High Peak number thirty-six was originally known by the name “Long Pond Mountain” after a long, narrow pond that sits in the col between the peak and Pitchoff Mountain. When an avalanche in 1860 divided Long Pond into two, the ponds became known as “Edmund’s Ponds” after a Keene local who lived north of the ponds. In 1878, Sidney and Warren Weston built a hotel between the two ponds, facing a cascade (small waterfall) that flowed down the avalanche path. The Westons renamed the ponds “Cascade Lakes,” and Long Pond Mountain subsequently became “Cascade Mountain.”
In 1872, a trapper named Lon Pierce laid a line of traps along the mountain and became the first to ascend the peak when he placed one on the summit. His summit trap successfully captured a bear- though before killing the bear, he had to rush down the mountain to grab the only gun in the settlement of Cascadeville. Luckily for Pierce, Cascade is one of the least remote High Peaks, so ascending it twice in a day was not an extremely difficult feat. Today, most consider Cascade to be the easiest High Peak to climb, with only 2.4 miles of trail separating the trailhead and the summit. With a bald peak boasting beautiful 360-degree views and an accessible trail located right off of Route 73, Cascade’s popularity has surged in recent years, leading to devastating trail erosion and other forms of environmental degradation.
To combat these overcrowding issues, the Adirondack 46ers have recently implemented a “frontcountry stewardship” program at the Cascade Mountain trailhead. These volunteers set up a table at the trail register during busy weekends to educate hikers on Leave No Trace and current trail conditions. Along with encouraging hikers to treat nature with respect, these stewards ensure that hikers have the proper footwear, water, food, clothing, and navigation tools to hike safely and responsibly. The DEC is also in the process of constructing a more durable trail up Cascade Mountain from the Mount Van Hoevenburg Ski Complex, which has much more parking than the tiny, crowded lots on Route 73. Though the DEC expected to complete this project in 2019, they recently pushed back their estimated completion date to 2021.
Rowland, Tim. “New Cascade Trail May Not Open until 2021.” Adirondack Explorer, 20 Sept. 2019, www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/new-cascade-trail-delay.