Lake Placid by Mountain Bike

Heading down from the top of Little Whiteface Mountain  (Michele Buck)

When Dr. Melville Dewey, father of the Dewey Decimal System, established the Lake Placid Club in 1895, it quickly became the haute Adirondacks summer haven for the über-librarian and his fellow Manhattanites. Winter sports didn't come to the region until 1904; since then, in most people's minds cold-weather activities have largely dominated the town's athletic identity—a shift inspired in large part by the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, both held in Placid.

Don't let this seasonal favoritism sway you, however. Lake Placid may shimmer like Olympic gold from November to March, but when the snow melts, the region explodes into a variety of warm-weather pursuits: rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking are just the top of the list. Each sport is as divergent as the experience it evokes, but one overarching truth is evident: With people focused on the first snowfall, or sticking to the lake shores during the warmer months, the backcountry of the Adirondacks can be downright lonely—and that can be a glorious thing.

To illustrate, we focus in on the fat-tire realm, profiling three of Lake Placid's best mountain-biking outings. This overview is hardly definitive, but it should prove ample evidence for both the veteran and the novice that Placid is a perfect place to grind your gears.

Lake Placid's Mountain Bike Clinic at Mount Van Hovenberg
Dispelling the myth that we're all just accidents waiting to happen

Bunny-hopping Along the Adirondacks' Jackrabbit Trail
Pedaling along Lake Placid's extensive cross-country singletrack

Over 2,500 Feet of Vertical Regret: Mountain Biking Down Little Whiteface
A riveting descent of the East Coast's most revered—and feared—mountain

Published: 26 Sep 2003 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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