Cascade & Porter Hike

This entry-level Adirondack High Peak hike is a great introduction to the rigors of mountain hiking: rough trails, rocky scrambles and incredible views make this short day-hike super rewarding.

Hike Length: 6.0 miles (9.66 km)

Total Ascent: 2,300ft (701m)

Intensity: Easy Adirondacks Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail

Parent Cascade

Similar Entries In: Adirondacks, The Best Hikes, The Easy Hikes, The Most Popular Hikes, , , , , , .

cascade’s open rocky summit

Looking down from Cascade

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 A short y-shaped hike with a healthy amount of elevation gain.

The hike to Cascade and Porter is regarded as one of the easiest 46er hikes — but the trail is rated moderate and, in spots, is a little challenging.

This hike offers a taste of high-mountain adventure suitable for both seasoned trekkers and determined novices. While the path to these peaks is often celebrated for its ease relative to its counterparts, this hike holds its own with sections that will challenge your resolve and reward your efforts in equal measure.

In fact, this hike has one of the highest scenery-to-effort paybacks I’ve ever experienced. This an amazingly rewarding hike.

BTW, a longer new trail to Cascade Mountain is nearing completion.

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Cascade and Porter Parking

The four small roadside lots on this section of Route 73 also serve the very popular Lake Placid 9er hike to Pitchoff Mountain. In the warmer months, Route 73 gets crazy. To snag a spot, you may need to arrive before dawn.

Cascade & Porter Hike

On this day, in November, I didn’t need microspikes to hike up to Cascade’s amazing summit. However, as soon as I stepped on the trail to Porter, I had to put on my spikes. From October to June in the Adirondacks, you should always hike with mountain-worthy traction for when it’s needed. (And it will be needed.)

The Cascade & Porter hike includes…

  • Muddy trails
  • Slippery rocks
  • Lots of blowdown
  • Extremely exposed summit on Cascade
  • Astonishing Adirondack High Peaks views
  • A great introduction to high peaks hiking

A full breakdown is provided in the hike notes below, with 3 videos and 25 breathtaking photos.

Cascade and Porter Hike Time

Allow 4-5 hours for this hike.

Cascade and Porter Elevation Gain

The elevation gain for this hike is just under 2,300 feet (apx 700 meters).

Cascade & Porter Hike Notes & Gallery

Make your way down from the roadside to the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area trail register and sign in.

Follow the red blazes. There aren’t too many so keep an eye out for then. The trail is mostly pretty obvious.

Lower down on this trail, there was a lot of dramatic blowdown to work around…

blowdown across trail

The trail alternates between mud and helpful stone staircases like this one…

rock steps in woods
Rocky steps

Higher up, the rock bed is exposed in spots along the trail and some sections take a minute to figure out how to climb safely…

exposed Adirondack rock bed
Wet open rock

At 3800’ (1150m) you’ll come to this dramatic section of open rock slab…

You’ve got the basic details, but there’s so much more…

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hiking trail

One Last Wilderness Tip

Ben Lawhon is the education director for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and he says, “Hikers can spread nonnative species, which is a huge cause of habitat destruction. By not taking plants or animals, and cleaning your hiking boots before you leave the trailhead, you can make a difference.”

scrubbing boots at the trailhead
Trailhead clean-up

Right before I drove away from this trailhead on Route 73, I brushed off all the dirt from my hiking boots and gaiters.

It’s a trick I came across online, and it means I’m not transporting any non-native seeds, or tiny hitchhikers, from one area to another.

To learn more, you can read PSA: Leave No Trace at the Trailhead.

Similar Hikes

Close by, and using the same trailhead, you can do a more difficult but equally stunning hike by hiking Balanced Rocks and Pitchoff Mountain.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Cascade.

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Small roadside lot for an incredibly popular. In summer, you may have to get there before dawn to grab a spot.

Google Maps Location: 44.219149, -73.887257

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Service at trailhead and up high. In between, service comes and goes. My network is Verizon. YMMV.