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Guide to Adirondack Outdoor Recreation

Grab your paddle, lace up your hiking boots, and head to the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York State.

collage of Adirondack recreation images

Spring Recreation

Spring brings raging waters & migrating wildlife!

When spring's warming light hits the Adirondacks, all adventure breaks loose! Frozen rivers become torrents that create ideal conditions for some of the best whitewater rafting on the East Coast, offering Class IV and V rapids. Not your cup of tea? Don't fret, by the time the spring thaw passes, the rapids tame a bit for family-friendly excursions.

Another sign of the seasonal change is the spring migration when birds flock north after summering in sunnier climes down south. Birding events mark the start of the nesting season, and the Adirondacks birding hot spots fill with feathery flight and bird watchers with binoculars in tow.

For hikers, spring means we can put away our microspikes and break out our hiking shorts and sunglasses! Hiking in the Adirondack "mud season," which we refer to as "waterfall season" because of the incredible waterfalls that mark the rapid rate of melting snow and ice, often means several hiking hot spots are closed off to us to minimize trail impact during the slushy time. Stick to lower elevations and nature trails to avoid messing with nature's splendor. After all, summer is just a few weeks away, and high season for hiking is not far behind.

man enjoying Adirondack waterfall hiking

Summer Recreation

Summer in the Adirondacks is perfect!

There, we said it. Hot days on the lake, followed by cool nights under a brilliant canopy of stars – it really doesn't get much better than that if you're into that sort of breathtaking natural beauty kind of thing. The Summer Solstice marks the high point for many Adirondack outdoor activities, including hiking, and with 2,000 miles of hiking and nature trails – you really can't take a wrong turn. Even if you do, you'll end up somewhere beautiful.

If warm breezes, the sound of waves lapping the shore, and dazzling celestial displays are your thing – think about pitching a tent at one of our Adirondack campgrounds. From rustic to downright luxurious campgrounds, the Adirondacks' camping inventory is as vast as the six million acre preserve.

Explore the Adirondacks' miles of rivers, lakes, and ponds from a unique vantage point and try stand-up paddleboarding. Rental shops are located across the region and usually within a few feet from a waterway. By the power of your own paddle, you'll glide across the water like the graceful creature you are!

man paddling in the Adirondacks during the summer

Fall Recreation

Spectacular fall foliage from endless vistas!

From the mountains into the southern foothills, fall descends on the Adirondacks' millions of acres of forests with brilliant colors and one of the longest foliage seasons on the East Coast. Grab your camera and explore the golden, red, and yellow forests of the Adirondacks from fall hiking trails, canoe routes, and scenic overlooks. Get in one last motorcycle ride, or take advantage of those Indian summer days and laze about on the dock. The Adirondacks' rural roadways are ideal for motorcycle touring, offering twisties and long expanses of pavement through remote towns and busy hubs.

One of our best-kept secrets for peak foliage viewing is to go boating on Adirondack lakes when the water is still and photograph the dazzling foliage reflected in the calm waters of the Adirondacks.

man looking out at Fall foliage in the Adirondacks during a fall hike

Winter Recreation

A winter wonderland of snow, slopes, & sun!

If summer is perfect, winter is a whole other level of Adirondack cool. Renowned as a winter playground, the Adirondacks offer a wide variety of winter activities. For some of the steepest downhill pitches in the East, Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington is home to the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies. Family-friendly ski resorts dot the Adirondacks, from Oak Mountain in Speculator, to Snow Ridge in Turin, so you're never far from schussing down the slopes.

In the Tug Hill Region, miles and miles of snowmobiling trails crisscross the region, connecting to trail networks that span New York State and cross the Canadian border. When the snow flies, the sleds zoom and all is right with the world.

For a leisurely stroll through the Adirondacks' winter wonderland, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are must-dos! From Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid to Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center in Northville, beginners and experts will find plenty of snow-covered trails to conquer.

two snowmobiles riding through the Adirondacks in winter
skiers and snowboarders in the Adirondacks

Skiing & Snowboarding

cross country skiing at Mt VanHoevenberg in the Adirondacks

Cross Country Skiing

snowmobiling in the Adirondacks Tug Hill region

Snowmobiling

whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks

Whitewater Rafting

mountain biking in the Adirondacks

Mountain Biking