Whiteface Mountain Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Whiteface Mountain


Photo Guide for Cycling Whiteface Mountain

Page Contributor(s): Bo Jensen, Syracuse, NY, USA

Explore this Climb

Featured Video

PJAMM Cycling LogoDark Sky logo



If you love climbing by bike and would like more detailed information on the world’s top bike climbs, join our PJAMM Cycling group and receive our Special Edition Climb Report.
  • Receive a monthly report.
  • Get detailed and entertaining information on the greatest bike climbs and climbing areas throughout the world.
  • Discover beautiful landscapes with drone video and professional photos of remote and exotic places.
  • Gain insider knowledge on where to stay and how to conquer some of the most difficult climbs.

Climb Summary

Cycling Whiteface Mountain, New York.

Near Lake Placid, this is the top New York bike climb.

US Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb

WOW – almost worth relocating to upstate New York for – maybe we’ll get a timeshare here and climb it 7 days a week!  Whiteface Mountain, NY is the westernmost of the 5 Top 100 U.S. Climbs that are within a 150 mile radius in the northeastern part of the United States.  Others are #3 Mt Washington, NH, #21 Mt Equinox, VT,  #57 Mt Ascutney, VT and #100 Burke Mt, VT.  


Whiteface Mountain is the 5th highest peak in the state of New York (after Mount Marcy [5,344’], Algonquin Peak [5,114’], Mount Haystack [4,960’] and Mount Skylight [4,926’]).  Most of the climb is on Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway[1] which is a 7.96 mile that is the most pristine roadway we have ever cycled on.  The roadway was constructed by and paid for by New York State.  Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1935.  

Whiteface Mountain bicycle climb - What a ride! So many positives to this climb (and no negatives):

  • It is a legitimate Top 50 U.S. climb (#43).  It has a consistently moderately steep grade throughout – no flat spots or descents between start and finish.

Climbing Whiteface Mountain by bike - steep grade sign.

  • There are exceptional views through breaks in the forest that surrounds us as we climb – Taylor and Franklin Falls Ponds to the north after you pass the Toll Booth up to the switchback at mile 6.6 where we see Lake Placid for the first time.

  •  The surroundings are lush and green during the spring and summer.

Well, not all springtimes are created equal . . .

. . . thanks Bo Jensen, Syracuse, NY

  •  And, of course, there are the gorgeous fall colors during autumn.

  • The top is Spanish Pyrenees-like: a castle! (see last part of Climb Video).

Summit Castle - Photo:  GAD

Cycling Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway - Share the Road sign 

Summit Tunnel - photo: Green Racing Project

Cycling Whiteface Mountain - finish - pjamm cycling john johnson with bike

Finish for the bike.

Walk up the steps for epic views of Lake Placid.

  •  The descent is amazing (caveat – 25 mph speed limit).
  • Did we mention the 25 mph speed limit?  That counts for cars on the ascent, too – so, it’s a safe and comfortable climb.

  • Traffic flow is mild (at least on weekdays).
  • This is a bike-friendly route – many Share-the-Road signs.  

Cycling Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway - Share the Road sign

  • History:  6 events in the Winter Olympics were held here over eight days in 1980.
  • Upstate New York is beautiful.
  • The road and its surface for the Whiteface Mountain cycle climb  is exceptional - there is none better that we have encountered - there were no blemishes anywhere – up or down.  

  Climbing Whiteface Mountain by bike - steep grade sign.

Whiteface opened in 1958 and has earned its place in the annals of big-mountain skiing. It has the greatest vertical drop in the east, which means if pointing the boards downhill is your thing, you'll have plenty of opportunities.”  (Whitefacemountain.com)  If there is an incredible drop for skiers, then there is  the equivalent opposite for us climbing the monster!

Slopes of Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort.

Weather for the Whiteface Mountain bicycle climb:  This can change in an instant on the mountain.  We went up in fairly good weather and while taking photos at the top had rain come in surprisingly fast - check the weather and bring extra gear as warranted.


10 minutes earlier that view was perfectly clear.

Toll Road:  As of August, 2015 the toll for cyclists was $8.00 (photo).  The toll road is open to cyclists during nearly the same hours as automobiles (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for autos, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for cyclists ).  There is dated internet information that reports cyclists are permitted on the Toll Road only after 5 p.m. – this was the case, but is no longer.


Toll Booth is at the 3 miles mark - from here:  4.9 miles / 2,210’ / 8.4%

Final note:  If you have the opportunity to climb this mountain, DO IT!

Whiteface Mountain Cycle Climb summary courtesy of then Strava KOM Michael Le Rossignolhe:

 "The climb is beautiful and twisty in the last few miles which I love. There is only one small ramp where the gradient goes up and it's in the final 800m which really bites! It was also a lot colder at the top (i made the rookie mistake of not packing any warm clothes since it was in June! The view was spectacular, you can see Montreal (where I'm from) on a clear day. The race was pretty uneventful, there was a small group selected after only 1 mile of around 8 or 10 guys and it slowly became 6 by the 3/4k to go mark and I attacked and stayed away by a minute or so. It was a great event and well organized!"

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 7.4 (10.8%) and steepest mile at mile 4.7 (9.8%)

Whiteface Mountain bike climb is truly a bucket list cycling climb.  

[1] Thanks much and again to our Northeast Cleats on the Ground collaborator extraordinaire Matthew Staller for his invaluable input and assistance on this page.