If you were to ask me what one, once-in-a-lifetime thing you should do in Upstate New York, I would say, “Go to the Adirondacks.” If you were to ask me what you should do or see in the Adirondacks, I would say, “See Whiteface Mountain.” And if you were to ask me what there is to do on Whiteface Mountain, I would say, “Go on the 4×4 Alpine Expedition.” My sons and husband are STILL talking about it. It is an amazing experience. AMAZING.
The activity is new — this year was its first season — and it’s the brainchild of a bunch of guys who work at Whiteface and help maintain it year-round. While trekking through the forests on their 4×4 vehicle, they asked themselves. “Wouldn’t it be great to take passengers on these rides?!” The answer is YES. It is great. This is perhaps one of the greatest things you can do on Whiteface Mountain in the summer/fall season.
The 4×4 Alpine Expedition is an hour-long tour through some of the most scenic areas of Whiteface Mountain. It begins at the Olympic Regional Development Authority headquarters, at the base of the mountain, on Route 86 in Wilmington, NY, just a few minutes north of Lake Placid. A guide takes a group of passengers up through some of the most rugged and breath-taking areas, including a secluded spot near the west branch of the lovely Ausable River, up through some of the most popular ski slopes, and through some forest trails winding their way around the base of the mountain. The experience is nothing short of exhilarating.
Our guide was Mike, who seemed to know everything about Whiteface! As he navigated the craggy roads and narrow trails, he relayed all sorts of facts and trivia about the mountain, the 1980 Olympics, and the current activities. We got up close and personal to the Adirondack’s most accessible mountain in a way that you couldn’t accomplish by hiking or skiing.
He showed us some of the most common nature trails in the area, taking a small hike to a lovely bridge in the forest.
He showed us the snow machines that chug out snow every season, and gave us a quick peek inside the snow pumping station.
We stopped frequently to step out of the vehicle and take in the grandiose views. The air was so crisp, the mountains so verdant!
We made a quick video of our experience. It gives you an idea of the trails we went on and the scenery we viewed.
I HIGHLY recommend the 4×4 Alpine Expedition! It was a superb exerience. Here are a few things you should know:
- The trips is open to anyone ages 5 years old and up. If you have boys, you MUST take them. They will love it!
- Dress for the weather. Whiteface is usually a little cooler then the temperatures in the valley, so bring a jacket if you go in autumn. In the summer, wear bug spray.
- Autumn is a great time to go because the trees are turning colors and it’s past “black fly season.”
- Bring a camera!
- Wear good, sturdy shoes appropriate for the weather and for walking through meadows and trails.
- To ensure that you get a good day, call ahead and make a reservation. Saturday expeditions are timed but Sunday through Friday reservations are required. See contact information below for the phone number.
- Currently, the season runs from mid-August to mid-October.
- Maximum 5 passengers per tour.
No tour is exactly alike. Your guide will take you to select areas depending on your comfort level and your own desires. For example, Mike was willing to drive around Whiteface to find a big open area where I could get good photos. 🙂
It was an experience of a lifetime. Definitely give this a try!
Whiteface Lake Placid 4×4 Alpine Expedition
Olympic Regional Development Authority
5021 Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997
Phone: 518.946.2223 ext. 310
Just so you know, NewYorkTraveler.net was given complementary tickets in exchange for a review and photos. All opinions are completely mine! This expedition rocks and I recommend it!