In search of Lake Placid

It couldn’t be much further now.

It seemed we had been hiking for hours. It was only supposed to be a little over three miles away, and the trail was mostly flat. What was taking us so long? Had we taken another one of our notorious wrong turns?

Where was Lake Placid?

Parking along ____ at the trail head.

Parking along Rt. 86 at the trail head.

It was a mere one degree Fahrenheit when we left our car along Route 86, just east of Lake Placid Village, and headed out, snow shoes in toe, in search of the frozen lake. Just three inches of snow dusted the ground, but a slippery layer of ice underneath necessitated the use of our snow shoes.

My fingers were absolutely freezing, and Justin’s snow pants were falling down. Not the best day for either. Justin insisted we run the first half mile or so in an effort to raise our body temperatures and relieve my chilly hands. Crunch, crunch, flop, flop. Running on snow shoes makes you look like an toddling penguin even on a good day, but the potential for embarassment was hightened by me waving my freezing hands in circles above my head and Justin’s awkward struggle to keep his pants on.

I really hope no one sees us like this. They might report us.

The trail to Whiteface Landing winds along through mostly flats, with moderate changes in elevation.

Finally, after several minutes of running, my hands heated up nicely and Justin managed to secure his trousers just in time to notice Connery Pond to our right. The pond was completely frozen, and dozens of people were ice fishing.

Our hike continued along, winding through the trees for several miles before we grew concerned about the accuracy of our directions. Were we supposed to turn right after we passed the pond? Had the snow obscured our path?

Passing a very frozen Connery Pond in route to Lake Placid.

Passing a very frozen Connery Pond in route to Lake Placid.

After a half mile or so more, we finally saw it: Whiteface Landing.

Just .3 miles to our left was the elusive Lake Placid, a place I had dreamed of visiting since I was a teenager. We trudged through ice chunks and climbed over tree roots to find the best vantage point for our first view of the frozen inspiration for summer recreation and cheesy horror films. Finally, framed by pine trees and drift wood, lay before us Lake Placid. For a moment, we just stood in awe, admiring her stark white beauty.

Suddenly from the east, blew a blistery wind that chilled us to the core and forced us to turn back. But we didn’t mind.

We got the view we came for.

Rewarding views of Lake Placid from Whiteface Landing.

Rewarding views of Lake Placid from Whiteface Landing.

What view(s)  have you found to be most worthy of any discomfort or physical effort?


  1. Wow, what an adventure! There’s always something great about getting lost when traveling though, right? Makes for some of the best stories later! (Although at the time, I’m sure your frozen hands were not too happy!;-)

  2. Absolutely beautiful pictures. I’ve always wanted to go ice fishing, but the ice on the lakes in my state usually doesn’t get thick enough to safely get out on. Looks like it was an adventure.

    • Ellen

      Thanks for checking our site out, Greg! You’ve gotta head to the northeast next winter to try the ice fishing and take advantage of all the great photo opps! I’ve never ice fished, but the scenery up here in winter is just indescribable.

  3. I definitely understand the hard work involved to get some good views! I think the views I’ve worked the hardest for were the ones on the third day of the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand — long story short, it was the first day I was carrying my big pack and it was the most hilly day of the trek. Man was it hard work…but the stunning views of the sounds made it so worth it.

    That said…it was a balmy 25C or so, and I definitely wasn’t slogging through the snow! Glad you finally made it :)

  4. I had no idea it was a snowy there as it is in Idaho (where I’m at :). Love that you braved the winter weather for a hike! You’ve inspired me to get outside!

  5. Pingback: Lake Placid’s Ubu Ale: The best beer ever? | the time-crunched traveler

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