Of all outdoor summertime activities, nothing combines exercise, relaxation, and enjoyment of nature quite like hiking. With trails for all skill levels, breathtaking views, and the peaceful quiet of the forest, going for a hike on a nice summer day is the best way to disconnect from everything and feel reinvigorated.
With so many options close to Montreal, it can be tough to decide where exactly you want to spend the day hiking and exploring. But one trail stands out (literally) above the rest, and that's Whiteface Mountain, located in the region of Lake Placid, New York.
Only two hours away from the city, Whiteface Mountain perfectly combines everything you want in a hike: challenging (but not impossible) terrain, multiple trail options, unbelievable views, and private areas at the summit. The proximity allows you to do this hike in a day, or make a weekend out of it and spend some time in Lake Placid.
One of the coolest things about this hike? On a clear day, you're supposed to be able to see the skyscrapers in Montreal. Driving two hours, crossing a border, hiking a mountain, and still being able to glance back to home? Awesome.
You may recognize Whiteface Mountain as a popular ski destination, and you're right: the ski lodge is not too far from the hiking trails. But keep in mind, the ski trails are not the hiking trails - each is in a different location, so don't confuse the two.
There are three main trails up to the summit, ranging from 3-5 hours. One route will offer you glimpses at Lake Placid itself, so if you're interested in some gorgeous water views, choose that one.
Also, if you're just too tired, or lazy (we've all been there), you can actually drive up a large portion of the mountain, and then just walk a short path to the summit. Whatever route you choose, the flexibility in hiking Whiteface makes it great for all ages, skill levels, and time frames.
Overall, Whiteface Mountain is a truly incredible hike. Although there are options closer to Montreal, Whiteface is a High Peak - any other little trails pale in comparison. Rising over 4,800 feet above sea level, you'll feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when you finally reach the top. And hey, if you drove? No worries - at least you won't be red-faced and sweaty in the photos.