Adirondack Hiking & Backpacking

Boots on the ground, hearts in the mountains

There are endless hiking options available for finding adventure and solitude in the Adirondacks, where a lot of the land is publicly owned and available for recreation. It's a place where hiking trails crisscross the landscape and outdoor opportunities for any age and skill level abound. That means there's also variety — trips ranging in length from under an hour to several days can all be found here. We have short walks in the woods (many to waterfalls) as well as more challenging terrain (like some of the fire tower hikes) for those who are ready to tackle the bigger mountains and trips.

Unsure where to go? Let a licensed New York state guide show you the way! For trip ideas, see which hikes the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation recommends: Hikes outside of the High Peaks (ou en Francais).

Northville-Placid Trail

Looking for a little more adventure? It's time for you to explore the Northville-Placid Trail! Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2024, the NPT is 138 miles of historic Adirondack trail, amid some of the most peaceful wilderness you'll find anywhere. Go for a thru-hike of the whole trail, or enjoy a day hike from trail access points. Either way, you'll be a part of something special.

A blue banner reads "Celebrate the trail and join the festivities."

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks. Before heading out, be sure to review the Leave No Trace principles and make sure you are prepared with hiking essentials!

Preparation is important in any season, but specially so in colder months. In winter, it is especially important to come prepared and practice ways to Love Your ADK; the best way to avoid emergencies is to properly plan and prepare for your trip.

If you're interested in keeping our trails in great condition, consider donating to the Hamilton County Trail Improvement Fund! This partnership with the DEC is an opportunity to improve access to some of our favorite local trails. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I hike safely during hunting season?

During this time, hunters may also be out and about in our shared outdoors. It's important to stay alert and know who you’re on the trails with. Always prioritize safety during hunting season to enjoy your hike without incidents. We know how essential it is to prepare for your next hiking trip during hunting season, and we've come prepared with all the info you need! For more guidance on hunting zones, dates, and times, visit the NYS DEC website to learn more.

How can I hike safely during mud season?

"Mud season" is the time between winter and early spring when the snow starts to melt and temperatures finally heat up. This snow melt can make for some pretty messy and muddy conditions on the trails. It's important to be prepared if you're going to hike during this time. 

  • To prevent trail erosion and damage to plants during mud season, avoid hiking trails above 3,000 feet until they have dried.
  • Before you go, check trail conditions. Pack rain gear, hats, gloves, and extra warm layers for higher elevations.
  • Wear or carry snowshoes, crampons or other traction devices, use of snowshoes is necessary as the snowpack melts and softens. 
  • Do not try to cross through cold, high, fast flowing waters. Stay where you are and call for assistance. 

For more information, visit the NYS DEC website

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Waterfront Park
Northville, NY 12134
When it was created by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922, the Northville-Lake Placid Trail was originally designed to be an alternate way to connect the train stations in two communities, Northville and Lake Placid.
Carry your room with you on this through hike trail.
Route 28N
Newcomb, NY 12852
Goodnow is a very prominent peak when seen from Route 28N. This ragged-looking mountain is home to one of the remaining fire towers in the Adirondacks.
The view from the Goodnow Mountain firetower is one of the best in the Adirondacks.
Endion Road
Long Lake, NY 12847
Owls Head Mountain is part of the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, which covers an impressive approximate 45,000 acres. This rather prominent peak in the Long Lake area is made up of four separate summits, two of which are referred to as the horns.
The fire tower adds more scenic possibilities.
Route 30
Long Lake, NY 12847
As far as views go, this is one of the best in the area and should not be missed. The waters of Tupper Lake can be seen to the north as well and the wooded hills of the Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest to the west.
Great views and a sense of accomplishment when the summit is reached.
Route 56
Cranberry Lake, NY 12927
These falls are unique and not often visited. Here, you’ll only find the peaceful sound of water rushing the falls. The views downstream of the falls are just as lovely as the falls themselves.
Spring is the most lively time at Moody Falls.
Twitchell Road
Lake Pleasant, NY 12108
Oswego Pond is gorgeous in late fall.
Oswego Pond is gorgeous in late fall.
Cedar River Road
Indian Lake, NY 12842
A fine wilderness adventure. Getting there The Northville-Placid Wakely Dam Trailhead is located at the end of the Cedar River Road. GPS coordinates are 43.7277°N, 74.4741°W.
Otter Brook Road
Inlet, NY 13360
This short hike is perfect, especially during the splendor of fall. The Falls Pond and West Canada Wilderness Area trailhead has a large parking area leading to some 4,000 acres of pristine forest.
Look for this distinct sign in the trail.
Limekiln Lake Road
Inlet, NY 13360
The Old Dam Nature Trail loop, located near Limekiln Lake campsite #87 on the back side of the leach field, is an easy 1.6 mile hike.
There's interesting scenery on all the hiking trails at Limekiln Lake.
Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Inlet, NY 13360
The easily accessible Lost Ponds are some of the most scenic bodies of water in the region. Great for hiking, mountain biking, and paddling, any activity you choose is going to memorable.
Narrows and cliffs add to the paddling interest of Lost Ponds.
Cedar River Road
Indian Lake, NY 12842
Wakely Mountain’s 70-foot tower is one of the highest in New York state, and the tower stairs afford an excellent view of the West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the south and great views of the High Peaks to the north on clear days. 
The Wakely Mountain Firetower offers the best views from the wooded summit.
Moose River Plains Wild Forest 44.3097817,-75.3235516
Inlet, NY 13360
Wolf Lake was named by French Louie himself, after he saw many wolves in the area. He and Charles Henderson have been photographed here.
Moose River Plains
Inlet, NY 13360
Don't let an intimidating name fool you. This little pond is well worth the effort. Great views and frequent wildlife sightings should put this short trip on your to-do list.
Helldiver Pond is scenic and easy to access with an easy carry.
Route 30
Long Lake, NY 12847
A fully accessible wilderness area located near Long Lake, it has picnic areas for day trips, space for overnights, and room to enjoy the wilderness.
Route 30
Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812
Sawyer is one of the more popular routes in the Indian Lake Region, mainly due to its excellent payoff for little effort. Fun for the entire family, Sawyer should not be missed.
Gorgeous views from the summit of Sawyer Mountain.
Lake Pleasant, NY 12108
Pillsbury Mountain is one of those peaks that has a spectacular, remote, backcountry feel. A maze of scenic backroads will get you there, but you need to take it slow as they can be very rough at times.
Route 30
Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812
For the better part of the last century, Blue Mountain has been one of the most frequently climbed Adirondack mountains. And for good reason! The striking view, with Blue Mountain Lake below, is very popular among locals and visitors alike.
Blue Mountain is near the center of many lakes.
Route 30
Indian Lake, NY 12842
Snowy is one of the more demanding hikes in Hamilton County and is also one of the 100 highest highest peaks in the Adirondacks. Its steep trail and rugged terrain will make you earn every bit of this mountain's elevation.
A wonderfully framed sunrise is the reward for a winter campout.

Leave No Trace 7 Principles

The Adirondack Park provides a haven of pristine wilderness in New York state’s northernmost reaches. It also offers an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities for explorers of all ages and experience levels! While you enjoy your visit, please keep the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace in mind. Set forth by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and championed by many partners within the Adirondack Park, these principles will not only improve your own nature experience, but they help preserve this unparalleled natural wonder for generations to come.

1
Know before you go
 
 
Be prepared! Remember food, water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat, and rain.     
Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and avoid getting lost. Learn about the areas you plan to visit.
2
Stick to trails and camp overnight right
 
 
Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants. Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation.
3
Trash your trash and pick up poop
 
 
Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter—even crumbs, peels and cores—in garbage bags and carry it home. Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If they're not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps from water and the trail.
4
Leave it as you find it
 
 
Leave plants, rocks, and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them. Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking, or peeling plants may kill them.
5
Be careful with fire
 
 
Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire. If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat. Keep your fire small.
6
Keep wildlife wild
 
 
Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow them. Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits. Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.
7
Share our trails and manage your pet
 
 
Be considerate when passing others on the trail. Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors, and wildlife. Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.