At over 6 million acres, the Adirondack Mountains are the main feature in the largest publicly protected area across the lower 48 states. In the winter, this region becomes a winter wonderland filled with incredible treks and an overabundance of adventure opportunities.
The iconic town of Lake Placid is known for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games and has left the entire region populated by people who have a special love and appreciation for outdoor activities. There are so many areas to explore from Lake George to the High Peaks to the Five Ponds Wilderness.
We've put together a list of five must-do winter treks that are sure to satisfy your desire for adventure. From moderate family-friendly paths to high intensity climbs, start your explorations here:
Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain is recognizable by its stunning cliff that faces the east, a noticeable feature while traveling the Adirondack Northway. Located in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest, this 2,180-foot mountain is a very popular, highly trafficked destination in the northeastern Adirondacks.
The 5-mile round-trip route climbs approximately 1,500 feet to the summit. Atop this momentous peak stands a fire tower with incredible 360-degree views that span from the High Peaks across Lake Champlain to the Green Mountains in Vermont. In the winter, they are beautifully capped with snow.
At the heart of the Adirondacks lies the former Olympic town of Lake Placid. This bustling area is surrounded by the highest mountains in New York state. Whiteface, the fifth-highest peak, looms over the region. An approximately 7.5-mile round-trip there-and-back leads from the highway to Whiteface Landing, where there is a spectacular view across the water. This trail is a perfect adventure for those just getting used to their cross-country skis. This wide and well-traveled path contains a series of moderate rises and dips that offer a wonderful afternoon of fun and adventure.
Marcy Dam is a central destination of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area and a starting point for many challenging trails and treks. This region encompasses many of the highest mountains in New York state with sweeping valleys and waterbodies that offer stunning views and an abundance of adventure opportunities.
From South Meadows, this approximately 8-mile round-trip journey will take you across marshland and over small hills and valleys on a former maintenance road to the dam. It is a delightful route through thick evergreens and northern hardwoods that is typically well-traveled.
If you want to extend the adventure, the trail to Avalanche Lake is an incredible destination. Flanked by Mount Colden and Avalanche Mountain, this well-traveled route emerges into a frozen winter wonderland. At Avalanche Pass, icicles stretch higher than you can reach and evergreens are packed with heavy snow. The entire trek from South Meadows is about 13 miles and gains a total of 1,300 feet in elevation. This successive cascade of beauty is a wonderful sight to see and certainly worth the effort.
After a snowstorm, the trail to Coney Mountain typically has some use within a few hours. That's thanks to its panoramic views and accessibility. A few miles south of Tupper Lake, the 1.25-mile trail circles the mountain and leads up to a bald summit with an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding Adirondacks. No other trail in the area seems to offer such rewarding views with such a relatively short trek.
The Blue Mountain Wild Forest covers an area over 300 square miles and is home to many mountains that overlook the spectacular Blue Mountain Lake. Castle Rock is one of them. Standing 2,435 feet above the northern edge of the water, it offers a lovely vantage point across the lake and beyond to the Adirondack Mountains that span the horizon. A 4-mile loop leads up to the summit and circles around the mountain’s northern side. The winter season brings many snowshoers to this region to look at the frozen waterbodies and these snow-covered mountains.