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Adirondack Experience Region

Hamilton County is located in the heart of the Adirondack Park. The region is home to several historic Great Camps and celebrated attractions such as Adirondack Experience - The Museum at Blue Mountain. The Adirondack Experience Region also holds the distinction of being the least populated county in the entire eastern United States, offering incredible outdoor recreation in pristine Adirondack wilderness.

Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondack Experience Region

In the Adirondack Experience Region, public lands comprise 95 percent of the county - spanning one million acres of forest, mountains and lakes. It is one of the only areas in the entire Adirondack Park where you can charter Adirondack float plane rides with a licensed Adirondack guide for a backcountry camping or fishing trip. 

In Blue Mountain Lake, the namesake mountain and lake can be seen from Adirondack Experience - The Museum at Blue Mountain Lake's grounds. Known as the "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks," the museum spans several manicured acres and boasts multiple buildings filled with historic treasures.

Incredible Wilderness Recreation

For centuries, this region has been a haven for outdoor recreation. Find scenic hiking trails that skip the crowds but not the spectacular views, paddle deep lakes and cast a line for native fish species.

Hudson River whitewater rafting is a top activity throughout the summer and is especially popular during spring's "big water" season. Melting snow and ice create Class IV-V rapids on sections of the Hudson River - creating whitewater conditions comparable to those found in the Western United States. As the seasons mellow, so do the rapids and conditions are perfect for families and groups who want the thrill of shooting the rapids on calmer waters. 

An abundance of Adirondack freshwater fishing can be found on the region's deep lakes. Fish for Lake Trout, Land-locked Salmon, and Bass along quiet coves, shaded inlets and stretches of riffle. Paddle secluded waters and cast a line or fly fish with on scenic rivers and enjoy the peaceful serenity of a day spent in the Adirondack Experience Region. 

In summer, enjoy sandy beaches on lakes throughout Hamilton County, including the Inlet Beach which provides lifeguards and sponsors family-friendly events. 

In winter, the region is transformed by snow into an expansive winter wonderland. More than 750 miles of snowmobiling trails wind through towns and villages, along roadways and offer easy access to restaurants and gas stations. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are big winter sports in the Adirondack Experience Region, and several ski centers offer groomed trails. Ice fishing is also a big draw for sportsmen and pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge and walleye are in season all winter long.

whitewater rafting on the Hudson River in the Adirondack Experience Region

Adirondack Boreal Birding Opportunities

The vast stretches of pristine forest, coupled with canoe trails and mountain peaks create ideal habitats for several species of boreal birds. Each June, Hamilton County hosts the Adirondack Birding Festival, which includes guided bird-watching expeditions, lectures, and educational talks. Travel to the mountaintop habitat of the Bicknell's Thrush, paddle through wetlands and glimpse water birds such as Great Blue Herons and Scarlett Tanagers. One of the best places for birding, paddling and backcountry hiking is the Moose River Plains, which spans nearly 50,000 acres.

Adirondack bird

Scenic Hiking Trails

Waterfall hikes can be found in profusion throughout the region. From Auger Falls to Buttermilk Falls - find beautiful scenery perfect for any hiking trip. Historic fire towers are located on several Adirondack Peaks, including Blue Mountain and Pillsbury Mountain. Some of the most popular hikes in Hamilton County include:

  • Castle Rock in Blue Mountain Lake
  • Chimney Mountain in Indian Lake
  • Adirondack Waterfall Hikes
Auger Falls; image credit to Dig the Falls

Adirondack Experience Culture

Hamilton County is home to several of the most historic and cherished Adirondack Great Camps. It was here, in the village of Raquette Lake that William West Durant first conceived of Great Camp Sagamore. Soon, America's wealthiest families were traveling north from New York City to enjoy the Adirondacks in their "Great Camps." These massive compounds were built in the "rustic aesthetic," mimicking the surrounding wilderness, and offering every conceivable luxury. Visitors are welcome to visit Great Camp Sagamore and The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake for special events or an overnight stay, and Camp Pine Knot is open to visitors for tours certain times of the year.

The Adirondack Great Camps tradition is cherished in the Adirondack Experience region. Many of the historic camps were built on Raquette Lake, and visitors can glimpse these architectural treasures aboard the W.W. Durant Cruise Ship. The Raquette Lake Navigation Company offers scenic boat rides around the lake from June through the fall foliage season.

Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette lake

Visit the Adirondack Experience Region