Skip to main content

Scenic Drives & Byways in the Adirondacks

Beautiful vistas, views, scenic overlooks, and secluded treasures abound in the Adirondacks. Sometimes a little windshield time is the best way to take it all in.

The Adirondacks are crisscrossed by miles of New York State Scenic Byways. From the award-winning Lake to Locks Passage along Lake Champlain, to the deep forests and winding whitewater of the Black River, saddle up, suit up or put the top down and prepare to see the Adirondacks from some of the most picturesque roadways in the world.

Explore the Adirondack Scenic Byways, offering short rides and multi-day adventures!

scenic road to Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks

What is a Scenic Byway?

Scenic Byways are roads with stories to tell, experiences to share and adventures to chase. They are the connections between the past and the present, where exploration is offered at each curve in the road for motorcyclists, drivers, and cyclists. Drive or ride the Revolutionary Trail and explore the area's important historic military sites and forts, or travel along the Seaway Trail, winding around the Lake Ontario Basin, and the mighty St. Lawrence River. Freedom of the open, scenic road awaits.

These classic highways also serve to showcase some of the Adirondack Region's best attractions, restaurants, and cultural sites, providing easy access to festivals and events.

Motorcycling the Adirondacks' Byways

For hundreds of miles, you can ride your Spyder or motorcycle in the Adirondacks and never ride the same road twice. Spend the day wine tasting along the Adirondack Coast, stretch your legs at nature centers and scenic lookouts or enjoy one of the Adirondacks' annual motorcycle events. You can also find some of the most scenic routes to enjoy on your trip at GoTourNY.com.

Grab a group of friends and ride the Adirondacks' smooth motorways. Download our scenic byways map and start planning your canyon carving adventure.

motorcycle in the Adirondacks with a scenic view

Adirondack Fall Bus Tours

Each autumn, the Adirondacks trade lush green forests for a rainbow of color and one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country. Group bus tours will enjoy a leisurely pace through the Adirondacks, stopping for photo ops of glistening lakes and mountainsides of radiant color.

fall in the Adirondacks

Road Biking the Adirondacks

Road biking the Byways of the Adirondacks provides a new perspective on the region's six million acres – not to mention, challenging terrain ideal for competitive racers and the weekend cyclist. Whether joining in one of the organized group touring expeditions such as Cycle Adirondacks or participating in racing competitions such Tinman in Tupper Lake, the byways unfold like new stories to a favorite Adirondack tale.

road biking in the Adirondacks

Top Scenic Drives in the Adirondacks

scenic drive in the Adirondacks, the Whiteface Mountain Veterans' Highway

Summer Sight-Seeing

Some of our more famous – or infamous – residents have left their mark over the years, creating small wonders to amuse and entertain. As you drive through the towns, villages, and wilderness of the Adirondacks, keep an eye out for some of these unique roadside attractions:

Painted Pig Rock – Speculator

Every so often, nature provides us with an opportunity we simply can't resist. That seems to be the case for the artists behind Painted Pig Rock in Speculator. Along the side of Indian Lake Road is a modestly-sized rock that resembles a pig's face with a pronounced snout. Legend has it that the rock was created by a road construction project in the mid-50s, and a few years later the daughters of a nearby resident accentuated the resemblance by painting the rock grey with a white eye and snout. Painted Pig Rock has become such a staple of the area that protesters saved the rock from being destroyed in a second building project in the 90s.
Address: Indian Lake Rd, Speculator, NY

Giant ADK Chair – Brant Lake

I think we can all agree – Adirondack chairs are kind of a big deal. Comfortable and classic, their popularity has expanded well beyond the Blue Line. Throughout the park, you will find several larger-than-life models that make for perfect picture opportunities. Supposedly, the 12-foot Adirondack Chair at Brant Lake Camp, built in 2005 for the 90th anniversary of the camp, was the first of its giant kind. Whether that's true or not, it's an iconic sight and well worth the climb up into the seat for a photo.
Address: 7586 State Route 8, Brant Lake, NY 12815

Olympic Ski Jumps – Lake Placid

This is one roadside attraction you simply cannot miss. Towering above Lake Placid, and visible in the sky from miles around, are the massive 90 and 120-meter Olympic Ski Jumps constructed for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Athletes continue to train and compete on these jumps, and visitors can take a trip to the top for incredible views of the High Peaks. Venture out onto the platform and imagine gliding down the steep ramps before flying through the air on skis – it's enough to make your knees wobble!
Address: 5486 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946

High Falls Gorge – Wilmington

Sprinkled throughout the Adirondack Park are numerous breathtaking waterfalls, but getting to the majority of them first requires explorers to take a hike. High Falls Gorge in Wilmington is an exception. Conveniently located along Route 86 on your way from Lake Placid to Whiteface Mountain and Wilmington, High Falls Gorge makes natural beauty easily accessible. Groomed walkways and bridges allow you to meander next to, over, and in front of the water, providing excellent angles for both viewing and photographing the falls. Stretch your legs on their trails and hit up the gift shop for a souvenir or snack before hopping back in the car!
Address: 4761 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997

Elephant Rock – Hague

Similar to Painted Pig Rock, Elephant Rock is a natural formation turned phenomenon with the help of an artist's hand. Along Route 8 in Hague is a uniquely folded rock formation that looks remarkably like an elephant with its face turned toward the road. The addition of painted eyes, tusks, and a few trunk wrinkles make the resemblance undeniable. Located off the main drag, visiting this attraction will take you on an exciting adventure through Adirondack back roads.
Address: Route 8, Hague, New York 12836 USA

Scenic Fall Drives

The Adirondacks are crisscrossed by backcountry roads and rural routes, passing through small villages offering hidden gems of culinary satisfaction or distilled spirits perfect for a pumpkin spice hot toddy. So, put the top down on your car or let out the clutch on your motorcycle, and head to these top scenic drives for autumn to experience the blurring colors of autumn as you whizz by.

Blue Ridge Road

Blue Ridge Road starts in the town of North Hudson. After you've toured through the Stone Bridge and Caves and, popped into Fort Ticonderoga, head west on Blue Ridge Road toward Newcomb. This remote road cuts right through the northern section of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. At one point, you'll drive through a golden tunnel of fall leaves. In Newcomb, continue on Route 28N to Long Lake and stop at Hoss's Country Corner Store for snacks and some shopping. This route is 26 miles from North Hudson to Long Lake.

Seaway Trail

Seaway Trail starts in Massena near the Canadian Border and travels around Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for over 100 miles. Follow the Scenic Byways signs with footprints and waves on them, driving to Alexandria Bay and take a boat tour to Heart Island for a sightsee through Boldt Castle. From Alex Bay, as it's called, head to Clayton and Cape Vincent, stopping at any one of the small fishing towns for a traditional Shore Dinner. In Cape Vincent, tour the Tibbets Point Lighthouse and continue on to Henderson Harbor for some great fall foliage photo opps.

Black River Trail

Black River Trail traverses over 100 miles from the Canadian border to the city of Rome, but we suggest hopping on in Lowville, home of the annual Cream Cheese Festival held the third Saturday in September. After eating your fill of cheesecake, cheese Danishes and bagels and lox, head south on route 26 driving through rural farm country. Stop at Whetstone Gulf State Park to hike along the ridge of the gulf for some really unique photos, and continue south to Turin for a bite to eat at Steak N' Brew.