Here are some unofficial notes by Ken Roberts in 2006 about the route of the 2004 Loppet event at the Mt Hoevenberg ski center.  This route has been the standard Lake Placid Loppet course during the years 2000-2004 when the snow cover was good enough.

Although it is straightforward to follow the course when the organizers have it all marked on the day of the event, it can be pretty difficult to figure it out any other time. Perhaps these notes could help in the quest.

Several of the trails on this route are designated as "Most Difficult" (black diamond) on the official Mt Hoevenberg center trail map, so this route is unsuitable for many skiers. It is especially important to have strong skills for slowing down and taking sharp curves while on a steep downhill, and to have sound judgment about what sections are too risky for some skiers to attempt at all under some snow and weather conditions.

This route becomes even more difficult and risky in certain snow and weather conditions. If you have any doubt whether the current snow and weather conditions are suitable for you and all members of your party, check first with the staff of the Mt Van Hoevenberg center before starting out.

Markers along the Trails

As of December 2005, Sharon and I saw that many of the turns are marked out there on the actual ski trails:  faded-red plastic squares with a black letter "L" and arrow on them. But in December 2007 I found several intersections with no "L" markers later in the route over on the "biathlon" side (West section).

Map + junctions

These notes are intended to be used as a supplement to the official Nordic Ski Trails map of the Mt Hoevenberg center.

Junction numbers refer to the multi-color glossy brochure map of Nordic Ski Trails for winter 2004-2005 (and not to the numbers on the black-and-white Annual Lake Placid Loppet race course map).


East section is around 17-18 km / 11 miles, and very hilly compared with most routes at most cross-country ski centers.

West section is around 7-8 km / 5 miles.

Total route is 25 km / 15.5 miles. It is usually thought to be the hilliest ski marathon course in North America whose marathon race is open to the general public.

There are many shortcuts and variations possible -- and several ways to add more.

East section (Porter Mt + Ladies 5K)

exit from east end of Stadium (the end away from the lodge where we buy trail passes and food and stuff)

bear Left onto start of Flatlander loop in the direction pointed by the sign (counter-clockwise on the trail map).

bear Right to avoid going over a bridge (follow Flatlander loop, not Flatlander Extension). Then soon near junction 22, where Flatlander curves sharp Left

go Straight (or slightly right) to get off Flatlander -- but not such a sharp right turn as to already be on the other end of the East Mt Loop. (Ignore the "East Mt" sign pointing Left.)  (If start to go under a bridge, then went too far.) After a short ways,

bear Right to join the East Mountain Loop (going clockwise on the trail map).

Porter Mt loop

Left at junction 36 to start the Porter Mountain Loops.

The route goes clockwise around the perimeter of the east side of the trail system -- except that two sections are skipped (Peggy's Puddle and Big Rock).

turn Right to skip the Peggy's Puddle loop, and a quick Right to rejoin Porter Mountain Loop, and

At junction 41, go Left to ski around the Cascade loop -- which later returns to this same point.

5 km point comes near where trail runs alongside Route 73 road, also the usual location of the first feed station in the Loppet event. Then comes the first Cascade climb. After passing junction 41 again comes what I call the second Cascade climb -- even though it's after the Cascade loop, there's only a short gap from the first Cascade climb.

After some down and rolls, comes what I call "first big Porter climb", which ends in a very steep climbing section, followed by a very steep short dip down-and-up. After that comes the "second big Porter climb". The downhill after this comes to junction 43.

Turn Right to skip the Big Rock loop, then continue clockwise around the perimeter onto the "Rollercoaster Hills" (and skip the Horseshoe loop). Then curve West and go downhill more. At junction 46, bear Left in direction of "Return to Stadium" sign.

Trail curves West and go downhill more, another climb, more downhill. Follow "Porter Mt Loops" signs (which lead to joining the East Mountain Loop, going clockwise on the trail map).

10 km point comes somewhere around junction 38, and also the usual location of the second feed station of the Loppet event.

Then into the long East Mountain climb, with some curves along the way. After a slight pause, the climb suddenly gets very steep ("the Russian hill"). At last some downhill, and then leave the East Mt Loop ...

Ladies 5K -- Outer then Inner

At junction 29, bear Left (or Straight) to join the Olympic Ladies 5K Outer Loop, following red markers (going clockwise on the trail map). Several steep ups and downs, then a long downhill toward the Stadium.

Before reaching the Stadium, the downhill comes into an open area.

Turn sharp Right across the open area to leave the Outer loop, soon start to climb and bear Right to Inner loop of the Ladies 5K trail. 

some more ups and downs, then at the start of another steep climb,

bear Left and climb partway up to leave the Ladies 5K (before it joins Innerloopen or East Mt Loop), and

turn Left at junction 23 onto Main Street to go down hill toward the stadium. pass by the first right turn (near junctions 20 + 21) near the bottom of the hill, then

take the second Right turn by open area at bottom of hill. Go a short ways to reach the Stadium, and turn Left into the big open field.

15km point comes somewhere in the Ladies 5K Inner loop.

Go west past the lodge building (usual location of the third feed station of the Loppet event).

West section ("biathlon side")

[ this section not yet checked ]

Exit west end of Stadium (near the main lodge building) to start Brookside Loop / Three Trails Loop. Through tunnel underneath road, up a short steep hill, then

Turn Left onto Three Trails Loop (going clockwise on map), going West, then curves North. After some ups and downs,

turn Left (up hill that starts steep) to keep going North on Three Trails (where Three Trails Cutoff goes straight or bears right). Trail later curves East. When Three Trails turns right to go south,

continue Straight on Perimeter Loop (clockwise on map), going East, later curves South (20 km point comes around here). Pass by Lower Grouse and Grouse Gully trails, then

at junction 11 (by sign for "end of North Brook Trail"), leave the Perimeter trail and turn sharp Right onto North Brook trail going West, then quickly another Right (sign for "Cross Country Stadium and Parking Lot"). This joins Three Trails Loop (counter-clockwise on map) at junction 10 (usual location of fourth feed station is near here), and just after picnic table on left,

turn full Right (not the half-Right to Double Dipper) to go North on Three Trails Loop (counter-clockwise on map), then soon

bear Right to leave Three Trails Loop and continue North, then soon

bear Left (sign for "Beech Hill") to continue North, then soon at junction 9

turn Left onto Beech Hill trail (pass by "Lower Gully") going West -- long climb, gets steeper. At junction 7 (pass by "Dog Bone Cutoff") and 

continue straight West for more climbing, and curving South, then down and East.  At the next intersection (at or just before another intersection with "Dog Bone Cutoff"), do not continue onto Three Trails Loop, instead

turn Right to go South. Immediately cross another intersection and continue Straight to join Three Trails Cutoff trail going South down a hill. Then climbs up, curves West, then a sharp curve Left in the midst of a downhill, to go east to junction 3 (where several trails meet). Bear Left to go East on Brookside. After a short ways, and near junction 2,

turn Left (up a hill that starts steep) to continue on Brookside Loop (clockwise on map) briefly North, then East, then curve Right to join Three Trails Loop going South, then through the tunnel underneath the road, back to the Stadium and finish. (25 km)

more . . .

For those who need more, a different challenge is to try to add everything along the way, and see how far can make it until run out of energy. More segments might include (if they have good snow conditions):

  • add to Porter Mountain Loop:  Peggy's Puddle, Big Rock Loop, Horseshoe Loop.
  • add to Olympic Ladies 5K:  Hi Notch.
  • add to biathlon-side Perimeter:  Visit the Biathlon Range, or cross under and over the road -- or both -- something like this:  From junction 11, by continue straight on Perimeter Loop going East and underneath the road, then something like Flatlander Extension clockwise to junction 34, turn Left on Spruce Trail going NorthWest to bridge over the road, to visit the Biathlon Range, then something like Three Trails Loop counter-clockwise to junction 10 to rejoin main Loppet going West and North.
  • add to the Stadium at start or finish: Flatlander Loop, Mini Loop, or perhaps something with Main Street and InnerLoopen trails.

Most of these "more" segments add substantial hills as well as distance to the main Loppet route.

see also