Regional Guide

Overview - The Adirondacks

The beauty of the Adirondack wilderness doesn't hit you all at once. There are no grand, towering peaks as in the Rockies, no endless stretches of water like along the coast. Instead, the 'Dacks serve up small, shimmering lakes, and rolling hills that rise to only a few thousand feet.

But don't underestimate the power of this wilderness. Travelers have been drawn here for a century, returning to the pine-filled forests each summer. The area was also the launching pad for American wintertime sports, thanks to a hearty band of sportspeople who braved the often harsh Adirondacks cold. Their efforts resulted in bringing the Olympic Games to Lake Placid and making the forest an internationally renowned area.

It's hard to believe all this goes on in a state park. But this is no ordinary state park. At 6.1 million acres, it's the largest state park in the continental U.S. And despite being world-famous, it's still surprisingly easy to find your own piece of the park. Take a hike through the woods, go for a drive with the windows down, explore the backcountry on your cross-country skis. With four distinct seasons and four different faces, it takes a while to really know the Adirondacks. It's worth the effort.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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