Cascade Mountain, is a wonderful introductory climb to the high peaks. While hiking, you may notice how well preserved the trail is despite it being one of the most heavily used summit trails in the Adirondack Park. There are deliberately placed stone staircases and water bars. The stone staircases allow the hiker to climb on stone instead of digging his/her hiking boots into the soil.
The trail itself is very easy to follow and very well marked. The grades are moderate throughout and the woods and surroundings make the trail an enjoyable woods walk. The climb is steady but not uncomfortable.
After climbing steadily for 1.8 miles (depending on your speed anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours) you achieve your first view at an open ledge and it is an eye opener. Algonquin, Colden and Marcy appear in front of you in their majesty.
The intersection with the Porter Mountain trail appears with a sign saying the Cascade Mountain summit is .3 miles away. Just past this intersection, the trail opens up and the bald, rocky summit dome of Cascade appears. From here on in the climb becomes very exciting, as it is on bare rock, very exposed and has 360 degree views.
The trail is now marked by yellow paint blazes and cairns. You continue up and onto the actual summit where there is an embedded circular summit marker. The view on a clear day is absolutely magnificent. Looking east, patches of Lake Champlain can be seen. Looking north, Whiteface Mt. is clearly visible. Looking directly northeast Pitchoff Mountain is seen, as is Route 73 snaking 2,000 feet below. The green slopes of Porter Mountain are just southwest of the summit. According to the guidebooks 30 of the 46 High Peaks are visible from the Cascade summit.
The hike down to your car should not be much more than an hour.
Cascade Mountain tops out at 4098 feet and is rated the 36th highest of the 46 high peaks. The trail to the summit is 2.4 miles and the ascent over this distance is 1940 feet.
There is a prominent trail sign on the Keene-bound (southbound) lane of Route 73, 8.5 miles out of Lake Placid. There is not a lot of room to maneuver on Route 73. In fact it is actually advisable if at all possible to back into your spot. If you park nose in when your hike is over you face the daunting challenge of backing out directly onto Route 73 with no visibility due to cars being parked next you.
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