on June 6th. Good hike, steep past the lodge. Great view from fire tower on the top. Some of my fiends were too intimidated to climb it though, they really missed out. Make sure to drive slow if you take the dirt road, I bottomed out a couple of times.
Reviewed by Amy on 9/2/2008
Nice hike. It is tough after the cabin though and if you're kinda out of shape like me... you'll definitely go slow with many rests. Nice view at the top!
Reviewed by Andrea on 9/27/2007
Hiked this on 9/23/07. Have to say that it has was one of my top favorite hikes. View was spectacular, trees changing already and the hike itself was gradual. Highly recommend this trail.
Reviewed by Mark on 7/4/2006
I hiked Vanderwhacker on 7-1-2006. Like anyplace in this part of NY right now, it was extremely wet. At the moment I would strongly recommend high-top hiking boots. I nearly went over the top of mine in some of the mud. It was a pretty hike - the view from the tower at the top is great. I had lunch on the rocks beneath the tower. Even though it was July, with the wind blowing I quickly became chilled (continued hiking fixed that, though). On a holiday weekend I expected to run into more people, but I only ran into one person about 1/2 way down, then a family of 3 near the trailhead. I'd like to do this one again when it's not quite so wet.
Reviewed by Peteygo on 6/1/2005
Me and a friend did this hike on May 30. We had camped the night before near Vanderwhacker Brook then drove up to the trailhead. Great birding near wetlands. The trail gets moderately steep after this. Had lunch in tower. The view, espsecially of the high peaks, is awsome. We saw a few other hikers on the way back down. Altogether a great half day hike. Compares closely to Pharoah or Crane Mts. in difficulty.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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