The Adirondack Region of New York, which boasts the largest trail system in the state, winding more than 2,000 miles through mountains, rivers and lakes, offers unparalleled hiking experiences for all abilities. From the newly crowned “Saranac Six,” to the Champlain Area Trails system (CATS), now is the time to get outside and explore in the Adirondack Mountains
The CATS trails, located along the coast of Lake Champlain, offer some new hiking experiences up Boquet Mountain, around Beaver Flow and through the Splitrock Wild Forest. Find easy-to-moderate hiking trails perfect for families with children. The Saranac Lake Six, a new hiking challenge for visitors to the Adirondacks, kicked off the summer hiking season in May, challenging hikers to conquer six of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Lakes Region. Complete all six and become an official “6er.” Climb all six and one day and earn one of the first spots on the “Ultra 6er” list.
With a total ascent of more than 18,000’, the Saranac Lake Six present a challenging hiking experience for a weekend or summer spent in the Adirondacks. They are:
- McKenzie Mountain – the tallest 6er and the longest trail at 10.6 miles round-trip, begin at the trailhead located on NYS Route 86 between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.
- Ampersand Mountain – its bald summit offers panoramic views. Begin the 5.4 miles round-trip hike at the trailhead located on Route 3 between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
- Scarface Mountain – a moderate 6.8 mile round-trip hike, with great views of the lakes, the trailhead is located on Old Ray Brook Road, just 0.1 miles from Route 86 in Ray Brook.
- St. Regis Mountain – offers a steep climb to the summit crowned by an old fire tower. Begin the 6.6 mile round-trip hike at the trailhead located on Keese Miles Road.
- Haystack Mountain – located about half-way along the McKenzie Mountain trail, Haystack offers 180-degree views and is 6.6 miles round-trip.
- Mount Baker – one of the quickest yet steepest trails at 1.8 miles round-trip. The trailhead is located on Moody Pond Road in Saranac Lake.
Experience the thrill of discovery on an Adirondack hiking trail and find unique attractions and family-friendly outdoor recreation. In each Adirondack Region, adventure can be found at trailheads, summits and on winding paths that lead into the unknown.
Some of this summer’s top hiking adventures in the Adirondacks include:
Canoe and Climb at Valcour Island on the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain. From the town of Peru’s boat launch on Lake Champlain, sea kayak for one mile across Lake Champlain to Valcour Island. Distinguished by the historic lighthouse that rises from its shores, the island was the site of the first naval battle during the Revolutionary War. More than 7 miles of hiking trails circle the island, winding along cliffs, around a heron rookery, stopping at sand beaches and sheltered bays. Crossing conditions can be dangerous for amateur paddlers, so consider joining a guided paddling trip to the island with the staff from The Kayak Shack in Plattsburgh.
Furry Fun for Families at Up Yonda Farm in the Lake George Region offers a different kind of hiking excursion, one that includes wildlife exhibits, nature programs, bee-keeping and more. Up Yonda is a 72-acre facility in Bolton Landing offering lessons on honey-bees, trees, butterflies, planets and constellations, as well as wild things like turtles and newts. Enjoy wildlife viewing and bird watching, and hike trails that wind through fields, meadows, old forests and even a cemetery. There is a small fee, around $4 per person, to join in any one of the public programs. Up Yonda offers visitors the chance to connect with the living animals and plants of the Adirondacks while enjoying the great outdoors.
The Waterfall Challenge in the Adirondack Wild Region takes visitors to the heart of the Adirondack Park and explores the cascading waterfalls of Hamilton County. Home to the greatest number of waterfalls in the region, the Adirondack Wild offers pristine hiking to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls on the east coast. To begin, download the waterfall hike guide for detailed trail instructions. Complete the waterfall challenge brochure and submit the information to Hamilton County Tourism to receive a waterfall challenge patch.
Horseback Riding and Hiking in the Adirondacks Tug Hill Region’s Otter Creek Trail System. One of the only recreational areas of its kind in the Adirondacks, Otter Creek is a series of interlocking horse and hiking trails that wind for nearly 65 miles through woodlands, around backcountry ponds and rambling rivers. Primitive camping is available at a designated assembly area located in the Independence River State Forest area. Accommodations for those traveling with horses include 100 roofed stalls, two stud stalls as well as a potable water system for everyone.
Bushwhacking the Backcountry in the Lake Placid Region takes skill and a fair bit of planning – though the rewards are expansive views and a notch in your belt for tackling some of the most remote peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. Bag a couple peaks in Wilmington – also home of Whiteface Mountain Downhill Bike Center – such as Morgan Mountain and Wilmington Peak. Both trails are less than 5 miles round-trip, yet challenge hikers to use orienteering skills, hack through underbrush and scramble across difficult and often steep terrain.
In the Adirondack Seaway Region, Stone Valley Recreation Area in Colton offers a moderate hiking trek across 7.5 miles of trails. Follow the historic Raquette River and glimpse whitewater rapids, waterfall gorges and rock ledges. Watch for adventurous kayakers shooting the rapids during the spring and summer months.
The Adirondack Region is a six-million-acre park offering limitless recreation amid 2,000 miles of hiking trails and 3,000 lakes and ponds. Part of the largest temperate forest in the world, the Adirondacks are also home to 103 towns and villages. Connect with the Adirondacks on Facebook.com/visitadirondacks or Twitter.com/visitadks. Search Adirondack events, attractions and Adirondack vacation packages at VisitAdirondacks.com.
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