Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,325.00 ft (403.86 m)
Trail type
3.90 mi (6.28 km)
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Pitchoff Mountain is a lower Adirondack peak near Lake Placid, New York. Although the summit reaches just 3,599 feet and has minimal views, the popular Balanced Rocks viewpoint offers incredible vistas of Lake Placid and the surrounding peaks. The viewpoint and summit are reachable via a 5.2-mile hike along the western end of the Pitchoff Mountain Trail.

The hike departs from the north side of Rt. 73, across the road from the trailhead for Cascade and Porter Mountains, an incredibly popular hike that shares parking with Pitchoff Mountain. Because of this, parking has historically been difficult at this location. However, the trail to Cascade and Porter from this location closed in 2019, making parking for Pitchoff Mountain easier.

The trail begins the climb right away, but is never excessively steep. The first views through the trees come relatively quickly, but the best views are still ahead. At 1.5 miles, the trail to Balanced Rocks leads to the right (marked with an inconspicuous wooden sign and a small trail blaze). The trail to Pitchoff Mountain's summit continues straight.

To get to Balanced Rocks, follow the trail as directed by the sign. After just 0.1 miles, you will reach a rocky outcrop with great views to the south. It's tempting to stop here and enjoy some trail mix, but if you continue another scant quarter mile along the trail, you will reach Balanced Rocks and its incredible view.

When you get there, it's easy to see why it's called Balanced Rocks: two enormous boulders sit, well, balanced, on a huge, exposed slab of rock. Stop and enjoy the views here. You can see Lake Placid nearby, as well as Cascade Mountain to the south, and a number of other mountains farther to the west.

After visiting Balanced Rocks, hikers have the option of summiting Pitchoff Mountain. Although the summit is unexciting and not a high peak, it's nevertheless a pleasant trail. The summit, which is unmarked and easy to miss, comes just 0.7 miles away from the junction with the trail to Balanced Rocks. Return to the trailhead via the same trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Beautiful viewpoint. Excellent leaf peeping. Cool rocks & ledges.


Unexciting summit. Difficult parking options.

Trailhead Elevation

2,164.00 ft (659.59 m)

Highest point

3,494.00 ft (1,064.97 m)


Geologically significant
Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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