whiteface veterans' memorial highway
no longer available for summer/fall 2019
Taking the Whiteface Veterans' 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!
A little history...
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. "This is a tribute from the citizens of the state of New York which would be appreciated by those fallen comrades of ours who served their state and their nation so well. It is fitting that we should dedicate it in their names. It will stand as a tribute to them through all the centuries to come." (Dedication Address, September 1935). The elevator, Castle and Summit House were completed three years later. In 1985 New York State Governor Mario Cuomo rededicated the Whiteface Memorial Highway to veterans of all wars. 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—gives 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 many species of trees native to the northern Adirondacks.
new glass-enclosed elevator
The 27-story elevator and tunnel leading to it have undergone a year-and-a-half long reconstruction and renovation starting in Fall 2017. This Summer (2019), check out the new copper ceiling inside of the 400-foot long stone tunnel leading to the new lobby and a completely replaced steel structure that supports the ADA compliant three-sided glass-enclosed elevator. Once at the top, you'll step out of the elevator into a round stone historic landmark more than 4,800 feet above sea level with panoramic views of the Adirondack High Peaks!
Castle Café & gift shop
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. While you're there, be sure not to miss the Castle Gift Shop, our retail shop featuring outdoor gear for hiking, souvenirs and gifts from the Olympic Sites that will provide lasting memories of your Adirondack vacation. Please note that the Castle Café and Gift Shop are not wheelchair accessible.