What Are the Best Adirondack Adventures?

I’m staying at a cabin outside of Lake Placid, New York, for a short vacation. What should I do in the Adirondacks while I’m there?

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Trade the standard guidebook suggestions for secluded climbing routes and secret swimming holes.    Photo: heipei/Flickr


I don't know how long your vacation is, Corey, but there's enough in the undeveloped expanses of Adirondack State Park to keep you occupied for years. Even though two Winter Olympics have been held in this protected, New Hampshire-sized swath of northern New York, there’s plenty to do in the summer and fall as well. Here are three adventures you shouldn’t miss.

Find a Swimming Hole

Copperas Pond.   Photo: Dana Spencer/Flickr

There are roughly 3,000 lakes and ponds within the Adirondacks, and though many of the larger bodies of water, like Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Raquette Lake, are well known, there are legions of more hidden watering holes practically begging for you to jump in. One of the easiest to access from Lake Placid is clean, tree-encircled Copperas Pond, a short hike off Route 86 in Wilmington near the Whiteface Ski Area. Drive from the intersection of routes 73 and 86 in Lake Placid toward Wilmington, and look for the trailhead on your right after about six miles. The well-maintained but barely used trail climbs a half-mile to Copperas Pond.

Raft the Hudson

Hudson whitewater.   Photo: Courtesy of VisitAdirondacks.com

Rafting on the Hudson is nothing special—except for the 17-mile dam-controlled stretch that runs through the Adirondacks. The class III to V rapids near Indian Lake include some of the most adrenaline-pumping whitewater in the Northeast. Whitewater Challengers offers trips starting at $75.

Climb Something

Kenne, New York.   Photo: Jimmy Emerson/Flickr

The Gunks are the best-known rock climbing destination in New York, but they're not the only crag. The secluded walls near the town of Keene Valley have thousands of classic routes to keep climbers of all levels dancing in their cramped, painful shoes. Favorite spots include the Beer Walls, King Wall and Creature Wall. Adirondack Rock and River guides climbers for $180 a day.

If mountains are more your style, try tackling the Van Hoevenberg trail to the top of the state's highest peak, 5,300-foot Mt. Marcy. The grueling, switchbacked round trip is 15 miles total. Afterwards, regale your fellow guests with tales of your feat by the towering stone fireplace at the Adirondack Loj on the shores of Hart Lake. Rates start at $69 per night for space in one of the bunkrooms.

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