Joel's Hike in Pictures & Descriptions
Hike Cascade Mountain & Porter Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains. Cascade is the 36th highest peak in New York State & Porter is the 38th. Here you will find details on hiking Cascade & Porter Mountain, Cascade Mountain Maps, & Porter Mountain Trail Reports
For a more detailed Mountain Forecast Click Here
The Great Range
Summit view looking west
Biscuit and master
The Cascade summit as seen from the Porter Cascade ridge.
This is the longer route to/from the Cascade Range summits as compared
1. The Cascade Trail (McM #126, ADK #90) from Rte. 73 starting at Upper Cascade Lake
2.Other routes to the Cascade
Range mentioned below.
Biscuit, the Alpine dog!
Cascade as seen from Porter
Paint marks the route
Stairway to heaven? Well... maybe not. This is the route to the summit from Upper..
The sign-in booth is located close to the highway. Do sign in.
There are three marked and maintained routes to the Cascade Range. We describe on this page only the most popular and shortest route which begins at the head of Upper Cascade Lake on Rte 73 and is named quite appropriately, the Cascade Trail (McM #126, ADK #90). Good signage marks the trail's start and the entire climb. This is the easiest and fastest route to the top of either Cascade or Porter.
There are also two very worthy alternative trailheads for Cascade and Porter for those of you that want more of a challenge, as well as a full day of hiking. These bring you in from other directions and would be a great way to start getting in shape for a season of hiking the Adirondack peaks! Note that these options are significantly longer than the suggested route from Upper Cascade Lake. Both start at a lower elevation. We would estimate that these other routes would be roughly 3 times the distance of the route to Porter & Cascade we describe below. Check a trail map that covers the High Peaks area to find these other routes.
Numbers in parentheses such as (ADK #123, McM #456) on this and other pages of Adirondack Journey, refer to the trail numbers assigned by both the McMartin and the ADK guidebooks. Should you want to find an alternative route to any of the 46 summits, please contact me directly at www.adirondackjourney.com. In many or most cases there exists an alternative marked route to the top or an established bushwhack. (N.B.: the inexperienced hiker should avoid unmarked "trails" which may peter out on the route back being much harder to follow as it is not maintained.)
Joel's Trip In A Nutshell:
Not surprisingly, Cascade and Porter are often the first 4000 footers for many beginning Adirondack hikers. It is logical to climb them both in one ascent due to their close proximity to one another. Also, there is no lengthy hike in from the trailhead just to get to the foot of Cascade to start the climb. You will start to climb almost the moment you step into the forest from the trailhead on Rte. 73. Second, the summits of each are side-by-side with an easy walk from the summit of Cascade over to the summit of Porter and then the return to the trailhead.
The most used trail to the Cascade Range is the Cascade Trail (ADK #90, McM #126) that starts right at the edge of Rte 73 where the highway enters the brief pass between Cascade Mt. and Pitchoff Mt. just across the highway. Take note that Pitchoff is not one of the 46, but if you fancy a picnic and want a good hike out to some great ledges with super views you might try . The trailhead is just a hundred or so feet above the upper end of Upper Cascade Lake. It's well marked. The climb is straightforward, best suited to a hiker with a bit of stamina for continuous uphill hiking. It is a short hike, but a steep climb. The trail crews have rebuilt this trail in recent years, apparently recognizing that it is a terrific hike for anyone that invest a half day in the round trip up and back that starts from Upper Cascade Lake . Additionally, the trail from Rte 73 to the summit has been significantly improved and rerouted in recent years to make the climb somewhat more gradual. This includes adding stone steps in places, which, some have speculated are "bit overboard". But on the other hand, being right on the highway these mountains attract persons that are totally unaccustomed to hiking and, in the spur of the moment, decide to climb these handy peaks totally unequipped, lacking the basic gear for hiking. So the state has wisely made it as painless and safe as possible.
Best Tip for Cascade & Porter:
There are no bad trails up these two peaks, but neither lends itself to bushwhacking your way to the top unless you are quite experienced with map and compass and have a masochistic slant.
Starting from the center of the Town of Keene at the intersection where Routes 73 and 9N split, drive approximately seven miles toward Lake Placid on Rte 73. The trail starts by descending a series of steps. The heavily used trail designed and put in place in 1974 replaced a steeper badly eroded trail. The present trail has been replaced and improved again in the late Nineties. It is now very well constructed with stone slab steps allowing for minimal trail erosion. Grades are moderate to steep for 1.8 miles whereupon you reach a small open knob with a great view ranging from Dix all the way to Whiteface. Marcy, Colden, and Algonquin center this view. Now duck back into the woods and look into the trees for "old man's beard".
At the 2.1 mile point (from Rte 73) there will be a junction sign indicating the Porter turn-off to the right. A short walk brings you to the base of Cascade`s bald summit. Follow the paint blazes to the summit for unobstructed views in all directions.
Returning to the Porter junction, make sure to take one last look before ducking into the forest. Follow the trail to Porter. There will be a 90 foot descent and a 330 foot climb to reach the Porter summit. There are good views back to Cascade's summit from the Porter ridge. The Porter summit has views quite similar to those from Cascade. The view features an excellent view of the north side of Big Slide including The Brothers. Near the summit you will see a trail sign leading to Keene Valley and The Garden. This is an alternate route
down, however, it is useless unless you have a second car spotted at that trailhead.
Overall, you are better off doing these two peaks as we have described if ease of climb and a quicker trip are of importance.