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McKenzie Mountain

McKenzie Mountain is a massive peak in McKenzie Mountain Wilderness area which spans an area of 36,200 acres. It is visible from many locations in throughout the region and was formerly known as Saddleback, due to its shape. There are 2 main approaches to McKenzie, but the one located on Whiteface Inn Road is the most frequently used in winter and recommended unless you plan on climbing Haystack Mountain as well. 

The trail starts out very wide over an old woods road that makes up part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. Soon the trail starts to climb steadily to the Lake Placid Lean-to on the right. Past the lean-to the trail mellows out and the snowshoeing is very easy to the intersection with the Rout 86 Trail on the left. The Jackrabbit Trail continues straight and the McKenzie Trail goes right.  Continuing to McKenzie, the trail soon begins a very steep climb and under typical icy conditions. There are several false summits on McKenzie and some offering outstanding views along unmarked spur trails. The main trail continues over a first summit, a second bump, and then a third summit. Finally arriving at the fifth and final summit, the trail offers excellent views from both a ledge on the left of the trail and, just beyond, a ledge to the right of the true summit. Continuing over the top is the SOA Trails that will access you to Moose Mountain. 

Elevation: 

3861 feet

Ascent: 

2340 Feet

Distance Round Trip:

7.2 miles

Approximate Time Round Trip:

  • Families with Kids:    Not recommended
  • Experienced Snowshoers:    5 to 6 hours
  • Out of Shape Snowshoers:    Not Recommended

Trailhead Location: 

From the intersection of Route 86 and Route 73 in Lake Placid follow Route 86 toward Saranac Lake. About 1-mile from the Lake Placid is the massive trailhead for the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness on the right. 

Difficulty: 1=easiest, 5=hardest

Four: This is a very aggressive snowshoe destination

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Route 86
Ray Brook, 12977
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