West Mountain is a former fire tower peak, but even without the steel structure it offers good views from its partially open summit. The length of this hike limits its use by a large number of visitors, but on occasion you might witness a tour group in route to the top.
How to get there
From the intersection of Route 28 and County Route 2 in Raquette Lake follow County Route 2 into the Village of Raquette Lake. Continue through the village and take a left onto Brown's Tract Road. Follow here for 0.6 miles or so to the trailhead on the right. This trailhead is a bit obscure, but a small sign on a tree marks its location.
From the trailhead you will drop slightly into an open hardwood forest on a trail that is quite narrow and a bit overgrown in areas. There are a couple wet crossings before you reach the trail that comes in from Brown's Tract Ponds. At this intersection take a right and follow an old woods road that is in excellent condition and easy walking. You will pass through an attractive grassy area then quickly back into the woods. You will also pass by several other side trails, be sure to stay on the main trail. Another trail to Raquette Lake (the lake) will come in on the right.
Once you leave the woods road the trail becomes slightly more difficult over rolling hills and eventually to some very steep terrain. The steep terrain will bring you to a moderate walk and then to the summit of West Mountain. The true summit is slightly in the woods where you will also find the survey disk. For the views you will need to remain in the grassy area just prior.
4.8 miles to the summit
Family with Young Kids
- 3 to 4 hours to summit, may be too long of a hike for most young children
- 2 hours to summit
Out of Shape Hiker
- 2 to 3 hours to summit
This is a challenging winter climb due mainly to its lack of use. West gets very little snowshoeing attention and it would require the hiker to break many miles of trail.
This trail could be skied in parts, but the upper portion is not recommended for cross-country skiing.