325 Miles, Three Days
This short ramble puts you exactly where you want to be in the northeast: away from big cities, with plenty of time for detours. Start out in artsy Rochester and head east, hugging the coast of Lake Ontario on Routes 104 and 3. Be sure to stop at Fair Haven Beach State Park to hike the bluffs of the 1.7-mile-out-and-back Lakeshore Trail. —Jacob Baynham
Camp at the Mouth of the Salmon River
Then head to Selkirk Shores State Park, where cabin 29 has a full kitchen and sits at the mouth of the Salmon River—far from other campers ($134). Refuel with a War of 1812 Amber Ale and lemon caramelized sea bass at nearby Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, one of New York’s oldest microbreweries.
Explore the Adirondacks
The next day, head to picturesque Lake Placid, just three hours away. You’ll have plenty of time for detouring into one of the largest protected areas in the country, the Adirondacks. Drive into Adirondack Park on Route 3, turn east on Route 86, left on McKenzie Pond Road, then right on Tadds Road. A trail at the sandy turnout leads to McKenzie Pond and some of the best bouldering in New York. Try Schtickums, an easy route.
Follow the Ausable River
Stop ten miles away at Lake Placid and paddle Mirror Lake ($25 per hour). Then take Adirondack Loj Road to the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Wilderness Campground and sleep in a lean-to on undeveloped Heart Lake ($44). The best part? You’re just an hour from your destination, Lake Champlain. In the morning, climb four miles to the 5,114-foot bald summit of Algonquin Peak, the second highest in the Adirondacks. Then drive to Keene along Route 73 and follow the Ausable River north on Route 9. Stop at Au Sable Forks to fish the evening caddis hatch for big browns below the dam, then drive downstream to Lake Champlain, where you can rappel sandstone cliffs at the nearby Ausable Chasm ($59).