The Adirondacks (New York)
Updated: Jan 3, 2019
The Adirondack Park is made up of over 6 million acres of outdoorsy opportunity that attract folks from across the country and down from Canada. The highest peaks in New York are in the Adirondacks, with a club - the Adirondack 46ers - dedicated to hikers who have summited all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack mountains. And once you visit the park, you'll know why people return year after year.
It's about a five hour drive from New York City to the Adirondacks, pit-stops at Lake George and Keene Valley are highly recommended. Make sure to save the directions as it's common to lose cell service as you enter the area.
When to Go
There's something to enjoy in the Adirondacks throughout every season -- the summer is warm enough to bathe in a lake, the fall provides 4,000 foot panoramic views of foliage, the spring covers mountains with flowers and the winter is a wonderland of snow covered peaks and frozen waterfalls and cliffsides. Though the most popular time for visitors is in the summer, when campgrounds and lodges will sell out quickly. Remember to check the weather before you go, as even in summer the temperatures will dip very low at night!
Visitors to the Adirondacks can spend their days hiking, rock and ice climbing (depending on the season), kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing on the lakes.
In the Adirondacks, the High Peaks are the most popular area for hikers, with more than 300 miles of trail that can connect you to some of the best views in the state.
Mount Marcy (14.1 miles)
Mount Skylight (18.7 miles)
Algonquin Peak (15.2 miles)
Gothics Mountain (13.1 mil
Some of the best climbing routes in New York can be found in the Adirondacks, with incredible views and fewer people than you'll find at the Gunks. A special experience in the park is to approach some of the overhanging cliffs by boat and climb up from the water.
Recommended Climbing Areas:
Long Pond Cliff (difficulty ranges from 5.3 to 5.8)
Echo Cliff (difficulty ranges from 5.4 to 5.10a)
Cascade Lakes (difficulty ranges from 5.3 to 5.10a)
Poke-O-Moonshine (difficulty ranges from 5.6 to 5.11a)
You can camp for free anywhere on state land (so long as it’s 250 feet from a trail), but a real treat is to camp at Heart Lake in a lean-to or stay at the Adirondack Lodge in a bunk or private room. The lodge serves meals, hot coffee and a range of snacks, all of which are available to hungry campers at reasonable prices. If you're camping at one of the many ADK campgrounds (shown below), you'll need a bear canister as black bears abound and the park requires you to lock up your food and drink if you're staying the night.
Folks who don't want to stay within the park will find some nice accommodation options in Keene or Lake Placid, either on airbnb or at one of the local hotels. The town of Keene has a couple great restaurants and a huge outdoors store, the Mountaineer, where you can pick up a pin for each mountain you climb, or any other gear you might need for your adventures.
Don't let the distance from the city deter you - whenever you visit the Adirondacks, and wherever you stay, you'll be sure to have fun!