Hiking Mount Katahdin

Hiking Mount Katahdin is a goal for many outdoor enthusiasts! Whether they’re looking to complete the Appalachian Trail or hike the highest mountain in Maine, summiting Katahdin is their answer. Katahdin stands at 5,269 feet tall and is also part of the Northeast 111 hiking challenge. Its name, provided by the Penobscot Native Americans, quite literally means, “The Greatest Mountain”, and for good reason. Let’s start planning for the day we make hiking Mount Katahdin a reality.

Mount Katahdin Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need a Permit to Hike Mount Katahdin?

No! There is no permit required to hike Mount Katahdin. Access to the mountain is controlled by the campsites and parking spots which can be reserved in advance and are also available on a first-come first-served basis. 

Do You Need a Permit When Hiking Mount Katahdin?

What Does it Cost to Hike Katahdin?

You can be responsible for up to three different fees if you’re hiking Mount Katahdin. 

  1. Baxter State Park Entrance Fees: $15 per vehicle for non-Maine residents
  2. Parking Fees: $5 per car for day hikers
  3. Camping Fees: $32 per night in the summer and $17 per night in the winter

Where can I Park to Hike Katahdin?

You can make a Day Use Reservation for the parking lots at Roaring Brook, Abol, or Katahdin Stream Campgrounds. A Day Use Reservation will be held for you until 7:00 AM on the day of your planned hike; after this time, your spot will be given to other hikers on a first come first serve basis.

Maine residents have a leg up on other hikers. They can make a Day Use Reservation for any time in the summer season as of April 1. Non-residents can make a Reservation to hike Katahdin two weeks or less prior to the date of their intended hike.

If you are unable to secure a reservation, you will have to arrive early to Baxter State Park for a first come first serve parking spot to hike Katahdin. 

Can you Hike Katahdin in a Day?

Absolutely! Katahdin is most commonly hiked as a day hike. On average, it takes hikers around 10 hours to complete a round-trip Katahdin hike. 

What is the Best Route Up Katahdin?

There are several options for hiking Mount Katahdin.

The Easiest, 10.4 Mi.: The Saddle Trail may be considered the easy route, however, it’s still no joke. You still need to gain thousands of feet in elevation, however, you’re able to do so in more mileage.

The Shortest, 7.3 Mi.: The Abol Trail is the most direct trail to the summit of Mount Katahdin. It’s also the steepest route, gaining 3,982 feet of elevation in 3.4 miles. Keep in mind that the shortest trail isn’t necessarily the easiest.

The Best Loop, 9 Mi.: Start at Roaring Brook Campground and take the Helon Taylor Trail to Knife Edge which will bring you to Baxter Peak, or Mount Katahdin. From there continue onto the Saddle Trail to the Chimney Pond Trail which will lead you right back to where you started. You can also hike this same loop in reverse!

Where Can I Stay to Hike Mount Katahdin?

There are a number of campgrounds within Baxter State Park where you can lay your head after hiking Mount Katahdin. Some of the more popular include:

  • South Branch Pond Campground
  • Chimney Pond Campground
  • Roaring Brook Campground
  • Katahdin Stream Campground

Campground near Baxter State Park:

  • Wilderness Edge Campground, 15 miles from Baxter State Park
  • Katahdin Shadows Campground, 26 miles from Baxter State Park
  • Pine Grove Campground & Cottages, 32 miles from Baxter State Park
Camping Near Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin

Budget Hotels in the nearby town of Millinocket, 20 miles from Baxter State Park:

  • Baxter Park Inn, approximately $120-$130 per night
  • Katahdin Inn & Suites, approximately $110-$125 per night
  • Pamola Motor Lodge, approximately $90 per night

Hotels in the surrounding area:

  • Big Moose Inn, Cabins, & Campgrounds
  • New England Outdoor Center
  • 5 Lakes Lodge Bed & Breakfast
  • Penobscot Outdoor Center

Can Dogs Hike Mount Katahdin?

There are no dogs allowed in Baxter State Park.

When Does Baxter State Park Open?

The Togue Pond and Matagamon gates open at 6am and close at 10pm daily. All publicly accessible roads in the park are open during this time. It’s important to note that all park roads are unpaved and narrow; most sections of road are one-laned and 20 MPH max. It takes a long time to get from one place to another.

Patiently Waiting to Enter the Park and Hike Mount Katahdin

Tips for Hiking Mount Katahdin

1. Plan Ahead & Reserve a Spot

The number of hikers who can climb Mount Katahdin is limited by the number of parking spots at the trailheads. Plan ahead for your hike. Research which trail you’d like to hike and try and reserve a campsite or parking spot where that trail begins.

It’s important to have a backup plan. If your desired campground and/or parking lot is full, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Flexibility in trailheads and hiking dates can go a long way!

2. Wake Up Early and Wait Patiently

If you’re forced to take your chances on a first come first serve parking space, you need to be prepared to wake up early. You Need to be at Baxter State Park’s Entrance around 4:00 AM; I know this sounds excessive, but believe me when I say you won’t even be the first car in line.

Our 4:30 AM Arrival Made Us The 6th Car In Line

A line of cars will form at the gate. When the Rangers open the gate at 6 AM, they will instruct all cars waiting for Katahdin First Come First Serve parking spots to pull over to the side. All day use reservations need to check-in by 7:00 AM. After 7:00 AM, first come first serve hikers will start to be accepted into the park.

You will need to know which parking lot you want to park in. Always have a backup plan in the event that your chosen lot and/or trail is full!

3. Train for Your Hike

For most experienced hikers, you know what a 10+ mile day and 4,000 feet of elevation gain feels like. If you’re new to hiking, I suggest getting some training hikes in so that your day spent hiking Mount Katahdin is more enjoyable and smooth sailing.

If you’re new to hiking and hoping to tackle Mount Katahdin, start small and give yourself time to improve. Start with 2-3 mile day hikes. As these become easier and you learn more about the great outdoors, start to increase the distance of your hike and the weight of your pack. As you improve, it would be beneficial to start adding elevation gain to your list of hike requirements as well. Adding instance and elevation gain to your training hikes will help you get a real feel for what hiking Mount Katahdin will be like.

Strength training will also complement your hiking abilities. Completing lower body exercises, such as squats, lunges, and calf raises with weight will help to decrease muscle fatigue as you gain elevation. Working on core strength and balance will also positively impact your hiking abilities. 

4. Prepare for Exposure When Hiking Mount Katahdin

The higher you climb, the more exposed you are. Mount Katahdin is 5,269’ tall which means you’re above treeline for a lot of the hike. Being above treeline means you are fully exposed to the elements including wind, rain, hail, fog, lightning, snow, and cold.

It’s important that you plan ahead and prepare for exposure. Although checking the weather forecast is helpful, it’s important to realize that weather can be much different on the summit than it was at the trailhead.

Always pack layers, even on a sunny summer day. You should always have your rain gear, an additional warm outer layer, and accessories, such as a hat and gloves. It might seem crazy to pack these items in the heat of summer, but you never want to be sorry you didn’t.

5. Hike Knife Edge on the Return

Knife Edge is a 1.1 mile fully exposed, technical hike. It connects Pamola Peak to Mount Katahdin. This ridgeline is as narrow as four feet, with 2,000-foot drops on either side in some places. It should only be attempted by experienced, prepared hikers with good decision-making skills.

A Foggy View of Knife Edge Hiking Mount Katahdin

Our decision-making skills kept us from traversing Knife Edge and making it to Katahdin in August of 2019. It was raining sideways, incredibly windy, and about 40 degrees when we made it to Pamola Peak. We opted out of our adventure and made the very disappointing hike back down to the car. This is why we suggest saving Knife Edge for your return hike! That way, you can summit Katahdin in less-than-ideal weather conditions and not waste your attempt.

It is important to note that cold and rainy conditions are okay for hiking when properly prepared. They simply weren’t the proper conditions for traversing Knife Edge, thus leaving us with no choice but to return to our trailhead without reaching the summit.

6. Pack High Energy Snacks

Hiking Mount Katahdin is a full day’s work! It is very important that you pack multiple high-energy snacks for your trip. This will ensure you have the fuel to complete the hike.

Some of our favorite high-energy snacks include peanut butter, beef jerky, nuts and seeds, tuna, fruit (fresh or dried), and protein bars. Energy chews are another great item to bring along as well. Carrying a variety of these in your pack should guarantee you have the energy to tackle Mount Katahdin.

Along with packing high-protein snacks, it’s imperative that you pack enough water for your hike. Dehydration will debilitate you before hunger will. Be sure to hydrate prior to and during your hike!

7. Be Prepared to Turn Around

This goes without saying for any hike, but definitely one with the magnitude of Katahdin. The mountain(s) will always be there; please turn around if something doesn’t go your way and places you in danger.

Here are some common reasons people turn back on a hike:
– Poor Weather
– Injury
– Timeliness
– Lack of Food/Water
– Lost
– Tired

Hopefully, you’re able to complete the hike you’ve set out to do! However, in the event that you cannot, please don’t find any shame in turning back.

8. Experiencing AT hikers!

Hiking Mount Katahdin is the final push for North Bound Appalachian Trail Thruhikers. It’s likely you’ll experience them along the trail and on the summit. They’re incredibly neat individuals who have so many stories to tell; if they’re looking to share, you should take a listen!

It’s also important to realize that they’re probably going to smell… like really bad. And that’s okay! You would smell too after hiking 2,190 miles over the course of 5-7 months.


Leave No Trace While Hiking Mount Katahdin

It’s so important to Leave No Trace when you’re in nature. Percival P. Baxter, once the governor of Maine, donated the land of Baxter State Park to create, protect, and provide the people of Maine a wilderness area. This space is some of the most rugged terrain in the Northeast and absolutely beautiful. His philosophy of “Wilderness First, Recreation Second” lives on through Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park. Please honor this mission while hiking Mount Katahdin and remember, it’s wild out there.

Great Pines Resort Review

Staying at Great Pines in Old Forge, New York!

This beautiful, laid-back lodge is set in a wooded area along Fourth Lake between Old Forge and Inlet. Its location on the lake and close proximity to either town make it a popular location for boaters, snowmobilers, and those seeking lowland Adirondack adventure. 

Book a Room at Great Pines Resort

The Great Pines Resort provides luxury accommodations in the Adirondack Park. It’s an absolutely gorgeous resort with the most perfect rustic decor. Currently, the check-in process is quite simple; Great Pines will send you check-in instructions on the day of your stay and a number to contact in the event that you require some assistance.

This board, right outside the lodge main doors, provides guests with tons of pertinent information! There are steps for checking in, a map of the property, food menus, and information on local activities. It doesn’t hurt that you can enjoy a beautiful view while checking out all Great Pines has to offer!

What Kinds of Rooms are Available at Great Pines Resort?

There is a style of room for every traveler at Great Pines Resort! We stayed in room number 1, which is a Lodge Lake View Room with a King Size Bed. This room includes an access point from inside the lodge via the stairs in the great room and an entrance on the walk-out shared porch. Our room included an incredibly comfortable King size bed, flat-screen television with full Direct TV, and an en suite bathroom. Our room was also equipped with a mini-fridge and Keurig coffee machine. Additionally, there were two Adirondack chairs outside our door on the porch to match the rustic, cabin decor of Great Pines.

Room Styles At Great Pines Resort 
  • Lodge Mountain View King
  • Lodge Mountain View King Suite (Twin Pull Out)
  • Lodge Mountain View King Suite (Queen Pull Out)

All rooms starting with “Lodge” are attached to the main lodge. You can access your room through the stairs in the great room. If your Lodge room has a lake view, you can also access your room from the shared, second-story walk-out porch.

  • Courtside Two Double Beds
  • Courtside Two Double Bed Lakeview
  • Courtside King Jacuzzi Suite
  • Courtside King Jacuzzi Suite Lakeview

Courtside rooms are part of two buildings that run perpendicular to the lake. These buildings include a covered porch with Adirondack chairs which allow you to view the lake.

  • Lake View Two Double Beds
  • Mountain View Two Queen

There is an additional building that runs parallel to Fourth Lake. This building houses Lake View Double rooms and Mountain View Queen rooms.

  • Honeymoon Cabin
  • One Bedroom Cabin
  • Two Bedroom Cabin

Additionally, Great Pines offers three different Cabin Options. Each cabin provides slightly different amenities and views from the next! As a result, cabins are a great option for families traveling to the area or for those looking for more seclusion during their stay. 

Are Pets Allowed at Great Pines Resort?

Great Pines Resort loves animals and even keeps a stash of treats at the front desk for their furry visitors! Up to three dogs of any size can join in on your vacation fun for an additional $50 per pet, per stay. You are required to bring proof of current vaccinations for your stay. 

Pets are not permitted to stay in Lodge rooms. It’s important to mention that pets may not be left unattended in rooms. It’s a wonderful place for people and pets alike!

Does Great Pines have Great views?

Great Pines boasts beautiful views in all directions. You’re in the Adirondacks! All of the views are something special. To the south, you can enjoy views of Fourth Lake, the largest of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Looking North, past route 28, you’ll notice a small ridge line; surrounding the resort, you’ll find beautiful vegetation native to the Adirondacks. 

Dining at Great Pines Resort

The Lodge at Great Pines

Spencer and I have decided that our Lodge Dining Experience was one of the best we’ve ever experienced. We had a 5 P.M. reservation for the Greenhouse, fireside 6-course dinner. It was the most perfect, intimate meal experience overlooking Fourth Lake.

In the summer, this unique dining experience takes place lakeside and is referred to as The Green House. You won’t want to miss out on this private dining experience; it’s the best fine dining you’ll encounter in the area and you will not be disappointed in your decision to treat yourself to the most luxurious dinner Old Forge has to offer.

Great Pines Lean-to Menu

The lean-to is a themed Adirondack eating experience. You can find these Adirondack-style shelters throughout the park; this three-sided shelter can provide a great night’s sleep in the backcountry or a great place to eat lunch on the trail.

The Lean-to at Great Pines is designed to look and feel like this rustic piece of architecture. They feature a casual dining menu influenced by local ingredients and a full-service bar. During our stay I went for a hat trick and ordered the Maple Moscow Mule, Maple Scout Wings, and the Maple Chicken Sandwich… Do we see a common theme here? I loved it all. Spencer ordered the special, Chicken Asiago. This dish was unbelievable! Not only was it a pretty big portion,but it was full of flavor as well. So much so that I made him share… 

The Lean-to is located on the Great Pines Resort property, only a few steps from your ‘front door’. It has an outdoor dining area out on the deck for perfect summer eats (and drinks!). It provides easy access for boaters as it is only a few steps up from the docks. 

Dining in the Old Forge/Inlet Area

There are quite a few options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in the Old Forge and Inlet area. If you’re looking to leave the Resort for a meal here and there, there are definitely some really great options for you! There’s a breakfast option for everyone! Diner-style breakfast, quick coffee fixes, and deli sandwiches are available in both towns. Some of the most sought-after diner spots include Mister’s Bistro and Tony Harper’s in Old Forge; Screamen Eagle, The Caboose, and Seventh Lake House provide great meals in Inlet. 

What is there to do at Great Pines Resort?

Great Pines Resort loves to foster community; they partner with the town of Inlet and other local businesses to create exciting events for locals and visitors alike. During our stay, Starlight Night at Fern Park was scheduled as an evening ski and snowshoeing event. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing would take place from 7-9 PM on the lighted loop at Fern Park. Great Pines, alongside Fourth Lake Wine & Spirits and other local businesses, planned on having booths where they would serve hot cocoa, a warm cocktail, or a tasty snack for visitors to enjoy. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled due to weather. Spencer and I still took a drive over to snowshoe the mile-long lit loop after dinner; it would have been a magical experience had it come together.

Luckily, Great Pines and other local businesses are committed to seeing more events like this take place in the area! They’ve already hosted and co-hosted similar events which have included brunch with llamas at a nearby farm and barn parties with evening trail walks. Follow the Great Pines Facebook page for information on upcoming events; the Inlet, NY Information and Events facebook page would be a great place to find exciting local events as well. 

Fun Activities Near Great Pines Resort

There are so many amazing things you can do as a family in the Old Forge area. Old Forge is known as a four-season destination for those who seek adventure and relaxation. After some time relaxing at Great Pines, you’ll be ready for some action!

Views From the Bald Mountain Fire Tower

Try your hand at the Fulton Chain Trifecta hiking challenge in any season! Hike 3 of the area’s most popular hiking trails and earn a patch for your efforts. This hiking challenge is a great way for individuals, families, and their pets to get in some great exercise while taking in the beautiful scenery from the area’s high points. 

What can I do near Old Forge in the Winter?

If it’s winter fun you’re looking for, take a visit to McCauley Mountain. McCauley is a great place for downhill skiing and snowboarding as well as cross country skiing. The alpine skiing area includes terrain that is suitable for all levels and has a fantastic ski school if you or your littles are looking to learn! This is our favorite ‘local’ mountain seeing as we live about an hour away; we try to make it here every winter for at least one day of riding. It radiates big mountain fun while embracing its cozy, small-town ambiance. 

Sunset runs at McCauley Mountain

Just a few miles down route 28, in Inlet, you can enjoy Fern Park. Fern Park is home to a number of recreational options for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels. The cross country ski, mountain biking, and hiking trails at Fern Park are always free; there is even a 1-mile lit loop and sledding hill open until 10PM all winter long. Additionally, there’s an ice skating rink at Fern Park with a warming hut and restrooms. 

The Trails at Fern Park

What’s the Best Summer Activity in Old Forge, New York?

In the summer month’s, Old Forge is known for having the largest water park in the state of New York! It’s a true family fun location that improves every year. I am a teacher and our Middle School does an end-of-the-year trip to Enchanted Forest Water Safari every June. It is a really awesome day for all; the only people having more fun than the kids are the chaperones! It is truly a family-friendly gem nestled into the lower Adirondack Mountains. 

Believe it or not, the list of family fun spots continues! There are over 15 exciting activities you can enjoy with your family near Great Pines Resort. 

Great Pines Resort is A Great Stay!

We can’t wait to return in the warmer months! Great Pines resort is absolutely beautiful in winter; I can’t even imagine how stunning it would be in summer and fall. The grounds are beautiful, the staff is friendly, and the food is made with love! There’s nothing I would change about our stay at Great Pines Resort.

Top 10 Beautiful Hikes in Old Forge

Old Forge, and the neighboring town of Inlet, is a four-season destination for many families. Although there are a plethora of family-friendly activities to be had in the area, there’s one that doesn’t cost any money and will provide you with a lifetime of memories. There are so many beautiful hikes in Old Forge it can be tough to choose just one… but let me help you try and narrow it down!

Hikes in Old Forge will have you THIS happy

If you’re new to hiking, it’s important to note that preparedness is a necessity! Check out my hiking 101 guide for everything you need to know to get started. Follow the guide for information that will help to keep you safe on your adventures while having a positive impact on the wild spaces you’re exploring.

Where Can I Hike in Old Forge

Bald Mountain

  • 2 miles
  • Rondaxe Rd, Old Forge

One of the most popular hikes in Old Forge, and for good reason! Bald Mountain is home to Rondaxe fire tower and sees as many as 15,000 visitors a year. It is a beautiful, fairly easy hike to a summit boasting beautiful views of first and second lake. The trail has one steep section (microspikes & snowshoes are necessary for winter) and will have you traversing some bare rock. Although it is an easier trail, I wouldn’t recommend this trail for families with very young, hiking children; the bare rock sections make me nervous with little ones. 

Due to its popularity, you’re likely to find trash on the summit of Bald Mountain. Do your part! Pack your trash out with you (this includes toilet paper) and if at all possible, pack out the trash others have left behind. Leave it better than you found it!

How Long Will it Take me to Hike Bald Mountain?

  • Experienced Hiker: If you’re an experienced hiker that moves at a decent pace, it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to reach the summit.
  • Family with Young Children: Although Bald isn’t technical, it does have a few steeper sections and some questionable rocky footing. To reach the summit of Bald Mountain, it may take a family with young children 40-45 minutes.
One of the Best Fire Tower hikes in Old Forge

Black Bear Mountain

  • 4.7 mile loop
  • Route 28, Inlet

This gorgeous trail can make for an awesome day in the mountains! Hit it as a loop (blue and yellow trail markers) for 4.7 miles or an out and back (blue trail only) if you’re looking for a shorter distance. The trail is steady and provides options for hikers of different skill and endurance levels. The blue trail to the summit is slightly shorter and steeper than the yellow trail. There is a fun little rock scramble just before the summit on the blue trail as well.

The summit is spacious, providing room for all parties. It’s also an awesome space to explore! There are some absolutely gorgeous views from the summit of Black Bear. If at all possible, get up there for sunrise on the northeast side of the mountain and you will not be disappointed. 

The most beautiful little cloud inversion; one of the best sunrise hikes in Old Forge

How Long Will it Take me to Hike Black Bear Mountain?

  • Experienced Hiker: If you’re an experienced hiker that moves at a decent pace, it may take you between 60 and 75 minutes to reach the summit. If you’re incredibly speedy you can make it to the summit in a little over 45 minutes if you’re hauling.
  • Family with Young Children: Black Bear isn’t technical and consists of a mostly steady uphill. The blue trail does have a steep section that includes rock scrambles, whereas the yellow trail is less steep and a tad longer. I would suggest a family with small children allot for 1. 5 to 2 hours to reach the summit.

Cathedral Pines

  • .4 miles
  • Route 28, Inlet

A short little jaunt in the woods to a viewpoint of seventh lake. This trail is home to some beautiful, impressive-sized pine trees. It also houses a monument dedicated to 2LT. Malcolm Blue. 

Photo Credit: https://jazzerstenhdr.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/img_6649_upcathedralsps.jpg

How Long Will it Take me to Hike the Cathedral Pines Trail?

  • Experienced Hiker: This trail is pretty simple… you’ll be back to your car in about 30 minutes.
  • Family with Young Children: This is a great trail for the family to explore! To simply head out and back shouldn’t take you longer than 45 minutes.

Gull Lake Trail

  • 1 mile
  • Route 28, Old Forge

A great trail for all skill levels! This hike gains a mere 100 feet of elevation over the course of its mile-long trek to the lake. This short, but scenic walk will bring you to a beautiful view of Gull Lake. As one of the shorter hikes in Old Forge, I would suggest this trail for beginners and those hiking with young children.

How Long Will it Take me to Hike the Gull Lake Trail?

  • Experienced Hiker: This trail is pretty simple… you’ll be back to your car in about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how long you take in the views for.
  • Family with Young Children: This is another great trail for the family! Since it doesn’t gain too much elevation, it’s an easy 2 miles round trip for the kiddos. I would say you could be back at your vehicle in an hour and a half or less.

Moss Lake Loop

  • 2.5 miles
  • Big Moose Road, Eagle Bay

This pleasant hike around Moss Lake is a wonderful way to get outside for the whole family. It is definitely one of the best loop hikes in Old Forge. This trail is truly suitable for all skill levels. There are a number of primitive camping sites along the backside of this trail as well a picnicking area. The campsites are marked on the board at the start of the trail – it’s a convenient way to see if the site you’re looking to backpack into it available or not.

How Long Will it Take me to Hike the Moss Lake Loop?

  • Experienced Hiker: The Moss Lake Loop will be a walk in the park for an experienced hiker. It took me about an hour to hike the full loop.
  • Family with Young Children: This is an awesome trail for families for a few reasons. There are some ups and downs, but nothing major. It’s a great opportunity to have your little ones hiking a longer, but simpler distance. Additionally, there are benches and picnic tables throughout the hike for when you need a rest. This hike would realistically take your family an hour and a half to two hours depending on how much rest you take along the way!

Nicks Lake Loop

  • 6.2 miles
  • Bisby Rd., Old Forge

A beautiful hike, bike, or ski through the Black River Wild Forest and around Nicks Lake. Although on the somewhat longer side, this hike features easy terrain and really cool features such as bridges and beaches. The hike will lead you to the beach at Nick’s Lake Campground; trail markers can get a little spotty around this point but you should be able to find the trail again! If not, walking, riding, or skiing the road for the final 1.5 miles is always an option.

How Long Will it Take me to Hike the Nicks Lake Loop?

  • Experienced Hiker: This trail isn’t difficult, however, it is on the longer side of things. This hike will likely take you around 3 hours to complete.
  • Family with Young Children: Although the Nicks Lake Loop isn’t technical or steep it is long. I would only suggest this trail for a family with young children who are used to hiking. With young children who are conditioned hikers, needing minimal rest, this trail would take you between 4 and 4.6 hours to complete.

Remsen Falls

  • 6.9 miles
  • McKeever Rd., Forestport

This is a moderately trafficked 6.9-mile trail about 15 miles south of Old Forge. This trail is mostly an old railroad turned gravel road and is best used from April through September; if you do hike this trail during hunting season, it’s essential you wear bright colors. This is state land and great hunting grounds.

A popular way to reach this trail is to hike or bike on the old railroad gravel road located to the left at the McKeever Parking Area. You can also drive your vehicle along Wolf Lake Landing Road, which is to the right of the large McKeever parking area. Drive this road up to the next parking area. This will cut a lot of walking from your hike. From this point, take the blue marked Remsen Falls Trail to your destination and enjoy!

How Long Will it Take me to Hike to Remsen Falls?

  • Experienced Hiker: This depends largely on where you’re starting your hike. If you’ll be hiking the full 6.9 miles, this will likely take you three and a half hours round trip.
  • Family with Young Children: I wouldn’t suggest this trail for families with young children unless you park at the second parking area and/or bike to the falls. It’s important to note that although the terrain isn’t technical, I would only bring children who are quite comfortable on a bicycle if that’s how you decide to tackle the mileage!

Rocky Mountain

  • 1 mile
  • Route 28, Inlet

A great first summit for a family! (and one of my personal favorite hikes in Old Forge). Another really popular hike in the Old Forge area, at only 1-mile round trip this is a very doable trail for most. Its short, .5-mile ascent, means you’re gaining over 400 feet of elevation in a short amount of time. Luckily, this elevation gain is steady and never too steep or technical. The summit provides gorgeous views of 4th lake and the winding road below. It is beautiful any time of year (however, winter preparation means carrying and having microspikes and snowshoes)!

How Long Will it Take me to Hike Rocky Mountain?

  • Experienced Hiker: You will find yourself at the summit in 20 minutes or less!
  • Family with Young Children: This is a great mountain for families! The one-mile ascent does gain a bit of elevation, but isn’t ever overly steep and is the perfect challenge for the kids. With young, inexperienced children it would likely take you 30 – 45 minutes to reach the summit.
Rocky Mountain in Winter


Sis & Bubb Lake

  • 1.8 miles
  • Route 28, Inlet

This is a heavily trafficked little out and back just outside of Inlet. It’s relatively flat and leads to two beautiful lakeside views. This trail has a spur trail to a vista view if you’re looking for a little bit of elevation gain. Additionally, this trail continues on past the lakes for 1.2 miles to meet up with the Moss Lake Trail. 

How Long Will it Take me to Hike to Sis & Bubb Lake?

  • Experienced Hiker: You’ll likely find yourself at Sis Lake in 15-20 minutes.
  • Family with Young Children: This is another awesome trail for families as the only real elevation gain occurs in the first quarter-mile of the hike. It would likely take you 30-45 minutes to reach Sis Lake.

Woodhull Mountain

  • 14.4 miles
  • McKeever Rd., Forestport

The Woodhull Mountain Trail begins at the McKeever Road trailhead. This is one of the longest hikes in Old Forge, making it a less popular hike in the area; luckily, that often means some solitude. Due to its length, a popular way to reach the summit is to bike on the old railroad gravel road located on the left at the large McKeever Parking Area. After about 5 miles of biking, you’ll come to a point where biking is no longer feasible. At that point, you can tie up your mountain bike before hiking the rest of the mountain. 

Similar to The Remsen Falls trail, you can also drive your vehicle along the Wolf Lake Landing Road on the right of the large McKeever parking area. This road leads up to another parking area. Starting here cuts a lot of mileage off your hike, however, it’s still at least a 9+ mile round trip hike. From this parking area, riding your bike is still an option until you reach the area where the trail becomes thin and hiking is your best option. 

How Long Will it Take me to Hike Woodhull Mountain?

  • Experienced Hiker: It’s hard to tell! It largely depends on where you park and how you approach the trail. We parked at the first parking lot and rode our bikes for the first 5 miles. Even on two wheels, this hike took us a few hours to complete.
  • Family with Young Children: I would not suggest this hike for families with young children.

BONUS: Old Forge Hiking Challenge

If you hike Rocky, Black Bear, and Bald Mountain during your time in Old Forge, you’ve completed the Fulton Chain Trifecta. Congratulations! This is a great beginner hiking challenge that’s perfect for getting a family into the hiking scene. 

There’s More to Do than Hiking in Old Forge

Think about making Old Forge into your next staycation location! There are a number of great restaurants, awesome accommodations, and endless fun opportunities no matter what time of year you are visiting. Take the family for a fun-filled day at Enchanted Forest Water Safari or up the thrills and hit the mountain for some downhill mountain biking, skiing, or snowboarding! 

Top 20 Things to Do in Old Forge

Old Forge makes for a wonderful Adirondack Base Camp for visitors looking to explore the central Adirondack region. Whether you’re looking for adventure or serenity, you will find it here in the hamlet of Old Forge. Come explore Old Forge for a weekend getaway or a day trip and leave feeling refreshed from that clean mountain air.

Hiking in Inlet, a quick .5 mile jaunt to this view!

What is There to do in Old Forge?

Quite a bit! We’ve gone ahead and provided you with the season(s) each activity is available to you and the price range per person participating. There is something for everyone of any age here in Old Forge, New York!

1. Adirondack Scenic Railroad

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Explore the beautiful scenery of the Adirondacks with a relaxing train ride. From the Thendara station, you can schedule a number of different riding experiences. Enjoy a scenic train ride through the Adirondack Mountains or schedule a themed experience. Many rides correspond with the seasons: there is a Haunted History train ride, Pumpkin train ride, Santa themed ride, and a Princess & Superhero ride.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is ran largely by volunteers. The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society has been operated and maintained by volunteers since 1992. Together these volunteers contribute over 15,000 hours annually. These hours consist of ticketing and car-hosting to operating the fleet. These volunteers allow this nonprofit to operate at an affordable price for those seeking a ride! 

2. Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding

  • Winter Fun
  • $$

McCauley Mountain, my favorite ski spot in New York! Small town vibes with big mountain energy. McCauley Mountain is a wonderful place to learn to ski or snowboard. It’s also a great location to hone your skills and test your limits. 

McCauley has a vertical drop of 633 feet with 23 runs, 1 terrain park, a double chair lift, and 2 T-bars. The cozy lodge provides shelter from the cold, bar food, beverages, and a tuning shop! It’s a beautiful mountain that is rarely busy and can provide a full day of family fun.

Last run of the day…

3. Boating

  • Summer Fun
  • $$$$

Boating on the Fulton Chain of Lakes is a summertime favorite for local and visiting families. For waterway access, boating safety, rules and expectations you can look here.  Rivett’s Marina and Palmer Point will rent out pontoon boats and fishing boats for hourly, half-day, and full-day excursions. If it’s jet skis you’re looking for, Old Forge Sport Tours is your best bet!

4. Calypso’s Cove

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Calypso’s Cove, just off of Enchanted Forest Water Safari, is an awesome family fun park in Old Forge. Spend the day, or the afternoon, playing arcade games, rock climbing, racing go-karts, and more. 

This park operates on a ticket system. Each attraction is worth a certain number of tickets, kind of like a carnival. This makes it easy and affordable for families to come to Calypso’s Cove with just one or two activities in mind. Additionally, all Enchanted Forest Water Safari properties, including Calypso’s Cove offer a Military Discount with an active or retired ID.

5. Cross Country Skiing

  • Winter Fun
  • $

You can head on over to McCauley Mountain for miles of cross country ski trails. For $5 you can enjoy miles of intermediate and beginner trails. Stop by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company for your XC Ski rentals! This is a great alternative to downhill skiing that doubles as a phenomenal workout. Enjoy the crisp, peaceful winter woods on a pair of cross country skis. 

6. Enchanted Forest Water Safari

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Enchanted Forest Water Safari, where the fun never stops. New York’s largest water theme park can provide a full weekends worth of fun. With a combination of water and amusement rides, the kids (and adults) will never be bored. 

Water Safari recently ungraded a number of awesome water slides, providing endless summer thrills. The newest (in 2020) is a 4-lane, 293-foot mat slide racer names the Serengeti Stampede. Whether you’re looking for an exciting ride or the calming, restful lazy river, Water Safari has it all! 

7. Fulton Chain Brewery

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

Fulton Chain Brewery is a great stop during your Old Forge stay! Whether you’re stopping in for a post-hike, bike, ride, or paddle brew, you won’t be disappointed. At any given time there are up to 10 brews on tap sourced from local ingredients for a true Adirondack experience.

Nothin’ like a Good Beer After A Long Day on the Mountain

8. Hiking

  • 4-Season Fun
  • FREE

Hiking can be 4-season, free activity for the whole family. Once you have the proper gear, you’re set for life. Old Forge is home to a number of beautiful trails with both lake and summit viewpoints. Here’s a list of 10 beautiful hikes in the Old Forge area; you can plan to hike the Fulton Chain Trifecta and earn a patch as well!

If you’re new to hiking, It’s important that you’re properly prepared. This includes carrying the 10-essentials, no matter how short or simple the trail may seem. Additionally, it is very important that you practice the seven leave no trace principles. This is not only for your safety but also for the longevity of the outdoors.

The pure joy of a good hike!

9. Paddling

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$

There are plenty of places to slip that Kayak in the water for a good paddle! If you own your own Kayak, this activity is free and you have plenty of lakes, rivers, and ponds to choose from. If you are new to Kayaking or don’t own one, there are plenty of places where you can rent. 

For Kayak rentals in Old Forge, I would turn to Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. or Tickner’s Canoes. Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. offers both rentals and trips! For $40-$50, you will receive a boat, paddles, PDFs, and a shuttle upstream. At the start of each trip, you will learn the basics of paddling before being sent on your way. If you have your own boat, but still need a life, you can even shuttle your own boat upstream for a small fee.

10. Mountain Biking

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$

McCauley Mountain acts as a mountain biking haven in the summer months. With 20 different trails, servicing riders of all skill levels, and more trails being developed, McCauley is a great place to explore on two wheels. 

McCauley has both single and double track trails. There are single tracks that are narrow, rocky, and technical and machine-built flow trails with large berms, rollers, and jumps. Because this is an alpine ski area in the winter, there are also wider multi-use trails that accommodate cross country and alpine skiers during the winter months. Mountainman Outdoor Supply Co. has mountain biking rentals for you to utilize if needed!

11. Mini Golf

  • Summer Fun
  • $

Head on down to Nutty Putt Miniature Golf for 18 holes! Nutty Putty opens on weekends starting in April and opens for the season mid-June. Operating hours are from 9:30 AM to 10/11 PM (ish). It will cost you $7.50 (in the 2021 season) for 18 holes of mini-golf. Putt into the clown’s nose on your last hole to win a free round of golf!

Additionally, Nutty Putty’s is also an ice cream bar! Enjoy some of the best ice cream in Old Forge after your round of golf.

12. Moose River Farm

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

Head over to Moose River Farm to experience animals in the Adirondacks. Four-season llama treks through the Moose River Plains are an Old Forge Hit. Llama treks and farm tours last 45 minutes each; they also offer a llama mini-trek for young children along with a farm tour for a discounted price. These tours generally fill up on summer weekends up to two weeks in advance so plan accordingly!

13. Old Forge Lake Cruise

  • Summer Fun
  • $

Take a historic steamboat tour of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Enjoy the fresh air and clean water as you cruise around the first four lakes of the Fulton Chain. Each boat features a snack bar, a restroom, and an upper and lower deck. Take two hours to explore the ever-changing scenery of the Adirondacks! 

14. Rail Bike Adventures

  • Summer Fun
  • $$

Pedal your rail bike with three other friends/family members from Thendara station to Carter station. During this 2 hour excursion, you’ll experience a combination of slight grades and level sections of track. Railbike tickets can be reserved starting in March for the summer season. A 4-person rail bike costs $147 and is suitable for explorers of all ages.

15. Shop Downtown

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $-$$$$

There a number of inviting shops in downtown Old Forge but there is one that should be at the top of every visitor’s list. You could get lost in the Historic Old Forge Hardware Store! This Hardware store is unlike any other and has been servicing locals and visitors alike for over 100 years. 

Other downtown shops include souvenir village, Life in the ADK, and rainbow zen. These shops cover all the bases. Clothes, gifts, jewelry, and artwork are available for purchase on Main Street in Old Forge.

16. Snowmobiling

  • Winter Fun
  • $$$$

Old Forge is known for snowmobiling in the winter months! Although this is an expensive hobby to get into, it’s a ton of fun! You can haul your own snowmobile up to the Old Forge area or you can rent them for the day once you’re here! RPM Snowmobile Rentals, ADK Snowmobile Outfitters, and Old Forge Sport Rentals all offer daily single and double seater rentals. 

Old Forge loves to celebrate snowmobilers! The Snodeo weekend is the place to be each December for snowmobile lovers of all ages.

17. Strand Theater

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

This 1920’s theater will bring you back in time for the evening. This truly unique experience is sure to be a highlight of your trip. It might also be one of the cheapest movie nights you ever have! A matinee will cost you $6.00 and evening shows will cost you $7.00. No matter what time of day, seniors and children cost $6.00. The Strand Theater also provides private shows for small groups. This hidden Adirondack Gem is certainly one you need to check out while you’re in town!

18. Swimming

  • Summer Fun
  • $

Make your own swimming hole by hiking to one of the areas beautiful backcountry lakes or plan a day at the public beach! Take a free dip at Old Forge public beach with the safety of a certified crew of lifeguards. Nick’s Lake provides another great opportunity for supervised swimming as well! This campground is tucked into the woods just minutes from McCauley mountain; an overnight here will cost you $22.

19. The View

  • 4-Season Fun
  • $

If you’re looking for the premier art experience in the Adirondacks, the View will deliver. Check the site for gallery hours. The View offers exhibitions, performances, and various art classes. It’s definitely worth checking out if you appreciate the arts. With over 40,000 annual visitors, the View is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

20. White Water Rafting

  • 3-Season Fun
  • $$$$

If you’ve never been white water rafting, you absolutely have to go! If you’re looking for hard core white water rafting, check out ARO Adventures on the Moose River in Old Forge. These trips are only offered during the month of April and will end with a BBQ!

Unfortunately, the only truly local white water experience is pretty intense. If you’re willing to travel a bit away from Old Forge, there are more mellow rapids for you to enjoy with your family. Take a day trip and experience a different area of the Adirondack Park while having a ton of fun on the river!

Visit Old Forge

Old Forge is the entry-way to the Adirondacks for many visitors! It’s a beautiful town to experience in any season and makes for a great, year-round family destination. If you’re interested in visiting Old Forge but don’t know how to start planning, fill out my Travel Itinerary Form to have one created just for you!

15 Free Adirondack Campsites

Some of the Best Adirondack Camping is Free

Although these free Adirondack campsites might not cost you any money, they don’t come without a price. These sites will cost you your diligence; please be sure to leave no trace and, as always, drive away from these sites leaving them better than you found them. Personally, I like to collect all of the garbage that may have been left behind and clean up the fire pit if applicable before I head out at the end of my stay. Knowing the 7 Leave No Trace Principles is the key to being a good outdoors man or woman.

Complete this free Leave No Trace Online Awareness Course before heading out there!

There are hundreds of free campsites in the Adirondacks like this one!

Free Campsites in the Adirondacks

Here we have a list of 15 drive up, primitive campsites in the Adirondack Park that won’t cost you any money. Many of these sites will allow you to stay for up to 3 nights with no questions asked. Anything between 3 and 14 days requires a permit. Often, permits are free. They’re simply required for a long-term stay. Please take care of these sites and be willing to share with others if there is enough room!

Chapel Pond, Keene Valley NY

– GPS: 44.142588, -73.750566
– Approximately 6 sites

These free campsites in the Adirondacks can be found just off route 73 shortly after you pass Chapel Pond (coming from the East/ The Northway), It’s a tricky turn off that I’ve missed even after staying there a few times. Luckily, if you miss it coming from Keene Valley, you’ll be able to turn around at the Chapel Pond parking lot. 

Chapel Pond is great for a quick overnight stay, the road noise is loud, and this spot tends to be quite crowded. For a quick stay, it provides a legal place to sleep in close proximity to many trail heads in the Keene Valley region. Chapel Pond is a great spot to clean or cool off as well.

Coreys Road Sites, Tupper Lake, NY

– GPS: 44.19338, -73.95403
– Approximately 6 sites

The dirt road connecting the paved section of Coreys Road off of Route 30 to the Seward range parking lot. It’s tucked away back behind Axon Landing in a pretty remote drive-in spot!

The sites are quaint and very primitive. Some are larger and nicer than others; the first site past Stony Creek is most definitely my favorite! No cell-service here and direct access to only a few trails, but a lot of peace and quiet.

Darcy Clearing, Fort Ann NY

-GPS: 43.531267, -73.566105
– 6-15 sites

There are 12 campsites with fire rings and some with outhouses in this area. There are 5 sites on Shelving Rock Road which is a gravel road with easy car access. Additionally, 7 more primitive sites lie between the gate and the Sleeping Beauty (summer) trailhead. Darcy Clearing road requires a higher clearance vehicle for successful passage. This area is best for passenger vehicle and tent camping. 

The sites are all nicely wooded and provide access to local trail heads such as Sleeping Beauty, Shelving Rock Falls, and Buck Mountain, as well as Lake George. Unfortunately, this makes this space quite busy with day hikers as well as overnight campers. This is a great spot to stay if you’re trying to knock out some Lake George 12ster!

Essex Chain of Lakes, Newcomb NY

– GPS: 43.901376, -74.278245
– Approximately 6 sites

This very remote spot will have you driving quite a ways down Cornell Rd off of Route 28. When you get to Woodys road make a right. This will bring you to a number of unnamed Adirondack Park Preserve roads. 

These sites are incredibly remote, therefore making them very primitive. They’re best for tent camping, although a small camper would fit in the parking areas. If you’re looking for peace and relaxation, these are great sites for you!

Do you prefer Tenting or Hammocking!

Hope Falls Roadside Campsites, Northville NY

– GPS: 43.30407, -74.175423
– 3-5 sites

Hope Falls road is a seasonal use road located between Northville and Wells. The maximum RV length is 15 feet, however, sites are intended for tent camping. 

They’re nothing fancy, however, they have everything you need. Sites are off the road a bit with a fire pit and access to Stoney Creek. All sites are designated by their yellow “camp here” discs.

Horseshoe Lake, Tupper Lake, NY

– GPS: 44.129496, -74.627604
– 11 sites

Off of route 30 just before South Bay of Tupper Lake lies route 421. About 6 miles from route 30 you’ll find a dirt road where 6 lake-side campsites can be found. Five additional sites are littered throughout Otter Brook road. 

This spot is away from traffic and in the beautiful Horseshoe Lake Wildforest area. Horseshoe lake is perfect for fishing and paddling; if you’re looking to hike there are a few trail heads within 15 minutes of these sites. Check out the Tupper Lake Triad for these hikes.

Jones Pond, Paul Smiths, NY

– GPS: 44.455758, -74.186797
– 5 sites

Five sites with beautiful, filtered views of Jones Pond await! There is an outhouse that is in pretty good shape and each campsite has a fire pit. The campsites are all connected by a lovely little trail that runs alongside the lake; it’s my favorite place to be on a crisp, fall Adirondack morning. 

Jones pond is my all time favorite campsite of the Adirondacks. I *almost* didn’t share it with y’all because I would be devastated if it was ruined – so please do your part and LNT – but that wouldn’t be fair. Nature is NOT mine to divvy out! However, it is the duty of all who enjoy it to advocate for its protection.

The view from Jones Pond Campsite 3

Mason Lake, Speculator NY

GPS: 43.599992, -74.422869
– 7-8 sites

Just off Route 30, on Jessup River Road, you’ll find a dirt road that is home to 7-8 free Adirondack campsites. The very first spot is reserved for day use only. It has a picnic table and a boat launch. 

The rest of the sites are quaint and close to the lake. You can hear the road from these sites, however, they provide great paddling and fishing access. You’re also in close proximity to a number of local hikes. Snowy Mountain and OK Slip Falls are relatively close by and beautiful!

McKeever Road Sites, Old Forge, NY

– GPS: 43.609103, -75.076804
– Approximately 5 sites

An absolutely gorgeous spot just 15 minutes south of Old Forge. Five to ten campsites can be found off of the long, narrow, well-kept gravel road. The gravel road is about 1 mile off of Route 28; with two different roads that fork off from the main parking area. You’re going to want to take Wolf Lake Landing Road to find your campsites!

This a great, remote spot with a lot of different recreational opportunities. The Moose River and Woodhull Lake are available for paddling, fishing, and swimming as well. There’s also a beautiful trail to the Woodhull Fire Tower nearby as well.

The Wooded Trails of the McKeever Road Sites

Moose River Plains, Inlet NY

– GPS: 43.671379, -74.708237
– 100+ sites

Within 3500 acres you can find over 100 free, primitive campsites. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road is a seasonal access road extending 23 miles through the Moose River Plains. The road stretched from the Limekiln Gate in the west, near the community of Inlet, to the Wakely Dam Gate at the end of the Cedar River Road in the east which lies near the community of Indian Lake.

This is an absolutely beautiful, remote spot with endless possibilities. The Moose River Plains region is arguable one of the most beautiful free Adirondack campsites you can find. There are approximately 130 miles of maintained trails as well as more than 65 ponds and lakes. It’s an absolutely stunning spot to camp in summer and fall! It would be an equally beautiful place to camp in the winter if you had a snowmobile to access the sites. 

A Bird’s Eye View of the Free Moose River Plains Campsite

Northwood Club Road, Minerva, NY

– GPS: 43.818551, -74.060555
– Approximately 8 sites

Northwood Club Road is open from Mid-May through December. The campsites can be found on a dirt road about 5 miles from pavement. There are a cluster of 4-5 sites right over the Boreas River, however, if you continue further down the road you will have additional sites to consider. If you go far enough, you’ll make your way to the Huntly Pond campsites as well.

This is a peaceful, quiet spot on the water. Most sites come equipped with a fire pit – as always, please be mindful of your flames! There are local hiking trails nearby as well: Moxham Mountain, Vanderwhacker Fire Tower, and the Boreas Loop trail would be great day trip options!

Piseco-Powley Road Campsites, Piseco, NY

– GPS: 43.309818, -74.654435
– 19 sites

This 20 mile-long primitive road is home to approximately 18 primitive free Adirondack campsites and a number of trails. The road stretches from Stratford to Arietta, crossing the East Canada Creek at its southern terminus.

This road cuts through the Ferris Lake Wilderness, providing access to remote sections of the forest. Over 100 miles of hiking and multiple-use trails can be found here. The sites are primitive, however, they’re remote and take you away from it all!

A Quick 10-Minute Drive from This Local Trail!

Route 8 Campsites, Johnsburg, NY

– GPS: 43.53038, -74.144669
– Approximately 15-20 sites

Route 8 is a main road in the Adirondacks, which means it is open year round! There are about 20 different primitive campsites along the road here between Wells and Bakers Mills. The sites are not obviously marked from the road, it will be up to you to find the yellow campsite disc.

Route 8 is a beautiful stretch of road! Route 8 runs alongside the East Branch of the Sacandaga River and its tributaries. Along this route you’re fairly close to Gore Mountain, Auger Falls, and Crane Mountain for day trip activities.

South Meadow, Lake Placid, NY

– GPS: 44.19338, -73.95403
– Approximately 10 sites

This long dirt road begins about a mile out from the ADK Loj parking lot. This road is the trailhead for the old Mount Van Hoevenberg trail as well as the South Meadow Gate with access to the High Peaks Region. These sites are all marked with campsite markers with space for a single car or two to park next to the site. 

This is an awesome place to set up camp if you plan to travel into the High Peaks Wilderness from the Loj or the South Meadow Gate. Keep in mind that this road is not maintained and all campsites are first come first served. These free Adirondack campsites are very popular – I would have a back up plan if you’re arriving on a weekend.

The Loj Road is a Great Place to Catch a Sunset

West River Campsites, Wells, NY

– GPS: 43.366046, -74.351588
– 13 sites

Towards the end of West River Road in Wells, you’ll find 13 designated campsites. These free Adirondack campsites can accommodate tent sleepers or RVs. There is no cell service here, however, you can usually acquire some in town.

The sites are primitive but many have outhouses that are in decent shape. This is a beautiful spot alongside the river and is in close proximity to a few local hikes. The Auger Falls trail and Pine Orchard trail are among the most visited in the area!

Free Adirondack Campsites in the Backcountry

There are free, primitive sites throughout the Adirondack Park. Many of them require a paddle or hike to get too – It’s important that you’re prepared to spend a night in the wilderness when planning on staying at one of these sites. Also, keep in mind that you could hike 3-8 miles in to a site to find it occupied. It’s always important to have a back up plan. As always, leave no trace; for your safety, the longevity of the forest, and the safety of our wildlife it is imperative that you educate yourself on the 7 LNT Principles.

Sometimes you can Snag a Lean-to in the Backcountry

Free Camping Websites

In the event that you’re ever looking for free camping outside of the Adirondack Park, I thought it might be helpful to provide you with some resources. These sources can help you to find a free campsite anywhere in the United States and Canada. 



The Perfect ADK Campsite

Let’s get out there and enjoy the beautiful wilderness that has been provided for us!

It is imperative that you educate yourself on proper outdoor etiquette and use your voice to advocate for the land you enjoy spending your time on.

Adirondack Park FAQ

“The Adirondacks” Useful Information

Have you heard of the Adirondacks? Wondering what the hype is? WELL… after one date you’ll be sold on its good looks and what it brings to the table. The beautiful Adirondacks of Northern New York features an overwhelmingly large number of friendly communities, attractions, mountains, lakes, rivers, luscious valleys, and steep cliffs. It pretty much goes without saying that the Adirondack Park is an outdoor enthusiasts dream come true.

Spanning more than six million acres, the Adirondack Mountains are the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 of the United States. It’s huge; the Adirondack Park is ⅕ of the state. It’s equal in size to New York’s neighbor, Vermont, and is nearly three times the size of Yellowstone National Park! Each distinct region within the park offers unique recreational opportunities; discover an area as diverse in geography as it is in activities and events when you visit the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Park Map

Frequently Asked Questions

As a state, New York is seriously underrated and the Adirondack Park plays a huge role in all the many landscapes and experiences that New York has to offer. This is the place for nearly endless Adirondack information based on personal experience… check out the following questions:

Where is the Adirondack Park located?

The Adirondack Park is a vast Wilderness located in Northern New York. Its southernmost boundary is about 4 hours north of New York City and its northernmost boundary is 2 hours south of Montreal. At 9,375 square miles, it would take you days to explore every road! 

The Adirondack Park and COVID-19

Is the Adirondack Park open during COVID-19?

The Adirondack Park is home to many small, remote towns. Many of these towns are at least an hour’s drive from a Hospital; it is incredibly important that you follow all COVID-19 precautions and procedures when visiting the area. For many of these Adirondack towns, tourism is important for the local economy, however, not at the expense of their health and well being.

Please make sure you do not travel to any Adirondack Towns during COVID-19 if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, are currently COVID-19 positive, or are currently quarantined. Wearing a mask when out in public, and yes this includes on the trails, is also very important. When it comes to hiking or skiing/snowboarding it is important that you have a mask or gaiter at the ready for when you are in close proximity to other people and cannot social distance. The spaces may include, but are not limited to, passing others on trail, sitting in a gondola or waiting in line for the ski lift, at the trailhead, and hanging out on a summit. Please have a face covering available to you at all ties. 

The Adirondacks

What does Adirondack mean?

I’m glad you asked. The Adirondack region has a lot of history… and it isn’t all ‘good media’. Many claim the word ‘Adirondack’ was a derogatory term, meaning ‘bark eaters’, given to the Algonquin tribe by the neighboring Mohawk. This was intended to describe the original inhabitants of the region who struggled to provide adequate fish and game, therefore subsisting on bark. It’s likely that the term was used to describe the most prominent natural creature of the region, the beaver. 

Native History of the Adirondacks is quite complex! The Adirondack region has always been an indigenous homeland for Iroquois and Algonquian people. It was a location of exchange for many tribes. There is evidence that the region was regularly traveled by people of the Algonquian, Abenaki, Mahican and Iroquois nations. The current Adirondack Park was a spiritual location which was also used for hunting, trapping and fishing. 

Adirondack Roads…

How Do I Get to the Adirondacks?

Generally speaking, most people drive themselves to and through the Adirondack Park. If you’re traveling from out of state, I would suggest flying into Albany, Syracuse, or Plattsburgh International Airport. There are a few bus lines that can take you to some major towns in the ADK, however, I would suggest renting a car and driving on your own! 

Where do I Enter the Park and How Much Does it Cost?

Unlike many other state and national parks, the Adirondack Park does not have a set entrance and there is no fee to enter. You will not find a toll booth, fee collector, or long line to enter the ADK Park. What you will find is parking and camping fees at certain locations. The Adirondack Park is massive and houses many communities within its borders; there are numerous roads that lead into and out of the Adirondack Park. 

Friends Should Visit the Adirondack Park to Make Great Memories!

Who Should Travel to the Adirondacks?

The Adirondack Park has a myriad of options for travelers of all kinds, however, I would suggest adventurous individuals who love the outdoors are most likely to enjoy their Adirondack experience. If you like to hike, camp, backpack, paddle, climb, or ski/snowboard, you will love the Adirondack Park.

There are endless recreational opportunities in the ADK, however, there are also beautiful hotels, delicious restaurants, local micro-breweries, museums, and other tourist attractions in the park. Lake Placid is home to the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, Saratoga Springs is home to the famous race track, and Lake George & Ticonderoga played an influential role in the Revolutionary war; these four famous Adirondack towns pull tens of thousands of travellers each year. 

Camping in the Adirondack Park

Where Should I Stay in the Adirondacks?

This depends largely on what you’re looking to get out of your stay. There are 102 towns in the Adirondack Park, however, only a handful of those towns are designed with tourism in mind. Regardless of tourism, there are a number of charming towns tucked away in these beautiful mountains. 

Lake Placid, Lake George, and Saratoga Springs are among the most popular Adirondack destinations. Many of these popular spots draw crowds, and for good reason! If you’re looking to experience one of these towns but don’t want to pay tourist prices, I suggest Saranac Lake, Schroon Lake, and Northville. Each of these small Adirondack towns will bring you just close enough to these hot spots while still maintaining that backcountry vibe.

Other beautiful, more-than-mentionable Adirondack towns include Keene, Long Lake, Old Forge, and Tupper Lake. A low-key, outdoor activity-filled family vacation to any one of these towns will leave you refreshed and wishing you didn’t have to leave. 

Indian Head Through the Seasons

When is the Best Time to Visit the Adirondacks?

The answer to this question really depends on what you’re looking to do during your stay! The busiest and most aesthetically pleasing time of year is definitely Autumn. The fall foliage in the ADK is to die for and you can experience gorgeous views from just about anywhere.

The summer months are popular for those who like to spend time on the water and in the woods. The summer provides beautiful weather for exploring local towns, camping and backpacking, and paddling of all sorts. Be sure to pack your sun protection and bug spray if you’re going to be in town from late May until September!

If you’re a big downhill skier or snowboarding enthusiast, the winter months are when you’re going to want to explore the ADK! Late December through February are the snowiest months of the region. There are a number of amazing local mountains and popular ski resorts throughout the Park; if less of a vertical drop is more your style, there are hundreds of miles worth of Cross Country Ski trails for you to explore as well. 

Seasonal Checklist

Please be prepared with the following items for each season that you may visit…

Overall, these generic lists should include the basics for all recreational opportunities.

Average Temperature 12°-25° F
Proper Layering: base layer, wool/polyester mid layer, insulated jacket, waterproof shell
Appropriate Accessories: waterproof gloves, warm hat, winter socks, winter boots, neck gaiter
Additional Accessories for when your originals get wet!
Micro Spikes
Trekking Poles
Lip Balm and/or Sunscreen for sunny winter days
Crampons: for mountaineering and steep terrain
High Energy Snacks
2L of Water and Water Purification
“Hot Hands” or similar hand/foot/body warmers
Headlamp with extra batteries
Sealable, insulated bottle for a warm beverage
Avalanche Protection
First Aid Kit (including an emergency blanket!)
Average Temperature 60°-70° F
Appropriate Clothing
Rain & Wind Protection
Footwear (Know the terrain and the weather)
Headlamp with extra batteries
High Energy Snacks
2L of Water
Water Purification
**Knowledge of water source location**
Hydration/Electrolyte Tabs
Sun Protection
(long sleeves, brimmed hat, sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, etc.)
Bug Protection
(long sleeves & pants, bug spray, dryer sheets, bug nets, etc.)
Average Temperature 40°-55° F
Proper Layering (always pack warm layers, it will be colder at elevation)
Appropriate Layering (It might feel warm at the trailhead, but bring hats, gloves, and extra socks!)
Sun Protection (sunglasses, brimmed hat, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.)
Footwear (waterproof baby!)
Micro Spikes
Headlamp with extra batteries
High Energy Snacks
2L of Water and Water Purification
Rain Gear Top & Bottom
First Aid Kit (including an emergency blanket!)
Average Temperature 40°-55° F
Proper Layering (always pack warm layers, it will be colder at elevation)
Appropriate Layering (It might feel warm at the trailhead, but bring hats, gloves, and extra socks!)
Sun Protection (sunglasses, brimmed hat, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.)
Footwear: Check the weather, you may want to bring microspikes for hikes at elevation
Headlamp with extra batteries
High Energy Snacks
2L of Water and Water Purification
Rain &  Wind Protection
First Aid Kit (including an emergency blanket!)
Experience Views Like These…

What is there to Do in the Adirondack Park?

The Adirondack Park is the perfect vacation destination. Whether you’re looking to relax on the lake or scale mountains, you’re in the right place. The Adirondack Park provides ample opportunities for Outdoor Recreation and even boasts a number of more relaxing options.

Hiking & Snowshoeing

Hiking, and snowshoeing in the winter months, are among some of the Adirondack Park’s most popular attractions. There are over 2,000 miles of marked trails in the ADK. These trails can bring you to the summit of New York’s tallest mountains or to some of the most secluded lakes on the East coast. Whether you’re looking for a multi-day backpacking trip, or a quick sunrise jaunt, the Adirondack Park has just the trail for you.

Winter Olympic Sites

The Adirondacks, Lake Placid specifically, was home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Because of this, there are so many awesome places to learn about and experience the winter Olympic Games! There are several Lake Placid Olympic Sites to explore; each space is home to a unique experience. 

Skiing, Snowboarding, & XC Skiing

The Adirondack Park is home to some of the best downhill skiing and snowboarding on the East Coast as well. Their small, town local mountains are a great place to learn! Meanwhile, their big-time slopes will challenge any level of skier or snowboarder. If vertical drop isn’t your thing, there are acres of gorgeous xc skiing trails throughout the park as well. Lapland Lake in the Southern Adirondacks is a popular cross country skiing spot, or Ski the VIC on Paul Smith College’s campus. 


There are more than 3,000 lakes and ponds and over 6,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Park is a paddler’s dream! There are so many gorgeous waterways to explore and amazing little, secluded islands to camp out on. Whether you’re focused on fishing, paddling, or being towed behind a motorboat in a tube, the ADK is full of great opportunities to get out on the water.

Hunting & Fishing

If you’re a hunter, the Adirondacks are home to some of the finest bear, deer, and small game hunting in the country. The New York State DEC requires all small game hunters over the age of 12 to carry a license, and all big game hunters over the age of 16 to carry a license. As long as you are properly prepared, you’re bound to have a wonderful time. The Adirondack Park is also known for its fishing. You must have a fishing license if you are 16 years or older. You can obtain an NYS fishing license at most sporting goods stores throughout the park; if you’re driving by a Walmart on your way in, they also sell licenses. 


Rock and ice climbing is a topic I am not prepared to speak on. Although this is not a recreational opportunity that I seek out when visiting the Adirondacks, I do know that there are plenty of popular spots for those who love this sport!

Maybe climbing for you starts as an adventurous day in the treetops. The Adirondacks are home to a few different aerial adventure courses, including zip lines rope swings, cargo nets, rock walls, and more. Visit Adirondack Extreme in Bolton Landing for a memorable day learning the ropes!

Photo Credit: Adirondack Extreme

Museums & History

If you’re a museum go-er or a history buff, there are a number of different attractions for you to visit while you’re in town. The Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, and a handful of battlegrounds and historical sites are among the region’s most popular happenings. Whether you plan your trip around these or save them for a rainy day, these options are great to have in your back pocket. 

What Kind of Gear do You Need to Recreate Safely?

Where Can I Rent Equipment in the Adirondacks?

Where you can rent equipment for different types of recreational experiences is going to vary based on what region you are visiting. I’m going to break it down by major towns for you.

Sign in at the Trail Register

What Should I Hike in the Adirondacks?

The golden question because there are just so many options! I would base my answer on where you’re visiting; you might have a handful of hikes right in your backyard.

Personally, I would plan the location of my vacation based on the hikes I want to complete. If I’m looking to work on some High Peaks, I would stay in the Lake Placid, Keene, or Newcomb area. If I wanted to work on the Fulton Chain Trifecta, I would stay in Old Forge. It all depends on what you’re looking to accomplish and enjoy during your stay.

How Can I Find Local ADK Hikes?

If you’re planning your vacation based on a specific town or region of the Adirondacks, that’s great too! You’re likely in close proximity to a number of beautiful hiking opportunities. There are  a few ways you could find local hikes for your vacation:

1. Buy a Map! There are endless trails in the Adirondacks and a map will show you the vast majority of them.

2. Use AllTrails as a tool to scout hikes in the area you’re visiting.

3. Google hikes in the area – blogs, like mine, can provide you with a lot of answers. 

4. Ask the locals. Ask the owner of your Airbnb or the waiter at your restaurant what their favorite local hike is. Someone is bound to have a gem waiting for you!

There are also a number of Adirondack Hiking Challenges available for you to try your hand at. Some of these challenges can be easily completed in a weekend while others might require more time. 

So many Hiking Challenges within the Adirondack Park! Which will you try?

Which Adirondack Hiking Challenge Should I Try?

I would base my choice of Adirondack Hiking Challenge on ability level, location, and the amount of time I have to complete the challenge. There is a fun hiking challenge for outdoorists of all ability levels! 

Each Challenge’s individual post goes in-depth on location, difficulty level, and timeframe. I suggest checking out each hike’s post for more Adirondacks information. The Fulton Chain Trifecta and Tupper Lake Triad are the easiest of the challenges; the Adirondack 46er is the most difficult. The Saranac Lake 6er, Lake Placid 9er, and Lake George 12ster all fall somewhere in the middle of the two. 

Follow LNT in the ADK

What is Proper Etiquette When Exploring the Adirondack Park?

If you are traveling to the Adirondacks to experience some of its natural, raw, and forever wild beauty, you need to make sure your following Leave No Trace Principles. Leave No Trace, or LNT, is a set of principles designed to help preserve the natural beauty and sustain the wild health of our favorite outdoor spaces. 

The 7 LNT Principles include:

  1. Planning and Preparing Ahead of Time
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Others

You can find more information on the specifics of LNT at the Center For Outdoor Ethics. 

Always do your research and prepare!

How Should I Prepare for Recreating in the Adirondacks?

If you’re traveling to the Adirondacks with a specific form of recreation in mind (hiking, paddling, climbing, snowmobiling, skiing/snowboarding, etc.) you need to do your research! What are the rules and regulations for that activity? It’s very important that you know. Rules and regulations aside, you should really know just what you might be getting yourself into.

All too often people see beautiful views and don’t necessarily know quite what it takes to get there. Don’t get yourself in over your head! Do your research and be prepared. There are still absolutely gorgeous ways to experience the Adirondacks, even if you’re a newbie! If you’re new to downhill skiing, you don’t need to take the chairlift(s) to the summit of Whiteface for a good ride… you don’t have to scale a 46er for a stunning view if you’re new to hiking… if you’re new to paddling, you don’t have to find the whitewater to have fun… Do your research and find the mountain, hike, or river that suits your ability level best! 

The Adirondack Park is *Largely* Dog Friendly

Can my Dog Join me on my Adirondack Adventures?

Absolutely! Unless otherwise specified, the Adirondack Park is dog-friendly. The only requirement on  many of these trails is that your dog is leashed at all times. If your dog cannot join in on your fun, there is usually a specific sign that will let you know. With a little bit of research, you will know if your pet can join you. 

The trail.

Where Can I Find Updated ADK Trail Conditions?

It’s really important to have some idea of what you’re going to experience on the trail. Using a number of different sources to come to a conclusion on your desired trail’s conditions is a good choice! Here are a few resources you should consider utilizing:

Adirondack Almanac

Facebook Group

Mountain Forecast


Ski Trail Conditions

Examining Instagram posts and speaking to their owners has also helped me to learn more about a specific trail and what to expect. Always be sure to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into out there. 

Adirondack Park Articles A-Z

Every article I’ve ever written on the Adirondack Park is included in the list below. There is an in-depth article on just about every topic mentioned above and more! Be sure to share and save/pin anything you might want to save for later. As always, reach out if you have any specific Adirondack Park questions. 

A dirondack BreweriesN
B eginner Hikers Start Here O ld Forge, Old Forge Hiking
D ownhil Skiing & SnowboardingQ
ER estaurants in Lake Placid
F ulton Chain Trifecta
Free Camping in the ADK
S aranac Lake 6er
Solo Hiking Tips
GT upper Lake Triad
H igh Peaks Region (coming soon!),
Hotels in Lake Placid (coming soon!)
JW inter Hikes
Winter Hiking Tips
L ake Placid 9er
Lake George 12ster

Still Have An Unanswered Question?

Fill out the form below if you have a question that wasn’t answered by any of the above content…

13 Solo Hiking Safety Tips

Have you ever wanted to get outside but no one will go with you? Me too, and it’s a bummer. There’s nothing worse than craving a long hike out in the fresh air and having no one to join you. Luckily, there’s a solution. You can get out there with your bad self and partake in some solo hiking! 

Solo Hiking is so intimidating… you mean you want me to head out into the wilderness by myself? Yes ma’am! If you’re properly prepared, you might just find that solo hiking becomes your favorite way to hike. Here are 13 solo hiking safety tips for anyone who wants to spend more time outside without relying on anyone else for company!

Take in the views at the summit for as long a you’d like when you’re by yourself!

13 Things You Can do to Feel More Confident While Solo Hiking

1. Don’t Push Your Limits

I’m all about pushing myself, and always appreciate a challenge. Your first couple of solo hikes are most definitely not time to be pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. I suggest choosing a hike you’ve already done before for your very first solo hike. Choose something you’re familiar with and very comfortable hiking. We have to build that solo hiking confidence up baby! Start small. 

Along these same lines, I would suggest choosing a trail that is more popular. Even though you might be on a journey of solitude, passing others on your first few solo hikes will help to keep anxiety down. It’s also good to know that if you did fall into a situation where you needed assistance, someone would likely be there to help you.

Keep it simple. Bring it back to basics.

2. Get Educated

Solo Hiking means a lot of things, and brushing up on your knowledge is one of them. Educate yourself on how to stay safe in the outdoors and learn about the area you’ll be recreating in. It’s always good to know the rules and regulations of the land you’re hiking on and you can often find this information on the internet. If you prefer to be a hands-on learner, do some research and see if any local associations provide classes on the information you’re looking for. 

Here are a few important thing you should know before you hike:

  • How do I dispose of my human waste?
  • Are pets allowed on this trail?
  • Is this public/state land? Is it hunting season?
  • Do I need a permit for this hike?

Hiking a trail you’ve already explored is perfect for your first couple of trips, however, if you must try something new, be sure to research it thoroughly. You need to know a lot more than where the trailhead is. Check the elevation gain and contour lines on a map to have a better understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. You should also check to see if you will have to navigate a water crossing and what kinds/how many trail junctions you might encounter. Have a good understanding of the trail you’re hiking and you’re bound to feel comfortable, safe, and competent. 

3. Learn About Local Wildlife

It’s important to know what kind of wildlife you might encounter on the trail and how to best approach the situation. Being a solo hiker can have its disadvantages, and this is one of them. For example, in bear country, it’s much easier for a quiet, solo hiker to stumble upon a bear and send them into the defense. It’s important to know that wearing a bear bell and carrying bear spray is suggested in areas with high bear activity. Research the trail you’ll be hiking and be sure you’re prepared for a wildlife encounter.

Get to know the local wildlife, from a distance of course!

4. Prepare Your Pack

Be prepared and prepare well! Pack your backpack the night before and make sure you have all of the essentials. Solo hiking is amazing, but you have no one to count on but yourself out there. It’s incredibly important that you are carrying every essential item as you have no one to share responsibility with. Packing the proper layers, ample snacks, a first aid kit, and enough water/water purification system are among the most important. If you’re unsure what’s considered essential, take a look at REI’s list! 

There are some items that are easy to forget but can be super important. I never depend on my cell phone on the trail, however, I like to bring my charging block in case my phone battery dies and I want or need it for something. Additionally, I always bring toilet paper, a garbage bag, and extra snacks. You might not find those last three on a comprehensive list so I wanted to make sure you had them laid out for you.

5. Know How your Gear Works

Having everything packed is the easy part. Knowing how all of your gear works, when to utilize it, and feeling comfortable using it takes a little practice. You don’t want to head on on the trail with a new piece of equipment without testing it and/or practicing with it at home first. There should be a sense of ease when it comes to using everything in our pack. Comfort is everything when you’re solo hiking. If you’re not comfortable, chances are you’re not going to enjoy your experience.  

6. Create a Plan

Plan out your entire hike, step by step, and write it down. Some questions to answer: What time will you be leaving your home? Where are you stopping along the way? When will you arrive at the trailhead? What time will you start hiking? What’s your end destination? A summit, lake, waterfall, cliff? Will you be taking any side trails along the way? Is this an out and back or are you completing a loop? When will you be back at the car? Answer all of these questions for yourself and then leave them for someone as I suggest in the next step.

7. Share your Solo Hiking Plan 

Write out your exact plans for your hike and leave them with someone you can depend on. It’s important that someone know where you are and what you’re doing in the event that you need help from the authorities. These plans should include the following information:

1.What trail you’re hiking and from what trailhead

2. What time you plan on starting your hike

3. Your destination and any stops or spur trails in between

4. When you expect to be back

Set a time to call your loved one. If they don’t hear from you by that time they are  first, going to call you in case you forgot. Second, If they can’t get in touch with you, they need to call the DEC and/or State Police.

It might also be helpful to share your location with a friend or family member as well! That way, they might be able to track you based off of your last ‘ping’. Always sign into and out of trail log books – this helps the rescue crew determine where you may or may not be along the trail.

Wake up for a sunrise solo hike and feel like you have the whole world to yourself.

8. Don’t Get Lost

Stay on the trail and bring proper navigation (that you know how to use). If you’re using your cell phone as a map, please bring an additional form of navigation, such as a paper map, in the event that your phone dies or doesn’t have service. Follow all trail markers and do your best not to stray from the path. If you do need to leave the trail, let’s say, to go to the bathroom, be sure to bring your backpack with you! If you wind up losing the trail after your potty break, you don’t want to be lost without your gear. You may be someone who gets turned around easily; if that’s the case, bring a neon bandana and tie it to a tree on the trail when you leave to relieve yourself. This should help you make it right back to where you need to be!

9. Trust Your Instincts

Trust your gut feeling my friends… if something feels off, chances are it is. Trust your judgment and only do what feels comfortable. With that in mind, don’t let feelings of nervousness prevent you from getting out of the car and taking that hike! Make sure you can decipher between just feeling nervous and feeling like something is genuinely out of place.

I’ve had moments of uneasiness on a solo hike before. How I respond depends on what my gut is telling me. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought there was wildlife lurking (most likely a bear or a deer in these parts). In this particular situation, I tried to make noise as I hiked by clapping my hands or shouting/singing something random for 30 seconds or so. I once had an uneasy feeling after passing a solo male hiker on the trail. I was pretty close to the summit and would have had to turn back in his direction to return to my trailhead, so I took out my knife and pepper spray and carried on with extra caution.

Solo Hiking Selfies

10. Extra Safety Measures

What do you need to carry to help you feel safer? This looks different for everyone.  I feel much safer hiking by myself when I have my knife. I’m going to be honest and say I’ve forgotten it the last few times, and when I notice it isn’t in my bag, my stomach drops. Similarly, hiking with trekking poles in hand makes me feel like I could fight off any human or animal that approached me as well (even though, that’s largely not true, haha). 

When I sleep in my car, I always have my pepper spray in reach and that helps me to sleep comfortably through the night. These are just simple little precautions that help me to feel safer! Figure out what will help you feel safe on your adventures and be sure to bring it along. Chas from Through The Lynss suggests looking into a carry permit if that’s something you’re comfortable with and willing to learn about. If it isn’t, investing in a taser is a great alternative! 

Some things to consider: taking a personal defense class, carry pepper spray, a knife, a whistle, a taser, etc.

11. Invest in a PLB

Investing in a Personal Locator Beacon is no joke. They’re not cheap! But they could truly save your life out there. There are many different kinds – some require monthly service fees and plans so that you can exchange messages with loved ones while others only do the basics. If you plan on spending more time out in the woods alone -especially in a place with no cell phone service- you should really invest in a PLB.

I met these ladies through a hiking group! We had such a great overnight.

12. Join a Hiking Group

If you’ve read through all of these suggestions and you’re still not feeling it, that’s okay! If lack of companionship is keeping you from the trail, look into finding some hiking friends. There are quite a few organizations that plan group hikes and certain ones plan hikes for women specifically! If all else fails and you can’t find an organization or group to go hiking with – check local Facebook Hiking group pages.  

Connecting with others should help you get out on the trail more often. Maybe, after some more time and experience with these groups, you’ll feel ready to hit the trail solo! It’s all a matter of time.

13. Hike with your Dog

A lot of people aren’t hiking solo, they’re hiking with their best friend – their pup! Dogs are incredible companions for so many reasons. They’re intuitive, natural protectors, and can sense a lot of things we humans can not. They really make for great trail buddies as long as they are properly conditioned and outfitted for the hike you’re completing.

It’s important to note that hiking with your furry friend often helps to make you feel less alone and therefore, safer. Our four-legged friends make awesome hiking buddies but it’s important to note that taking them along may require a little extra work. Always bring extra food, water, and first aid materials on the trail when you’re hiking with your pet! Pro Trip: Get a puppy pack and have your dog carry their own supplies. Know what kind of terrain you’ll be on and be prepared to hoist and/or carry your dog at certain points of your journey.

Let’s Go Solo Hiking!

What are you waiting for? Don’t you feel inspired!? Let’s get out there and get hiking my friends. Additionally, if you’re really quite new to hiking, we should get more in-depth here. If you haven’t done much hiking, you’re probably wondering – well where should I begin? One of the most important aspects of hiking is gearing up! Aside from the 10 essentials, you’re going to want proper footwear and layers! Check out Hiking for Dummies for all of these specifics and more.

Solo Hiking Tips Contributors

A special shout out to the bad ass ladies who contributed ideas to this post!

13 Best Adirondack Breweries

Are you heading to the Adirondacks and looking for somewhere to enjoy a local craft beverage? There’s nothing like heading to the Brewery for a cold one after a long hike or a day on the slopes. Quite honestly, I’m not even a big beer drinker and it’s something I always look forward to! This article is bound to answer all of your questions regarding the best Adirondack breweries. 

Sipping on a Dark Beer Along the Adirondack Coast, Vermont

Adirondack Breweries Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the Best Brewery in the Adirondacks?

Lake Placid Pub and Brewery has won over 70 awards in the past 20 years, placing it at the top of my list. However, Adirondack Pub and Brewery did take home a silver medal for the Bobcat Pilsner at the 2018 World Beer Cup. 

Which Adirondack Brewery has the Best Food?

Big Slide Brewery & Public House has the best food hands down. Their farm to table menu provides well thought out, delicious appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, and entrees. Wash it all down with one of their award winning brews for good measure. 

Which of the Adirondack Breweries is the Newest?

The Ray Brook Brewhouse opened its doors in June of 2019. Since then, they’ve earned a name for themselves with a large selection of microbrews and reasonably priced menu items. It’s location just outside of Saranac Lake on route 86, has made it a popular destination for locals and travelers alike.

Is Saranac Brewing Company in the Adirondacks?

Unfortunately, Saranac Brewing Company is located about 2.5 hours away from Saranac Lake in Utica, NY. It’s a great brewery with delicious beers and awesome tours, however, it isn’t quite located in the Adirondack Park. If you’re driving by Utica on the Thruway, make a pit stop here. 

Where can I find the Hidden Gem of Adirondack Breweries?

Coopers Cave Ale Company is quite literally the most hidden of the Adirondack Breweries. Disguised as a hole-in-the-wall joint. Coopers Cave Ale Company is a popular spot for brews, a family meal, and ice cream! 

The 13 Best Adirondack Breweries

Here we’ve compiled a list of 13 of the best Adirondack Breweries. No matter where you’re staying or what you’re hiking, one of these brewpubs bound to be within reach. 

Adirondack Pub and Brewery

33 Canada St, Lake George, NY 12845

Image from Google Maps

Adirondack Pub and Brewery was inspired by a post-college backpacking trip around Europe. After founder John Carr returned from his trip and failed to find the same high-quality beers he had experienced overseas, he started to brew his own. After 10 years of brewing for friends and family he opened the Adirondack Pub and Brewery in the heart of Lake George Village. 

All hand-crafted ales and lagers feature local ingredients and are brewed on-site in Lake George. Visit the pub to see what’s on tap while enjoying your typical, tasty pub-fare. Be on the lookout for the Hops, Chops, & Roll Pub Truck at local events and festivals, or book it for your next party! 

Ausable Brewing Company 

765 Mace Chasm Rd, Keeseville, NY 12944

Image from Google Maps

This farm-based nano-brewery is owned and operated by the Badger brothers. Ausable Brewing Company, or ABC as they like to call it, is located on 140 acres in the Champlain Valley just east of the Adirondack High Peaks.

ABC is dedicated to serving only the highest quality ales, lagers, and house sodas. These local brothers do not wholesale their beer to bars and restaurants so if you’re looking to enjoy their craft, you are going to have to pay them a visit. Drive through some of the Adirondack Park’s finest farmland to stop into the red barn for a brew. 

The brothers brew and serve out of their renovated 1880’s barn; you can currently stop by to pick up beer-to-go on Fridays from 2-6 and on Saturdays from 12-4. In the warmer months, you can enjoy their craft in the beer garden.  

Battle Hill Brewing Company

4 Charles St, Fort Ann, NY 12827

Image from Google Maps

The area’s newest farm brewery started as homebrewers who enjoyed their craft so much that they thought, “what if?” and made it a reality. In 2014 these homebrewers found a cool 19th-century building in historic Fort Ann and made big moves towards their dream job. 

Since 2014, they’ve joined the local farm brewery scene and have been met with nothing but success. Using fresh local ingredients, they create and share their ales 7 barrels at a time. Battle Hill loves being a part of Washington County’s long and varied agricultural history; they hope to play a role, alongside other craft beer and wine establishments, in the resurgence of the area. 

Battle Hill Brewing Company offers both indoor and deck seating for you to enjoy both their delicious beer selections and tasty food selections. Battle Hill caters to the whole family with kids menu items available as well. Aside from the beer list found on their website, you can call the taproom or check their facebook page for seasonal offerings as well!  

Big Slide Brewery and Public House

5686 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946

Must Try Brews: Hot Pepper Pale Ale & Bourbon Barrel Aged Ubu Ale

Image from Google Maps

Big Slide Brewery & Public House opened in June of 2016 and has won a myriad of awards ever since. Some of these awards include Best Restaurant in the Adirondacks (2020), their Bourbon Barrel Aged Ubu Ale won bronze at the NY State Craft Beer Competition (2018), and the Giant IPA won gold at the NY State Craft Beer Competition (2017). They’re known not only for their 

Big Slide Brewery & Public House

The hybrid 3.5-5 barrel brew-house is located right in the dining space (with protective glass and such). Big Slide offers 10 house beers on tap, including Sours, Goldens, Pale Ales, IPAs, Porters, Stouts, and Belgian beers. They strive to create new and exciting beers like the Chili Pepper Pale Ale or the Brett Biere de Garde.

If you’re looking to enjoy the delicious farm-to-table food, you can sit at the concrete-topped bar, on the beautiful (dog-friendly) patio, or in the dining room. The locally-sourced ingredients create unique and delicious dishes – it is not your typical pub grub, but it will definitely be a meal you will remember. Big Slide’s menu features snacks, salads, sandwiches, brick-oven pizzas, and delicious entrees. Big Slide Brewery and Public House is my go-to dinner and drink spot in the Lake Placid area.

Delicious Brews, Meals, & Desserts at Big Slide!

Bolton Landing Brewing Company

4933 Lake Shore Dr, Bolton Landing, NY 12814

Must Try Brews: Sunseeker Sour Loganberry & Bourbon Barrel Aged Urban Lumberjack

Image from Google Maps

This family-owned microbrewery was founded in 2017 by father and son team, Brendan and John Murnane. The newly constructed taproom is open year-round. You can drink a beer on the spacious outdoor patio while enjoying a view of the lake! Hang out on the lawn where you can play shuffleboard or a round of cornhole.

Beers are brewed on-site in the state-of-the-art 7 barrel brewhouse. BLBC also offers Crowlers, which are 32-ounce aluminum cans that you can fill up with your favorite varieties. Take your beverage of choice home with you; make sure to drink local while vacationing, boating, or hiking.

Common Roots

58 Saratoga Ave, South Glens Falls, NY 12803

Image from Google Maps

Common Roots first came to fruition in 2005 when Bert and Christian brewed their first beer together. The father-son team knew a microbrewery was in their future. It took a few years, but in 2014 Bert and Christian were able to honor their family heritage by opening the doors to Common Roots for all to enjoy.

Unfortunately, the original brewery succumbed to fire in March of 2019. With the help of the community, they were back to brewing in no time and opened their brand new taproom and brewery in 2020. The new space is not only more energy and production efficient, but more of an experience as well. Common Roots now offers a full-service restaurant, bier garden, and event room.  

Common Root’s beers intermix old world traditions with new world inspirations. The variety of beer styles will appeal to any craft beer consumer. Their beer menu is massive. By hovering over your beer of choice, you can see if it is available on draft, to go, or in a growler. You can learn about the beer itself by clicking “learn more”. The selection is truly endless – there is a beer for everyone here. 

Fulton Chain Craft Brewery

127 North St, Old Forge, NY 13420

Must Try Brew: Go Fluff Yourself

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One of my absolute favorite small-town craft Breweries of all time. It has a raw, home town feel while also providing delicious brews! A hot spot for summer and fall hikers as well as snowmobilers in the winter months! It’s my favorite place to stop after a day on the slopes at McCauley Mountain.

Fulton Chain Brewing Company, Old Forge

Fulton Chain Craft Brewery was founded in 2014 by two local friends. They use locally sourced ingredients to create up to 10 different beers on tap; with so many options, you’re bound to love one of them. Go Fluff Yourself is a fan favorite, but if beers aren’t necessarily your pint of …  hehe … Fulton Chain Craft Brewery also offers 1911 Hard Cider, New York State Wines, and a selection of NYS Liquor. 

Stop by their cozy Adirondack lodge-inspired tasting room with family, friends, or on your own. Whether you’re in town for a few days or just passing through, you won’t regret this sneaky gem in Old Forge!

Fulton Chain in Winter

Great Adirondack Brewing Company

2442 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946

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The Great Adirondack Brewing Company has been one of Lake Placid’s best restaurants for 30 years. Previously known as The Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood, they have rebranded due to the growth of their on-site craft brewery. Although their food is exceptional, their ever-changing line up of beers will please any palate. 

The on-site brewery consists of a custom-manufactured seven-barrel stainless steel brew system. Housed behind the restaurant, this is where a wide range of ales and lagers are produced using only the finest imported and domestic ingredients. The Great Adirondack Brewing Company’s commitment to quality and consistency has garnered them a number of awards; see for yourself with a fresh pint poured from their tap.

Hex and Hop Brewing

1719 NY-3, Bloomingdale, NY 12913

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Hex and Hop Brewing was founded by two friends, an engineer and an apiarist. Their love for beer, zest for adventure, and large appetites brought them to the North Country to share their craft. Ethan and Nick combine their backgrounds in engineering and beekeeping to create delicious brews through precision, science, and following the seasons harvest.

Hex and Hop Brewing is nestled in the small Adirondack town of Bloomingdale. 

As you might imagine, beer isn’t the only local product you can try at Hex and Hop Brewery – there are bees and therefore, honey! Local honey and a variety of quick and tasty menu items.  

Lake Placid Pub and Brewery

813 Mirror Lake Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946

Must Try Brews: Ubu Ale & Strawberry Milkshake Sour

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Lake Placid Pub and Brewery was one of the very first places I enjoyed a meal in the Adirondacks! This spot is still a staple any time I’m in the Lake Placid area; with food and beers that never disappoint, you can’t go wrong with this pitstop. 

Like many breweries, Lake Placid Pub & Brewery started with a home brew kit and a love for beer. The quality and popularity of their beers have led to a rapid expansion over the last 24 years. Their 150 different styles of beer have earned the respect of the brewing community and National attention.

Founded in 1996, when two friends purchased a local pub, the brewery grew in popularity among locals and visitors alike. The popularity of the brewery really took off in the year 2000, when a government trip brought White House interns to towns. After hearing the story behind their flagship beer, the Ubu Ale, the interns brought some back to President Clinton as a gift. The President enjoyed the beer so much that he ordered cases of it for a white house party. 

This exponential growth allowed Lake Placid Pub and Brewery to open a second location, the esteemed Big Slide Brewery and Public House (also on this list). The awards this Lake Placid brewery has received in the past 20 years earns it the number one spot on the Best Adirondack Breweries list. 

Paradox Brewery

2781 U.S. 9, North Hudson, NY 12855

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This innovative, independent craft brewery is located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Paradox Brewery all started when president and founder, Paul Mrocka, fell in love with brewing while stationed in Germany as an Army Pilot. After 30 years of backyard brewing for friends and family, Paul made his dream come true as his craft became more and more popular with the Paradox Lake Locals. 

Paradox Brewery beverages are like no other; the water used is found in the granite 600 feet below the Adirondack Park. It is so very pure that it requires no filtering or treatment before being brewed with the best local malts and hops. The 25,000 square feet brewery produces 50,000 barrels a year and can be toured upon visiting. Take a trip to the tasting room for over 10 beers on tap or stop in to grab a case of cans to go.

Raquette River

11 Balsam St #2, Tupper Lake, NY 12986

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Raquette River Brewing was established in 2013 to brew small batch specialty ales to the local community. They experiment with both local and exotic ingredients to create beer that is as unique as the people enjoying them! Raquette River’s brews can be found on tap and in bottles around the Adirondacks. 

If you’re in the Tupper Lake Area, stop in to the spacious lodge-like tasting room. Friendly puppers are welcome to join you, inside or out. The parking lot is home to two delicious food trucks to ensure you’re not only well-watered, but well-fed. The Fusion Street Woodfire Pizza is pretty tasty! Check out their home page for a list of beers on tap. 

Cabin Vibes at Raquette River Brewing

Ray Brook Brewhouse

1153 NY-86, Ray Brook, NY 12977

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Nestled away, deep into the Adirondacks in the hamlet of Ray Brook lies the Ray Brook Brewhouse. Constable Native, Paul Tatro opened his strategically placed restaurant in the summer of 2019. Ray Brook Brewhouse strives to produce wild and traditional brews that pair perfectly with their adventurous dishes. They are proud to welcome hard-working Adirondack locals as well as travelers from near and far into their rustic and homey space. 

Let’s Combine Hikes & Brews 

If you’re a beer junkie who also loves to hike, check out the ADK 6 PACK Challenge. This challenge combines 6 local breweries with a corresponding local mountain. Hike to the summit and enjoy a brew, and earn a patch when you’ve accomplished all 6! Although I have not personally completed this challenge, it is on the list! It seems like a great way to enjoy a few beverages and beautiful views. Please be sure to drink responsibly and leave no trace while completing this challenge. 

Nothin’ like a Good Beer After A Long Day on the Mountain

What are you Waiting For?

The Adirondacks are home to so many awesome towns, miles of trail, endless waterways, and countless opportunities for recreation. As we gear up for the winter season, don’t forget to pair your brewery visits with a corresponding mountain to shred at! If you plan on hitting the slopes at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, be sure to check out Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. On the opposite side of the park, West Mountain is cozied up nice and close to Common Roots Brewing Company. Stick around for more information on the top Adirondack Ski and Snowboarding slopes and make the most out of your visit!

11 Best Adirondack Ski Resorts

Getting out there for your winter recreation can be a real pain in the butt when a ski resort is overcrowded. How are you supposed to enjoy some fresh pow or teach your best buddy how to shred if there are hundreds of people on the slopes with you? Well, you can still do those things but if you really want to enjoy your day, hit up some local Adirondack Ski Resorts for a good time.

While many of the big mountains of the East might be overrun, some of the best Adirondack Ski Resorts remain *mostly* untouched. If you’re looking to get out this winter and enjoy the snow, I have a list of 11 local Adirondack Ski Resorts that are sure to be less crowded than some of your more popular East coast mountains. Find the perfect place to ride with the whole family or the best place to catch the first chair and ride well into the night with this list.  

Best Adirondack Ski Resorts

Although most of these might be better described as Ski Areas as opposed to resorts, they’re still a lovely place to visit. Whether you’re coming for the day or spending the whole weekend in town with the family, these ski areas will not disappoint!

In order from least popular Adirondack Ski Resort to more popular…

1. Mt. Pisgah

  • Address: 92 Mt Pisgah Lane Saranac Lake, 12983
  • Elevation: 1,771’
  • Vertical Drop: 329’

The gentle slopes and welcoming, knowledgeable staff at Mt. Pisgah make this a wonderful place to learn. A single T-bar lift provides access to 15 acres worth of beginner trails. The beautiful thing about a T-bar is that YOU can choose the length of your ride… hop off wherever you’re most comfortable and enjoy the slopes. Mt. Pisgah might not actually fall into the category of Adirondack Ski Resorts, but it’s a great low key place to learn or ski and snowboard as a family.

This may be a small, very local ski spot, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have some big mountain amenities. The centrally located lodge provides views up skiers and snowboarders across the whole slope. Mt. Pisgah also offers ski and snowboarding lessons, tubing, and snowshoeing opportunities. With some of the most affordable prices in the Adirondacks, you must stop here with your family. 

2. Hickory Ski Center

  • Address:43 Hickory Hill Rd, Warrensburg, NY 12885
  • Elevation: 1900’
  • Vertical Drop: 1110’

Located just north of Lake George in Warrensburg, Hickory Ridge Ski Center is nestled in the scenic Adirondack Mountains. Founded in 1945 by veterans of the famed ski troops of the American 10th Mountain Division, it was originally named “Hickory Hill”. Its location is a profoundly beautiful spot in the Adirondacks;  sheer rock massifs surround the confluence of the Schroon and Hudson Rivers making this a uniquely stunning Adirondack view.

Hickory Ridge Lodge is straight out of the 50s. The front porch runs the whole length of the lodge and looks up at the Poma 1 and Hickory’s Main Slope, the Hunny Run. Three lifts provide you with access to all different kinds of terrain; 19 different family-friendly trails await you at the ‘summit’ of Hickory Ridge. It’s important to note that Hickory Ridge is not a ski resort, it is a true local spot where generations of Hickory Ridge Skiers spend their winters.

3. Woods Valley

  • Address: 9100 NY-46, Westernville, NY 13486
  • Elevation: 1,400’
  • Vertical Drop: 500’

Located just south west of Adirondacks, Woods Valley is a great local spot to take the family skiing. Although it is not inside the Adirondack park boundaries, its location will make you question how close you are to the city of Rome. The ski center provides beautiful views of Delta Lake.

Of the fourteen trails, ten are open for night skiing Wednesday-Saturday. There are 2 double chair lifts, a T-bar, a magic carpet, and a snow tubing area. Purchase to Learn to Ski or Learn to Snowboard packages if you’re new to the sport and looking for a great deal. Packages include an Easy Acres lift pass, Rental Equipment, and a Group Lesson.  The Easy Acres lift pass and rental equipment are valid until close on day or night of purchase

4. Snow Ridge

  • Address: 4173 W Rd, Turin, NY 13473
  • Elevation: 1850’
  • Vertical Drop: 500’

Located right in the middle of the Tug Hill Plateau, Snow Ridge mountain is inundated with snow each winter. They receive over 230” of snow each season. Six lifts lead to 26 different trails and 2 terrain parks; small mountain vibes with big mountain snow make this a great place to learn the tricks and tips of the trail. 

This family-owned ski and snowboard center also offers night skiing on Thursdays and Fridays.  Grab a beverage or a full meal at Tavern230; the newly invigorated Candlelight Restaurant has a new name, new menu, and the coziest hillside seating area around the fireplace. You’re bound to enjoy this slope-side ski lodge atmosphere after a full day on the mountain!

5. Titus Mountain

  • Address: 215 Johnson Road, Malone, NY 12953
  • Elevation: 2,025’
  • Vertical Drop: 1,200’

This Northern Adirondack Ski Mountain is just a short drive from Potsdam, Plattsburgh, and the Canadian Border. This ski resort offers 50 runs, 3 terrain parks, and night skiing! The main base area is open for night skiing, making Titus Mountain the longest ski day in New York. Ride long after the sun has set on 15 lit trails and 2 lit terrain parks.

This family-focused mountain also offers a newly renovated tubing hill, Mo’s Moon Valley Grill, and a “Skin and Ski” ticket for those looking to earn their turns. Seemingly a jack of all trades, Titus Mountain is also the home of Moon Valley Maple; local maple syrup born on the slopes of the mountain! Be sure to bring home a souvenir that keeps on giving by grabbing your bottle of syrup on your next visit. 

Titus Mountain also has a Ski School and a really awesome 411 deal. All 4th-grade students who participate in the “Intro to Ski” School program will leave with a free season pass and rental. This deal also comes with one free lift ticket and rental for a parent or guardian to join in on the fun as well. Fourth graders from participating schools are eligible for this program. 


  • Address: 141 Novosel Way, Speculator, NY 12164
  • Elevation: 2,966’
  • Vertical Drop: 650’

This southern Adirondack Ski Resort boasts 22 alpine trails over 230 acres of terrain. Two T-bars and 1 quad allow for an uphill lift capacity of 3,000 skiers per hour; you’ll never leave Oak Mountain feeling like you didn’t get enough runs in. Oak Mountain also features 4 lanes of snow tubing for those family members who might not be one for the alpine skiing or snowboarding action.

 At Oak, there is terrain to suit everyone’s needs at an affordable rate! The mountain is home to an outstanding Ski and Snowboard School, is accessible by snowmobile, and provides miles of Snowshoeing trails. You can take a hike/snowshoe through the forest, enjoy a breathtaking view from the top of the chairlift, or dine in the relaxed atmosphere of the Acorn Pub and Eatery. All who visit are sure to create long-lasting memories and have a great time.

Oak Mountain Quad Lift Off

7. McCauley Mountain

  • Address: 300 Mc Cauley Rd, Old Forge, NY 13420
  • Elevation: 2,200’
  • Vertical Drop: 633’

This local, family-oriented ski mountain is open on average, 105 days out of the year. This means that there are 105 days you can spend on the mountain with family and friends. Two T-bar tows, two rope tows, and one double chairlift provide access to 23 different runs. 26% of these runs are at the beginner level, 43% intermediate, and 30% advanced. McCauley is also home to one terrain park.

McCauley offers some of the very best lift ticket rates out of all Adirondack Ski Resorts. They also offer a number of specials. These specials include serious deals, such as the $ 5-afternoon pass to ski with your kids Mondays thru Thursdays from 2 pm to 4:15 pm. If you’re local to the Old Forge area or looking for a low-key Adirondack winter get-away, this is definitely the spot.

8. West Mountain Ski Resort

  • Address: 59 West Mountain Road, Queensbury, NY 12804
  • Elevation: 1,470’
  • Vertical Drop: 1,010’

At the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, just minutes off of Rt 87, West Mountain offers day and night skiing and snowboarding, tubing, a tuning and rental shop, and the West Mountain Bar and Eatery. This Ski Resort also offers ski lessons, stay & play holiday camps, a ski club, and a masterclass series for adults. With affordable lift ticket prices and close proximity to several local hotels, you can’t go wrong with a weekend trip to West Mountain.

At West Mountain, you’ll find 31 trails across 126 acres, ranging from easy, gentle learning slopes to challenging, expert terrain. One of the best parts of a day at West is that you don’t have to plan on leaving when the sun goes down. West Mountain is one of the few that offers night skiing on 15 trails. This allows visitors to ski for hours longer than they could at other Adirondack Ski Resorts.

9. Gore Mountain

  • Address: 793 Peaceful Valley Rd, North Creek, NY 12853
  • Elevation: 3,600’
  • Vertical Drop:  2,537′ 

Gore Mountain may be the biggest Ski Resort in New York State. It’s 42 miles and 439 acres of fun are tucked away into the small mountain town of North Creek. Arguably, the best Adirondack Ski Resort, Gore is home to 14 lifts, 110 trails, and 7 terrain parks, bringing Big East energy to a small town. 

Gore Mountain brings serious big-time Ski Resort vibes. With cozy lodging options and on-mountain dining so you can really optimize your time on the slopes. Gore Mountain also has a rental shop where you can rent your gear for the weekend or tune/repair the gear you’ve brought along. Gore participated in RFID ticketing which allows you to skip the ticket window by reloading your SKI3 card prior to your trip.

10. Whiteface

  • Address: Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington, NY 12997
  • Elevation: 4,685’
  • Vertical Drop: 3,430’

Whiteface definitely falls into the busy East Coast Ski Resort category. With that in mind, it’s one of the very best Adirondack Ski Resort experiences for the more experienced skier or snowboarder. This premier Ski resort is only 13 miles from Lake Placid, making it an Adirondack Ski and Snowboarding Hot Spot. There are ample lodging opportunities in the surrounding areas and a number of delicious restaurant options. 

With the most vertical drop of all the East Coast Ski Resorts, it’s no surprise that Whiteface was the location for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Twelve lifts, including one gondola, provide access to 288 skiable acres. 87 names trails, 53 acres of glades skiing, and 4 terrain parks are bound to keep skiers and snowboarders of all abilities entertained. Although Whiteface may be one of the busiest ski spots in the Adirondacks, it’s worth the trip and every penny!

11. Big Tupper *CLOSED*

  • Address: 485 Big Tupper Rd, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
  • Elevation: 3,165′
  • Vertical Drop: 1,151′

We’re falling out of order here with number 11… Big Tupper is not the most popular ski spot in the Adirondacks – however, it easily could be and definitely should be on the list!

At one time in history, five lifts could transport skiers and snowboarders to the summit of Mt. Morris. In the last two decades, Big Tupper has failed to stay open. This ski center has the potential to service the locals of Tupper Lake by providing both a great local recreation center for residents to utilize while increasing winter tourism. 

Free Skiing and Snowboarding in the Adirondacks

There are a few free downhill skiing opportunities in the Adirondacks as well. They may not fall into the Best Adirondack Ski Resorts category, but free skiing and snowboarding is actually the best kind.

  • Indian Lake Ski Hill & Skating Park is a community mountain where you can take some turns free of charge. Although it may be small, all activities offered here are free of charge!
    1-518-648-5611 | Route 30, Indian Lake, NY 12842
  • Dynamite Hill Recreation Center provides an opportunity for beginners to gain confidence on the snow for free! The other amazing thing about Dynamite Hill is that it is pet friendly… so make sure you bring those adventure pups along for the fun.
    1-518-494-2722 | 3 Dynamite Hill,Chestertown, NY 12817
  • Otis Mountain is another free recreation and music festival venue in the Adirondacks. There are four seasons of fun at Otis Mountain; you can ski, snowboard, mountain bike, hike, or snowshoe for free.
    1-518-523-1365 | 2 miles south of Elizabethtown on Route 9, turn left onto Lobdell Lane

Please leave these free skiing opportunities better than you found them! There is always an opportunity to to give back to the space which provides you joy.

Which of our Adirondack Ski Resorts is Best?

Well… that’s for you to decide! Everyone looks for something a little different in their Ski/Snowboard trip experience. Personally, I suggest you try them all. They each offer a unique experience; advanced snow bums & bunnies will most likely prefer a different mountain than a family trying to learn the ins and outs of the slopes. Your unique situation matters! Choose the mountain that seems best for your needs.

Due to proximity and small-town vibes, McCauley Mountain is my number one choice for some Sunday turns. If I’m trying to plan a full weekend with a group of friends, I’m definitely going to try and head to Whiteface or Gore. Although I’ve yet to shred Gore Mountain, it’s first on my list for this winters Big Ski Trip. As badly as I want to head back to Killington in Vermont, Gore is calling my name!

If you plan for a ski weekend and are met with conditions that aren’t ideal, don’t forget that you can always head out for a winter hike. Enjoy the beauty of winter with one of these 7 best Adirondack Winter Hikes and if you’re in the Lake Placid area, try to eat at one of these bangin’ restaurants.

Trying out multiple mountains this winter can be made easy with the Adirondack Ski Resort reciprocal skiing program. Through this program, you can ski for free or at a discounted rate at all participating local mountains. The attached flyer is from the 19-20 season!