The Cobble Lookout Trail: Easy Hikes near Whiteface MT, Wilmington (NY)

Cobble Lookout trail now has a new sign! 
UPDATE: There is a new sign marking the trailhead!

Cobble Lookout
Elevation = 2,600'
Vertical Ascent = 400'
Distance -  0.75-mile

I am all about the easy hike for my visiting family, whether they have kids or not. I enjoy backpacking, camping and the more challenging hikes, but nothing is more beautiful than being able to get in an easy hike with a beautiful view and still have my evening free to enjoy another Adirondack (ADK) activity. 

Wilmington (NY) Cobble Lookout Trail with views of
The Adirondack High Peaks and Santa's Workshop, North Pole
Recently while at Lake Stevens we managed to fit in a quick stroll to the top of nearby Cobble Lookout trail off Gillispie Dr (Franklin Falls Rd.). It’s a relatively new trail.  So new, in fact, that at the time of our climb a few weeks ago, a trailhead sign wasn’t part of the program. (I was told to relax and enjoy the mystery and intrigue.) 

Wilmington (NY) Cobble Lookout Trail from
CR 18 in Wilmington, NY near Whiteface Memorial Rd
The roadside pullover leads into the woods. We’ve been here before for a spring ski when the entrance was a bit easier to locate. Now the trees have grown over and we have to slightly duck down to clear the overhanging branches. The path immediately opens up to a lovely wooded walk. The trail has a bit of washout and there is no trail register. It is a work in progress, but a perfect hike for young kids and anyone wishing to do an easy hike in a short amount of time. We quickly find it easy to follow blue trail markers along the path and are on our way.  

The trail stays quite level in the beginning. There is a bit of rubble, though nothing unmanageable. Whether it comes from the nearby defunct quarry, I can’t say. We cross over a few new plank bridges and travel over a few rolling hills. There is really no significant elevation change. The final section of the trail widens into numerous herd paths. It doesn’t feel like an elevation change, but when I cut through the final trees onto the open rocky summit, I feel like I’m on top of the world.

Wilmington (NY) Cobble Lookout Trail, an easy hike to an
open summit overlooking Whiteface Mountain
My GPS documents the whole trek as just over one mile with a vertical ascent of 400’. The top is filled with loose rock so we keep away from the ledge. There are plenty of places to explore and blueberries are just ripening.

Through the cloud cover we can just make out Whiteface Mountain to the south behind Marble Mountain and the Jay Range to the southeast. Esther Mountain is to the southwest. (There is a montage of rock cairns pointing every which way so please don’t use them for any directional purpose.)

Wilmington (NY) Cobble Lookout Trail bridge
We hear the whistle from the nearby Santa’s Workshop Theme Park train below us as it makes its rounds in nearby North Pole Christmas Village.  Someone years ago built a makeshift fire pit, but keep in mind that there should not be any fires in the High Peaks. We return at a fast clip and get back to the road in less than an hour.    

Take Gillispie Dr./Franklin Falls Rd. (CR 18) from its junction with Whiteface Memorial Dr. toward Bloomingdale/Franklin Falls. Pass Lake Stevens on the left and the trailhead pullover is about ¼ mile on the right. Enjoy!

Adirondack Family Time tip: Nearby Lake Stevens is specifically stocked with fish for children and anyone will limited mobility. It is also handicap-accessible.   

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy Adirondack family hikes, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid
Wilmington (NY) Cobble Lookout Trail  with views
of the High Peaks mountain Esther
Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebook online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.


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