Cascade and Porter

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade: #36  4,098′
Porter: #38 4,059′
Total Mileage: 5.7 miles

Cascade and Porter are a great introduction to the ADK 46 High Peaks. This is strenuous but very doable half day hike and is great for beginners. Cascade is considered to be the easiest of the high peaks to hike, and even has Porter as a close neighbor to make an easy two summit hike.

Although it is considered an easy High Peak, it is not an easy mountain. As far as hikes go in New York, High Peaks are by their nature more difficult than a typical day hike. Be sure that you are properly equipped with ample food and water, as well as dressed properly with well-worn in boots. Be sure to bring rain gear and a warm layer for the windy summit! Remember that weather is often unpredictable in the High Peaks area and the trails are often wet and muddy. If this is your first High Peak hike it will likely take about 4-6 hours depending on your ability and the length of your brakes on the summits.

There are several places to park near the Cascade Lakes and a path along the side of the road between the lots for safe access to the trail head. You can actually see the mountain from the road! Look for the Cascade/Pitchoff sign, from that parking lot the trail will descend into the woods to a sign in box. There the trail begins.

Look for this sign for parking... or to get in some pull-ups.

Look for this sign for parking… or to get in some pull-ups.

Cascade's bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Elizabeth pointing out Cascade’s bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Josh signing us in!

Josh signing us in!

Starting at the trail head on Rt. 73 next to the Cascade Lakes, trail 90 meanders 2.1 miles up the side of Cascade to a junction. The first section of the hike is very moderate, but things get slightly more steep as you get close to a mile in. The trail continues alternating steeper grades and level sections until 1.8 miles in, where there is a nice view!

View on the way up Cascade in late May.

View on the way up Cascade in late May, with snow still on many mountains.

A bit down the trail from the view-point you will reach a junction. Continuing forward will bring you the final 0.3 miles to the summit of Cascade. The trail to the right leads down to a small col (low point between two mountains), and then at a gradual grade up to the summit of Porter (marked only by trail signs to other locations).

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice, yes it is late May.

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice on the trail, yes it is late May.

The walk over to the summit of Cascade from the junction is brief but wet, then steeply climbs up the open rock of the summit.

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Having fully enjoyed the summit of Cascade we headed back down to the junction and quickly covered the 0.7 miles down, up and across to Porter. The trail there was very snowy and icy, even in late May! Our microspikes really were the perfect footwear. The trail is a moderate climb across to Porter, but levels out when you reach a giant boulder. The summit itself is a small open area with a view of Cascade to the Northwest, and a similar view of the Great Range as seen from Cascade.

The icy trail to Porter

The icy trail to Porter

On top of the giant boulder that's on the side of the trail.

On top of the giant boulder that’s on the side of the trail.

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Once on top of Porter we enjoyed the view for a bit then began the return trip. As we were hiking in the “off-season” there were only a few other hikers we encountered during our trip. We had the rare privileged of having some time on both summits completely to ourselves. On our way down we started to discuss what type of pie we would get at the Noon Mark Diner!

Remember, on weekends in the summer Cascade is usually extremely crowded. Not only does that impact parking availability, but also the quality of your experience. If you can, avoid weekends when planning your Cascade hike.

Happy hiking!

Map of Cascade and Porter trail

Map of Cascade and Porter trail

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s