The mountain was formerly known as Saddleback, due to its shape. There are two trails to the top. One, maintained by New York State DEC, begins at the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, that runs between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. The other, maintained by the Lake Placid Shore Owner's Association, dates to 1896; it leads from the Lake Shore Path to the summit. Views from the top are extensive, from Whiteface Mountain to the north, with Lake Placid at its feet, to Gothics, Mount Marcy and the Great Range, and the Seward Mountains to the south. A ledge to the west of the trail offers views of the village of Saranac Lake and the Saranac Lakes spread out beyond, Moose Pond, Azure Mountain, Saint Regis Mountain and Debar Mountain to the north.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 22, 1956
40 Degrees Colder: Two Feet Of Snow On Mt. McKenzie
While the skiers in the East hoped for a fall of snow for a white Christmas five hardy climbers yesterday went to the summit of McKenzie Mountain from the Lake Placid side to find plenty of skiable snow.
The five skiers took pictures of the two-foot accumulation on the state-owned peak which has been recommended to the Joint Legislative Committee on Winter Tourist Facilities as the most suitable site for a major ski development. No skiing was the report from most ski centers, but under the shadow of McKenzie, near the shores of Lake Placid, ski classes were being conducted on golf course slopes with two inches snow. Some 2000 feet higher on the North Peak of the McKenzie Range, this historic Adirondack snow fence held a total of 25 inches of snow since receiving its first coat of white last September 21. The temperature was 27 degrees at the peak, and nearly 70 degrees at the same time in Berkeley Square.
Led by James Bombard, of Saranac Lake, the climbers were: William Donnelly, Tom Donnelly, Douglas Poole, and Duncan Richardson, all of the Saranac Lake Ski Club. The readings and pictures will be submitted to the Legislators and further findings made during the winter when lack of snow curtails the ski sport at lower altitudes.
Supporters of extended ski facilities in New York State contend that the basic commodity for the sport is snow; also, that lift facilities belong where the best snowfall is found. Recorded figures since 1934 seem to indicate McKenzie Mountain as such a place.