You don’t need to be an avid hiker, paddler, or outdoor explorer to enjoy the beauty of fall in the Adirondacks. Wherever you go within this six-million-acre park you will find brilliant fall foliage. From the shores of lakes and rivers to the tops of mountains and the bases of valleys, changing leaves transform the landscape into a vibrant color show.
Experience the blazing reds, oranges, and yellows from the comfort of your car when you take a fall foliage road trip through Hamilton County. With as many as seven scenic stops along the way, this route is perfect for nature photographers and leaf peepers who want to maximize their fall views. Download your favorite tunes, throw on your coziest travel sweater, and hit the open road to see the best color show mother nature has to offer.
Your ultimate fall foliage tour begins just north of the Hamilton County border in Tupper Lake. Stock up on warm, freshly baked donuts from the Washboard Donut Shop and Laundromat (yes, you read that correctly) and a spiced latte from Well Dressed Foods, then settle into the car and head west on Route 30 toward Long Lake. Hands-down one of the most epic stretches of road in the Adirondacks, the undulating pavement appears to merge perfectly into the horizon, creating the illusion that you are driving straight into the mountains. Talk about an Insta-worthy shot!
Long Lake Bridge
Not long after you cross into Hamilton County you will be greeted by the charming village of Long Lake. Follow Route 30 into the village and you will cross over an old iron bridge spanning a narrow section of the namesake lake. The rust-colored bridge perfectly matches the fiery colors that stretch along the shoreline as far as the eye can see. Pull off at the public beach, grab a blanket and your donuts, and enjoy a cozy snack while you take in the views.
Blue Mountain Beach
Continue on Route 30 through the village and, when you reach the T intersection next to Hoss’s Country Store, take a right onto 28N. Follow this scenic route to Blue Mountain Lake, home of Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. While some of the best foliage views can be seen from the museum’s campus, the public beach downtown also provides a stunning scene. Mountains seem to rise straight out of the water, and small islands interrupt the bright blue surface with splotches of fall color.
In Blue Mountain, 28N turns into Route 28. Follow that down winding roads through dense forests until you reach Raquette Lake. At this point in your journey, take a break from the car and experience fall foliage from the water. Turn right onto Route 2 and continue onto Antlers Road. Soon you will reach a marina where you can board the W.W. Durant. The beautiful double-decker boat offers scenic and dining cruises around one of the most popular and historic Adirondack lakes. Home to more Great Camps than anywhere else in the region, a cruise on the W.W. Durant will reveal Raquette Lake’s architectural as well as natural wonders.
Seventh Lake Boat Launch
Back on dry land, the adventure continues. Return to Route 28 and head south toward Inlet, where you’ll find two breathtaking vistas. Before you arrive in this small mountain town, keep an eye out for the Seventh Lake boat launch on your right. While a boat launch might not seem like much of a destination, it’s a perfect spot to gaze at the distant hills of the Fulton Chain Wild Forest, all lit up in fall colors.
Make your way into Inlet and you will find a large parking area to your left. Follow the walking paths from the parking lot to Arrowhead Park on the shores of Fourth Lake. Benches lining the waterfront are perfect for sitting and enjoying the view of Eagle Bay. When the waning daylight makes it hard to pick out the fall colors, head back into town and sate your appetite with a piping hot pizza at the Screaming Eagle.
Take a detour and turn toward Speculator, a small town on the shores of Lake Pleasant where you can take in fall foliage around almost every turn. Stroll the scenic shopping district or dig your toes into the sand at Speculator's public beach and watch the foliage reflect on the serene waters. And while we can't guarantee peak colors, we can promise a great time if you come on Sunday, Oct. 6, for Oaktoberfest, an annual celebration at Oak Mountain. In addition to live music, a German buffet, family entertainment, and craft vendors, the ski mountain's chairlift is open to pedestrians so you can enjoy mountaintop views without taking a hike!
Start planning for that perfect fall foliage tour by booking your lodging today!