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Find the Best Hiking Trails in New York

Whether hiking the Adirondack High Peaks or enjoying a day trip to a summit - the beauty you will experience while hiking New York trails will take your breath away.

Mountains have the power to enchant and to excite. To awaken a passion for wild places and a longing for the thrill of wide-open wilderness. In the Adirondack Mountains of Northern Upstate New York, adventure beckons from time-worn hiking trails that offer both solace and discovery at each turn. More than 2,000 miles of the most scenic trails in the Northeastern United States wind along forested paths, skip along waterfalls, leading to summits with 360-degree views that extend as far as the eye can see. If magic exists - its enchantment begins in the mountains.

woman hiking in the Adirondacks with her dog

Hike the 46 Adirondack High Peaks

The 46 peaks that make up the Adirondack High Peaks are each over (or at least pretty close to) 4,000 ft in elevation, and can be mostly found in the world-renowned Lake Placid Region of New York. Each offers a unique hiking experience, and it is possible to get two or three peaks done during a single day. Challenge yourself to hike all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks, enjoying beautiful vistas and challenging terrain along the way. You will meet amazing people along the trails, happy to share their tips and tricks with you as you check each peak off your list.

Hiking Options for All Abilities

Not everyone can hike to Mount Marcy's summit - the highest point in all of New York State. Several trails within the Adirondack Park provide accessible options so that everyone can enjoy the rugged beauty of the mountains. Download our FREE Adirondack Hiking Guide and Map, a great resource for hikers regardless of skill level. Find the perfect hike for your group, whether it's a leisurely stroll near a quiet lake or a more advanced trail along a waterfall.

From the lowlands in the Adirondack Tughill region to the Boreas Ponds hike in the Schroon Lake Region, the Lake Champlain coastline to the famed 46 High Peaks Wilderness area stretching from Keene Valley to Lake Placid - there's no better place to fall in love with the wilderness than at the summit of a mountain in the heart of a six-million-acre park. Our hiking books and maps are researched and written by local experts, and are available to help you on your trek through New York's hiking trails.

Plan Your Hiking Trip to the Adirondacks

Explore hiking options with descriptions of many less-traveled Adirondack hiking trails, and a list of nearby accommodations and attractions to help you start planning your Adirondack hiking adventure. Additional Adirondack trail information can always be found on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Adirondack Trail Information page.

Hiking Challenges

The Adirondacks are home to a large network of trails connecting peaks, ponds, historical sites and so much more. Within this region, 46 mountains over 4,000 feet in elevation stand above New York's largest wilderness area. To climb all 46 Hike Peaks is a challenge, indeed.

But the Adirondacks are also home to many other beautiful hikes that are far less daunting. Choose from hikes to a fire tower, waterfall, or scenic overlook. Many hikes are dog-friendly, as long as your pup is leashed.

Choose a from one of the many hiking challenges that pique your interest to start, then return and try them all one-by-one!

sunrise from Whiteface Mountain; image credit to Kevin Lenhart

Guide to Safe Adirondack Hiking

This information is provided to ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack hiking and backcountry trip and lessen your impact on the environment.

Plan your trip carefully. Learn about the area ahead of time. Read the trail guide description of the hike you will be taking and review the appropriate topographic maps. Assess the difficulty and length of the time needed to complete the trip and check Adirondack weather reports before you set out. Dress and equip yourself for the season and expected conditions. Always carry the latest Adirondack hiking books and maps. Ensure you are aware of the below Forest Preserve Regulations to avoid tickets and fines.

Never Hike Alone

Companions are for safety as well as for sharing the New York outdoors' scenery and fun. Each person in the party should know what to do in an emergency. Forest rangers recommend a minimum party size of three persons. In case of an accident, at least one person should remain with the injured person while others in the group should carefully note the location and contact the local forest ranger.

File a Trip Plan

Let a responsible person at home know what kind of car you are driving (make, color, license plate number), what your route will be and how long you will be gone. Always sign in at the trail registers. If you do not return by the designated time, the DEC should be notified.

Hydrate - Even In Cool New York Air

Carry water. Each person should carry a minimum of two quarts of water in an unbreakable bottle. Drink plenty of fluids during strenuous activity; especially in the winter and summer. Purify water. All water sources must be considered contaminated by giardia protozoan which can cause severe sickness including diarrhea. For longer hikes, pack iodine tablets or a water purifier/filter. Or bring water to a rolling boil on a portable stove for a full five minutes to kill contaminants. Use proper sanitation methods. Use a privy where one is provided.

Waste Disposal

Carry out what you carry in. Carry a garbage bag and consider picking up trash left by others. Leaving the forest cleaner than you found it is a gesture of good trail etiquette. Burial is not an acceptable method of disposal. Bury human wastes under four inches of soil at least 150 feet from the trail or any water source.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Wear sturdy boots and appropriate clothing. Trail hiking differs considerably from walking on roads. The trails are often rough with rocks and exposed roots, and there are sections of trail that are wet and muddy most of the time. Good ankle-high boots can support your ankles, give you traction and keep your feet dry. Clothing should be loose-fitting and give protection from wind, rain, and cold. Keep dry and warm. Be ready for wind and rain (or snow), pack rain and wind gear, gloves, and a hat. Know the signs of hypothermia. Avoid cotton clothing especially in fall, winter and spring hiking. Cotton has no insulating ability when wet and takes a long time to dry. Wear wool, polypropylene or poly-fleece for warmth. Pack sunscreen, insect repellent and/or a head net. A baseball hat, for the sun, and a long-sleeved shirt and light-weight nylon pants are a good idea during buggy seasons.

Pack a Adirondack Mountains Map and A Compass

Each person in the group should have both and know how to use them. Guidebook trail descriptions are useful for finding unmarked overlooks and for following poorly marked sections of trail. Stay oriented; know where you are. Summer trails can easily disappear under leaves and snow.

Be Prepared

Pack a flashlight with extra batteries, a whistle, and waterproof matches. Even if it is only for a day trip! Sometimes a hike takes longer than expected, a flashlight provides the only means to get out of the woods after dark. If lost you can't shout for long, but a whistle can be blown almost indefinitely. The signal for help is three consecutive blasts on the whistle. A smoky fire is one of the best ways to let search and rescue teams know where you are. Pack a first aid kit that includes ace bandages (to support tired joints) and moleskin (for blisters). Bring a jackknife, space blanket, extra protective clothing and high energy food items. A waterproof tarp and 30 feet of nylon cord can be used to erect an emergency shelter.

Alpine Summits Deserve Your Respect

On alpine summits walk only on rocks and avoid trampling fragile alpine vegetation. Join in the effort to save the endangered New York alpine plants. Extreme wind and weather are common on open summits. Use caution and wear protective clothing.

Don't Disturb the Wildlife

Observe and enjoy wildlife and plant life but leave them undisturbed. Picking, collecting or damaging living plants and trees on public lands is against the law. Feeding wildlife encourages animals to rely on humans for food. This is not only unhealthy but also may potentially reduce their ability to find food on their own.

Adirondack Hiking Resources

Hiking Lyon Mountain

Adirondack Hiking Challenges

Are you up to a challenge? With more than 2,000 miles of scenic trails, there’s a hiking challenge for everyone at any level seeking to test their tenacity on the trails.

woman hiking with her dog in the Adirondacks

Hiking with Dogs

summit of Ampersand Mountain

Top Scenic Hikes

Mount Marcy high peak in the Adirondacks

High Peaks Hiking

hunter in the Adirondacks

Hiking During Hunting Season

Death Brook Falls waterfall in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Waterfalls

fire tower in the Adirondacks on Azure Mountain

Adirondack Fire Towers

family hiking in the Adirondacks

Family Hikes

Hike Through the Seasons

girl in a fire tower during a summer hike in the Adirondacks

Summer Hiking

Summer is a busy hiking season in the Adirondacks. Hit the trails early and enjoy the views!

muddy shoes hiking in the Adirondacks

Spring Hiking

Adirondack fall foliage

Fall Hiking

Fall hiking in the Adirondacks offers some of the best fall foliage viewing in all of New York State.

person at top of a mountain during a winter hike in the Adirondacks

Winter Hiking

Grab your snowshoes, put on some layers, and discover the beauty of Winter hiking in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Books & Maps

In the Adirondacks, a good Adirondack hiking map or guidebook is essential for enjoying all that the six-million-acre wilderness has to offer. Find multi-day and day hike trips in guidebooks created by knowledgeable and experienced Adirondack hikers.

Download our free Adirondack Great Walks & Day Hikes Guide and enjoy a variety of hiking experiences. Trek to historic sites, Great Camps and along old logging trails reclaimed by nature; wind along picturesque trails and picnic near waterfalls or summit one of the highest peaks in New York and marvel at the panoramic view. The Adirondack Region also offers multiple universally accessible trails so that everyone can experience the beauty of the six-million-acre park.

Adirondack Mountain Guidebooks

The Adirondack Mountain Club offers several guides with detailed maps and directions to Adirondack hiking trails across the region, providing a comprehensive collection of hiking experiences. Maps and hiking guides are available for purchase at Adirondack bookstores and outfitters throughout the region, as well as online at Adirondack Mountain Club guides include maps, trail descriptions, hiking tips and directions to trailheads around the park.

Adirondack Stores that Carry Hiking Guidebooks & Maps

  • Bookstore Plus – 2491 Main Street, Lake Placid
  • The Mountaineer – 1866 NYS Route 73, Keene Valley
  • Eastern Mountain Sports – 2453 Main Street, Lake Placid
  • Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) – 814 Goggins Road, Lake George
  • Crossroads Outdoors – 40 Dixon Road, Chestertown
  • Hoss's Country Corner – 1142 Main Street, Long Lake
  • Hudson River Trading Company – 292 Main Street, North Creek
  • Blue Line Sports LLC – 81 Main Street, Saranac Lake
  • Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters – 541 Lake Flower Avenue, Saranac Lake
  • St. Regis Canoe Outfitters – 73 Dorsey Street, Saranac Lake

From Adirondack canoe routes to ski touring trails, adventure awaits on more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails winding from lakeshore to mountain peak. Find your adventure and always be prepared with an Adirondack trail map or guidebook.

Adirondack map; image credit to Frank Fina