|Bear Den Trail Map in Wilmington Flume Trail System|
Since Whiteface is a busy resort, the lots are sometimes filled up at Whiteface, so we let the parking attendant know our destination is the Kids Kampus. This time the parking area has plenty of room for us to park. Depending on the season, micro-spikes or snowshoes are recommended.
The first section of the trail follows a ridge above the Bear Den parking area at Whiteface Mountain. Signs are sparse, but the trail is well marked thanks to the Barkeater Trail Alliance. Though Bear Den is our final destination we first enter the path on Trail 19, a nice level traverse. At 0.2-mile there is a yellow marker to the left, if taken, leads around and back to the Kids Kampus and some mountain bike jumps. We continue straight for another 0.8-mile to reach another junction. We turn left (marked Trail 12-Bear Den) while Trail 19 continues toward the rest of the Wilmington Flume trail network.
The trail immediately starts gaining in elevation and we maneuver around numerous switchbacks for the final 2-miles to the summit. We traverse over glacial eskers and between boulders to finally reach the rocky summit. The final vertical ascent is approximately 1,381’ with an elevation of 2,760’. At the summit we glimpse the Whiteface Observation tower to the southwest and the Sentinel Range to the south. The hike down is much faster as gravity is on our side.
(I’ve read a variety of distances from the trailhead to Bear Den Mountain. These readings and distances are based on my own hike and GPS waypoints.) Enjoy!