Number 38 on the list of high peaks is Porter Mountain. Though it is is partially overshadowed by its neighbor, Cascade, it is a rewarding climb. It boasts wide views from the summit, and has especially beautiful views of Johns Brook Valley to the east. Though the summit is not bald it offers 360 degree views (though it may require a bit of maneuvering around to see them, due to foliage). This summit is typically less crowded than Cascade, and is a great hike for beginners as most of the trails are moderate grade. There also plenty of things to look at along the way, and it’s quite easy to jog over to Cascade.
Porter is frequently climbed with Cascade, and most hikers attempting to join Adirondack 46er Club begin with these two peaks.
There are three trails leading to Porter. You can begin from the Garden Parking Lot at Keen for a 3.8 mi hike to the summit. You can begin at Marcy Airfield for a 4.5 mi hike to the summit that also takes you over Blueberry Mountain. Or you can begin at Cascade Mountain and climb both peaks which is 6.4 miles round trip.
The trail from the Garden parking lot has the most moderate grade, but it is also the most difficult place to park. Marcy Airfield offers ample free parking, but it is the longest and most difficult trail. The trail over Cascade is the shortest route, but again, parking can be an issue. Improperly parked cars will be towed. Remember to fill out a trip ticket at the trailhead so you can avoid any fines.
The most used trail is the one going over Cascade. It is a 2.4 mile trail that gains 1940 feet in elevation. It is very easy to follow the red plastic markers to Cascade’s bare summit. From there you’ll be offered 360 degree views. Once you’ve taken in your fill of the scene, there is a 1.0 mile hike to the summit of Porter. You will have to hike 0.3 miles back to the junction on the trail and turn left. There will be a short descent into a col, before the trail begins to climb again. You will reach a large boulder, 0.9 miles from Cascade, to the right of which is a beautiful view. From here you will climb along a ridge and reach the summit of Porter.
The Marcy Airfield trail can be reached by parking in the lot just past Marcy Field along Rt 73. This hike is 9.0 miles round trip and quite steep. Follow the woods road until you come to the foot trail on the left. This trail leads over Blueberry Mountain, and some parts of it are quite eroded. The views from the summit are breathtaking, however, and well worth the exertion. From Blueberry mountain you will continue along the steep, eroded path to approach Porter from the south east, along a ridge. This ridge is a more moderate climb, which some pretty views before reaching the summit.
The Garden trail can be found by following Rt 73 out of Lake Placid to Keene Valley. Turn right after the Ausable Inn and follow along the road until it ends at the Garden Parking Lot. This trail is 7.6 miles round trip. The trail is quite moderate to the base of Little Porter and has plenty to see along the way. There are pretty meadows and remnants of the 1903 fire. The climb becomes quite steep for the last 1/4 mile up to the summit of Little Porter, but there are number rock staircases to aid you. From Little Porter the trail can be quite wet, and erosion is evident. It remains quite steep, and joins the Marcy Field trail not far below the summit of Porter Mountain.
There are many different trails to the summit of Porter Mountain and each offers something different. The summit offers spectacular 360 degree views, and is typically less crowded than some of the more popular high peaks. It’s also very easy to hike Cascade in the same day!