10 Easy Fall Hikes in the Adirondacks

The North East is well known for its vibrant fall colors. Many travel to the Adirondacks for dramatic views of the autumn hues. All the picturesque views don’t have to be a difficult hike away; there are 10 easy fall hikes in the Adirondacks that will leave you speechless. 

In this post you’ll find 10 Adirondack Fall hikes that are under 3 miles in length with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain. We’re also sharing 7 accessible fall foliage views throughout the Adirondack Park.

Autumn in the Adirondacks at Heart Lake

Adirondack Fall Hikes for Beginners

These 10 easy Fall hikes in the Adirondacks are perfect for beginners who want to experience autumn in the North East. Take an easy Adirondack hike through the most perfect fall foliage. 

All of these hikes are under 3 miles round trip and require less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Azure

  • 1.8 Miles RT
  • 912 ft. Elevation Gain

Azure is located a few back country roads away from Paul Smiths. This puts the trail in close proximity to several colleges. It’s location mixed with its easy of completion and beautiful views makes it a very popular mountain. 

The trail is very wide due to erosion which makes it incredibly easy to follow. Please do your part by staying in the middle of the trail to prevent further erosion.

Fall Fire Tower Views in the Adirondacks

Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to find solitude on the summit, even on a busy day. Please clean up after yourself and feel free to clean up after someone else too! Leave it better than you found it. 

Baker Mountain

  • 1.6 Miles RT
  • 885 ft. Elevation Gain

Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake offers two routes from its trailhead in town at Moody Pond . The slightly shorter .9-mile hike is steeper than the 1-mile hike to the summit. We suggest hiking them in a counter-clockwise loop. 

The summit provides views over the Village or Saranac Lake towards the High Peaks Region.  

Photo Credit: Saranac Lake

This hike is part of the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge. If you’re up for a challenge, give it a try and earn your patch. 

Bald Mountain

  • 2 Miles RT
  • 416 ft. Elevation Gain

Bald Mountain, or Rondaxe Fire Tower, is located just outside of Old Forge. This popular trail head is gets very busy so I suggest hitting it up for an early morning hike to avoid crowds and lack of parking. 

With beautiful views of third lake from the summit and 360-degree views from the firet ower, Bald Mountain is one of the more popular easy fall hikes in the Adirondacks for families. 

Peak Foliage at Bald Mountain in Old Forge!

Bald Mountain is part of the Fulton Chain Trifecta. If you’re visiting Old Forge, try to hike all three to earn a patch! 

Belfry Firetower

  • .8 Miles RT
  • 134 ft. Elevation Gain

To access Belfry Firetower, hikers are required to hike a .4 mile acces road to the summit. It’s a leisurely accent and an obvious trail to follow. 

Please do not stray from the access road as this hike takes place on private property. The owner has allowed access to the fire tower via the road.

Photo Credit: Outdoor Project

As one of the easiest and shortest fire tower climbs, this hike is quite popular. Enjoy these spectacular views for sunrise and sunset to avoid large crowds.

Castle Rock

  • 2.8 Miles RT
  • 659 ft. Elevation Gain

Castle Rock is a beautiful hike on the North shores of Blue Mountain Lake. This hike provides vibrant views of the foliage surrounding Blue Mountain Lake. 

The trail is fairly straight forward and steady until just before the lookout point. Be prepared for some very light, family-appropriate, rock scrambling to reach the viewpoint. 

Castle Rock in Blue Mountain Lake in Fall

If you’re looking for a much more challenging hike nearby, check out Blue Mountain Fire Tower.  

Kane Mountain

  • 2.1 Miles RT
  • 616 ft. Elevation Gain

This short and sweet hike just outside of Caroga, New York is perfect for fall foliage. When you peer out through the fire tower windows you’re met with a sea of hardwoods dipped in autumn delight. 

The initial trail is a steady climb that will leave you winded, but isn’t too difficult. Complete the trail in a clockwise loop to experience the more gradual decent and to avoid crowds on your return. 

Just before peak Fall Foliage at Kane Mountain Fire Tower in Caroga Lake

If you’re into Mountain Biking the Wheelerville Trail System is located just a few miles from the Kane Mountain Trailhead. I highly recommend checking out these trails if you have your bike handy!

Mt. Arab

  • 1.9 Miles RT
  • 738  ft. Elevation Gain

A truly amazing hike for the whole family! The initial climb can be a bit steep, but they’ve added stairs to make the ascent more accessible. 

As you near the summit, you’ll notice a handful of social paths. Please refrain from traveling those and stay on the main trail to the summit. 

Fruity Pebble Tree Top Views from the Fire Tower

The summit has an observers cabin which is now a museum ran by the Friends of Mt. Arab. Climb the fire tower or take a seat on the bench and eat lunch. No matter what you choose, you’ll be met with stunning views of the Adirondack Park in Fall. 

Mt. Jo

  • 1.8 Miles RT
  • 692  ft. Elevation Gain

If you are in the Lake Placid area for fall, Mt. Jo is a must. Be warned, you will need to arrive prior to 6 AM if you want a parking spot right away. Or you can wait until mid-morning/late afternoon.

Sunrising Mt. Jo is my favorite way to spend an Adirondack Fall morning. The view of the heart lake and the MacIntyre Range is actual fall foliage perfection. 

Mt. Jo’s Morning Fog and Fall Colors

A sunrise hike here adds to the beauty as the fog over heart lake slowly clears and the most perfect sun beams hit the autumn leaves. Easily the best fall hike in the Adirondacks in my book!

Rocky Mountain

  • 1 Miles RT
  • 433  ft. Elevation Gain

Super short, incredibly sweet, and less than 5 minutes from the town of Inlet. Rocky Mountain is the perfect Adirondack fall hike for an adventurer short on time or a family with young children who want to enjoy spectacular views. 

The trail climbs straight out of the parking lot until it reaches a rocky summit with beautiful views of fourth lake. Catching this hike at sunrise is sure to lessen the crowds and enhance the views.

Nothing Beats the Best Adirondack Fall View from the Very Easy Rocky Mountain Hike in Inlet

Rocky Mountain is part of the Fulton Chain Trifecta. Hike all three Old Forge/Inlet-area mountains for a patch! 

The Pinnacle

  • 2.1 Miles RT
  • 495  ft. Elevation Gain

Located on the Western shores of Lake George, The Pinnacle is a hike that proves popular in autumn. As far as easy fall hikes in the Adirondacks goes, this is at the top of the list.

A gentle and steady incline – with bench pit-stops along the way – will bring you to a beautiful view of Lake George. This expansive viewpoint provides views of the Lake George 12ster Mountains across the lake, as well as Lake George’s many islands. 

Photo Credit: Visit Lake George

The Pinnacle is just outside of Bolton Landing which is a great place to stop for a beverage and a bite to eat!

Accessible Adirondack Fall Views

Check out these 7 accessible Adirondack Fall foliage views. Whether you’re physically unable to complete the above-mentioned hikes or you’re looking for an easier way to enjoy autumn leaves, these accessible Adirondack fall views are for you. 

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake

Drive High Peaks Byway

Drive route 73, the High Peaks Byway, between Lake Placid and Interstate 87. This 28-mile long road takes around 40 minutes to drive and will leave you speechless.  

McCauley Scenic Chairlift

Take the McCauley Scenic Chairlift for amazing views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Experience nature’s amazing show of colors with ease. 

Prospect Mountain’s Veteran Memorial Highway

For $10 a car you can drive up Veteran Memorial Highway to gorgeous views of Lake George. Park at the parking lot and walk or take the shuttle to the true summit for a picnic area and the remains of the worlds largest cable railroad. 

The Wild Center

Visit the Wild Center’s Wild Walk for treetop views of the Tupper Lake area. The Natural History Center provides additional opportunities for fun and exploration with the Forest Music and Live River exhibits. 

Fall Views from the Wild Walk in Tupper Lake

The VIC

The Barnum Brook Trail, located at the Paul Smith’s VIC, is a .7 mile wheelchair accessible loop with perfect autumn Adirondack views. The trail surface is at least 4 feet wide and made of wooden boardwalks, pavement, gravel, and natural dirt. This is one of the only accessible fall hikes in the Adirondacks.

Whiteface Cloud Splitter Gondola

Open Friday through Sunday from 10AM to 5PM, visitors can ride the Cloud Splitter Gondola to the summit of Little Whiteface. Be transported from the base to the peak in an awe-inspiring 15-minute ride among the tree tops. 

Autumn Hues in Fall

Post-Hike Rejuvenation in the Adirondacks

Adirondack towns often have multiple options for post-hike food and beverages. There are a number of restaurants and breweries throughout the park that are absolutely worth your time. Here are my three favorite breweries:

Big Slide Brewery

Raquette Lake Brewing

Fulton Chain Craft Brewing

If these three aren’t near your hike, check out the full list of the 13 Best Adirondack Breweries. You’ll find the best brews and food inside the park!

Published by Kaitlyn Fortier

Hello everybody! My name is Kaitlyn Fortier. I'm a Middle School Teacher and 3-season Athletics coach in Central New York. I utilize this platform to share actionable tips, 'best-of' lists, and budget-friendly travel guides for explorers of all travel interests.

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