Stretching from the Great Lake Ontario to the legendary Lake Champlain, the Olympic Trail is 170 miles of continuous scenic and recreational attractions, including the Village of Lake Placid - the site of the Winter Olympic Games in 1932 and 1980.
Sackets Harbor to Star Lake
Begin your trip in Sackets Harbor, a beautiful and quaint town on the shores of Lake Ontario. Learn more about the village's crucial role in the War of 1812 at the Sackets Harbor State Historic Site. There are many interpretive signs along the way and at certain times of the year, battle re-enactments.
Head east on Route 3 to the bustling city of Watertown, with its shopping malls and movie theatres. Watertown hosts several seasonal celebrations, including an Irish Festival in March and an Italian Festival in September. The Jefferson County Historical Museum, an 1876 Tuscan Villa, has a stunning collection of original Tyler coverlets. Plan a trip to Thompson Park, with its children's zoo, walking trails, and scenic views. Children will also enjoy the hands-on experience of the Sci-Tech Center.
Further along Route 3 in Natural Bridge, you will find a variety of North Country shops. For a great side trip, visit the nearby Natural Bridge Cave. The Olympic Trail intersects with the Black River Trail at Route 812, and as the road continues east, you'll soon be at the western gateway to the Adirondack Park at Pitcairn.
In Star Lake, you will pass the Benson Mines. The area was also once a major center for logging.
Cranberry Lake to Tupper Lake
From Star Lake, continue on Route 3 to Cranberry Lake, where you can delight in a range of restaurants, lodging, and marinas. Cranberry Lake, the third largest lake in the Adirondacks, is a Mecca for paddling and boating enthusiasts. The lake is bordered by the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest and the Five Ponds Wilderness. Cyclists will find great opportunities along the Oswegatchie River on Tooley Pond Road.
The road winds east to Childwold, home of unique North Country craft items, before continuing on to the Village of Tupper Lake, one of the great lumber centers of the Adirondacks. John Hurd's Mill, built on the shore of Raquette Pond, became the largest ever in the state. The village is the site of many spectacular events throughout the year, including the Woodsmen's Field Days, a lumberjack competition, and the Oktoberfest at Big Tupper Ski Area.
The Olympic Trail continues east on Route 3 through dense wilderness. Photographers will find many scenic vistas along the way to the Village of Saranac Lake. Look for the trailhead to Ampersand Mountain a few miles out of Tupper Lake.
Saranac Lake to Lake Placid
Saranac Lake was made famous in the late 1800s by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. In 1873, Trudeau was diagnosed with tuberculosis. His health deteriorating, he came to the Adirondacks, where he vacationed when he was young. The fresh air served to greatly improve Trudeau's health. Soon after, he established an institute to pursue a cure for T.B. A cure was discovered, and the Trudeau Institute remains a leading research center. Stop at the town chamber and ask about the walking tour of historic buildings from the cure era.
In summer, enjoy concerts in the bandshell park, and dramatic performances at the famous Pendragon Theatre. A short hike up Baker Mountain will provide a great view of the village and surrounding lakes and mountains. Paddling enthusiasts will find one of the finest places in the East to put in here, as Lake Flower connects to hundreds of canoe and kayak routes.
If you're in town during February, don't miss the historic Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. The two-week festival of games, contests and winter sports was started in 1898 by the Pontiac Club and remains one of the oldest in the United States. Be sure to see the ice palace on the shores of Lake Flower. From Saranac Lake, head out of town and stop for an ice cream in the summer and then drive to Lake Placid for Olympic history, a vibrant Main Street and a plethora of recreational opportunities.