Rising more than 2,000 feet at its highest point, and spanning 1.2 million acres, the Tug Hill Plateau offers commanding views of the Adirondack Mountains and the rolling farmland of Lewis County. Charming villages border the expansive, scenic playground, offering miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe tracts. In pristine, undeveloped forests, wildlife flourishes and visitors may glimpse deer, rabbits, beaver, turkey, fishers, bobcats and coyote.
Each season offers a new perspective on the Adirondacks-Tug Hill Region. Summer's lush greenery gives way to majestic fall foliage; and winter's bountiful snow melts into a rushing spring. Spring ushers in whitewater rafting on the Black and Beaver rivers, farmers' markets throughout the farming community and mountain biking on maintained trails. From kite-skiing to horseback riding on designated equestrian trails - adventure awaits in the Tug Hill region.
In winter, Lake Ontario's close proximity to the region translates to greater lake-effect snowfall than anywhere else in the northeast - averaging 200 inches each year. Snowmobiling is a huge draw to this "snowbelt" of New York. ATV riders can take advantage of a vast network of more than 450 miles of trails that connect to Quebec and other Adirondack snowmobiling trails.
Outdoor Recreation in the Tug Hill Region
The Black River, once a main shipping artery to the bustling port of Carthage, offers a true Adirondack paddling experience, as well as birding opportunities. The river's scenic shores are home to nesting Mallards, Wood Ducks, Baltimore Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, Flycatchers, Ravens, Kingfishers and Herons. At least 35 species of fish live in the Black River - from Bass to Northern Pike, Brown Bullhead and Brown Trout. More than 45 streams, rivers, ponds and lakes flow throughout the Adirondacks-Tug Hill Region.
Additional Adirondacks Tug Hill recreation opportunities include:
- The Otter Creek Horse Trails stretch for 65 miles along the Independence River Wild Forest Unit of the New York State Forest Preserve. These beautifully diverse trails and well-marked routes are perfect for day riding, offering year-round access. Find stalls and water at the Assembly Area on the Blue Jog Road, as well as primitive campsites.
- Paddle the Beaver River Canoe Route, a 14-mile passages from Moshier to High Falls that flows through Lewis County's scenic backcountry. Along the way, find primitive camping spots, as well as nearby campgrounds with modern amenities. This placid river is perfect for a day trip excursions, and launch sites can be found along the canoe route.
- Lake Bonaparte, named after the former king of Naples and Spain who was brother to the Holy Roman Emperor, offers boating and swimming in the summertime, and ice-fishing in the winter. With 24 miles of shoreline and incredible fishing - it's the perfect place to relax and enjoy an afternoon at the lake.
- Adirondack Camping in the Tug Hill region offers classic outdoor adventure. Brantingham Lake, known alternately as the "Jewel of the Adirondacks" and the "Snow Capital of the East," is a vacation destination perfect for families who want to getaway and relax in the splendor the region's natural beauty. Explore the lake's two islands; enjoy Lewis County fishing, boating and horseback riding in the summer, and snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice-fishing in the winter.
- Find whitewater rafting on the Black River, a favorite destination for rafters, kayakers and paddlers. Most sections of the river offer Class II-III rapids, as well as calmer sections. In spring, melting snow and ice can cause the river to swell, so additional caution is advised.
Lewis County Culture
Farming is a way of life for many in Lewis County. During the summer and fall, Farmers' Markets offer locally made cheese curds, Croghan Baloney and Amish and Mennonite baked goods. Sugar bushes produce sap for Adirondack maple syrup production - a tradition that is rooted in the farming community of the region. Check out the American Maple Museum in Croghan, and discover the history of maple sugaring in the northeastern United States. Learn about production, sugar making techniques and more.
For more information about the Adirondacks-Tug Hill Region, visit www.adirondackstughill.com.
Can't Miss Adirondack Tug Hill Events
- Lewis County Fair - This classic country fair offers livestock shows, live entertainment, concessions, a circus and more. It's a celebration of rural life and Lewis County's impressive agricultural heritage.
- Cream Cheese Festival - Lewis County is home to the largest cream cheese plant in the world - and each September, residents and visitors alike gather in Lowville for this annual festival. The event is free and offers kid's races, vendors and crafts.
- Snow Kite Skiing - Each February, over 100 kite skiers from as far away as New Zealand, flock to the Tug Hill for this annual competition. The largest kite skiing festival east of the Rocky Mountains, watch these aerialists fly.
Top Adirondacks Tug Hill Attractions
- Snow Ridge - With "the East's Heaviest Snowfall," this intimate skiing resort offers alpine skiing for the whole family. Enjoy night skiing, special events and live entertainment after a day on the slopes.
- Maple Ridge Snow Park - Located in the Black River Valley, this tubing hill offers over 100 feet of vertical drop and a tube tow to take you back to the top. Enjoy concessions, family and group rates and wonderful winter fun.
- Tug Hill Vineyards - Producing several hardy varietal NY wines, this family operation grows Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent and Marquette grapes to use in their signature vintages. Pick-your-own berries enjoy Sunday Brunch, wine tours and more at one of the Adirondacks' only wineries.
- American Maple Museum - Founded in 1977, the Croghan museum aims to preserve the history, as well as the evolution of the North American maple syrup industry. Called "liquid gold" throughout the Adirondacks, maple sugaring is an intricate part of the area's history and agricultural heritage.
- Mennonite Heritage Farm - Recently added to the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, tours of the homestead, barn, archives and more are offered to visitors. Z Fest and Apple Fest are held each year to celebrate the farm's history and bounty.
- Northern American Fiddlers Hall of Fame and Museum Institute - Delve into the history of fiddling and fiddle craftsmanship at this unique Adirondacks-Tug Hill museum. Through pictures, videsos, music and dance, the exhibits capture the fascinating history of this musical form.