Taking the Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway to the top of Whiteface Mountain—New York's fifth-highest peak at 4,867'—isn't your typical automotive experience. How many other roads do you know that lead you directly to the summit of a mountain, with gorgeous views spanning hundreds of miles of wild land reaching as far as Vermont and Canada? Nowhere else is the beauty and vastness of the Adirondack Park so apparent and so easily accessible. The paved road rises over 2,300 feet in five miles from the Toll House. At the summit, there are a few things you don't often find atop a peak: a castle built from native stone, a restaurant and gift shop, an elevator carved deep inside the mountain top itself, and a truly spectacular 360-degree, panoramic view of unparalleled beauty. A visit to the Adirondacks is not complete without a drive to the top! This activity and many others are FREE with your Olympic Sites Passport!
- Regular Season: June 17 - October 16, 2016 | Open Daily from 8:45 am - 5:15 pm (all road bike traffic access will end at 4:30 pm)
- Please note: Currently the Summit Elevator is CLOSED for repairs. The Veteran's Memorial Highway is generally 100% handicap accessible, but until the elevator re-opens all guests must use the Nature Trail (weather permitting) to access the Summit.
About the Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway
Pre-dating the ski area by about 20 years, the road to the summit was dedicated by Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1929, and opened in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Natural wildflowers grow roadside, serving as a living museum of forest ecology, all of which is built upon the over one billion year-old Anorthosite bedrock boulders. Along the way up are nine designated spots where you are encouraged to stop, enjoy the views, and discover more about the mountain surroundings from the posted information signs.
The Toll House Area
An alpine-style gatehouse constructed in 1934 and Lake Stevens—a small, pristine pond—give the Highway its picturesque start. Named for 1932 Olympian bobsledder Hubert Stevens, Lake Stevens is stocked annually to provide fishing opportunities, particularly for children and visitors with disabilities, though its scenic beauty and picnic areas ought to be enjoyed by all. The Lake Stevens Tree Trail offers a self-guided, 10-minute walk around the pond, where you'll find all 34 species of trees native to the northern Adirondacks (14 conifers and 20 hardwoods).
As you make your way to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, stop to take in the spectacular scenery of the Castle Café, situated at the amazing elevation of 4,610 feet while savoring the gourmet rustic cuisine our talented chefs have prepared for you.
After a visit to the Castle Café be sure not to miss Brookside Apparel, our retail shop located in the Whiteface Castle at the top of the Veteran's Memorial Highway. Here you'll find outdoor gear for hiking, souvenirs and gifts from the Olympic Venues that will provide lasting memories of your Adirondack vacation.
The Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway is perhaps the easiest mountain toll road to drive in America. That said it does require a special level of care and awareness for all drivers in all vehicles. Please read and follow these tips. If a major problem occurs, pull off the road and notify a passing vehicle that you need assistance. Be as concise as possible about your location and problem. A staff member will render assistance.
- Follow the signs and obey the speed limit. Excessive speed going up or down the mountain can cause safety problems and will disturb the experience for others.
- Watch your vehicle's warning lights and gauges. If problems like overheating are indicated, take action to avoid damage or accidents. Overheating can be addressed by pulling off the road at the next indicated parking area and allowing the engine to run until the light or gauge indicates that it is safe to move on. It helps to turn off the air conditioning and to turn on the heater. Do not open the radiator cap unless the engine has cooled considerably. Add fluid only if significant coolant has been lost.
- Never stop in the travel lanes. Whether for sightseeing, picture taking, or to address a mechanical problem, pull all the way off the road.
- Be aware of other vehicles on the road. If you are holding up a line of vehicles, pull over at the next indicated area and let them by. Do not tailgate or pass unless the vehicle in front of you pulls over and waves you on.
- Watch the road. The scenery is indeed awesome and distracting. If curiosity gets the best of the driver, pull over to view or switch drivers.
- Do not ride the brakes while descending. Use a lower than normal gear and let the engine do much of the braking. Pump the brakes if necessary and consider pulling off at a designated parking area to let brakes cool down. The distinct aroma of overheated brakes is a cue to pull over and wait. Never throw water on your wheels or brakes, even if they are smoking or smell.
- Remember that after passing through the toll house, there are still another couple of miles of downgrade to negotiate.