Adirondacks State Park


More than 2,000 miles of trails weave through the Adirondacks. You can spend a lifetime hiking the Adirondacks, and still not exhaust the possibilities for tramping different terrains in different seasons. And as a ecosystem still in recovery, new species keep returning and the forests keep changing all the time.

The High Peaks is probably the most famous hiking region. There's even an informal club of peak baggers: hikers who have scaled all 46 peaks greater than 4,000 feet. The time frame doesn't matter, just having done it does.

Get out of the High Peaks for a true wilderness experience. The Cranberry Lake Region is a good choice. The Cranberry Lake region is one of the largest remaining remote areas in the state. There has been only a minimum of civilized encroachment on the lake itself; and, just to the south of the lake, lie thousands of acres of rolling hills, numerous lakes and ponds, and unbroken forest lands showing little or no marks of civilization. If you're arriving late, the state campground at Cranberry Lake is a good place to land: The facilites are well-built and clean. A pleasant 1.8-mile trail starts at the campground on the east side of the lake and climbs up Bear Mountain—nice in the early morning before people start waking up.

The Siamese Ponds Wilderness makes for a bucolic spell in the gentle hills west of the high mountains. This area is so remote, its 33 miles of trails are the only break in 50 square miles of surrounding forest. Chimney Mountain is probably the most popular destination in the wilderness. Chimney Mountain is an imposing stack of gneiss, marble and granite, riddled with crevices and caves.

The Northville-Placid Trail is the Adirondacks analogue to the Appalachian Trail: a 133-mile north-south slice through several regions of the Adirondacks. The trail was laid out by the Appalachian Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, at about the same time as the Appalachian Trail.

If you're stuck on mountains, don't overlook the area around Blue Mountain in the Central Adirondacks. Not only is this the area of the worthwhile Adirondack Museum, the Blue Mountain Wild Forest offers many excellent hiking trails. You can pick up a portion of the Northville-Placid Trail here. The Blue Mountain hike is a fun don't-miss. A moderately strenuous clamber up the steep, bare granite sides of the mountain leads to a good view of the surrounding region.

But these are just a few of the highlights. Pick up a guidebook and make your own choices.

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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