A remarkably scenic region in upstate New York, the Adirondack Mountains are a haven for outdoor adventure. From family trips through the forest to wild rafting excursions, these spectacular mountains feature fun attractions for every type of traveler. Adirondack Mountains vacation rentals are the perfect home base after a day full of hiking, learning history, wine tasting, and more. Start your trip-planning with these popular activities.
1. Ride the Rails
Ride through the stunning Adirondack wilderness aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railway. This family-friendly company offers a variety of themed rides, including a fall foliage tour and Polar Express ride around Christmas. Alternatively, sit back and enjoy the scenery as forests, lakes, and mountains pass by on a trip between any of the railway’s four stations.
2. Ski Gore Mountain
When the snow falls, hit the slopes at Gore Mountain in North Creek, New York. Spread over four different mountain peaks, the resort offers 14 lifts and 109 different trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. There’s no need to haul your ski gear between vacation rentals; the mountain provides rental packages for skis, snowboards, snowshoes, and cross-country skis.
3. Take a Wild Walk Through the Treetops
Stroll above the treetops on the Wild Center’s Wild Walk. This system of bridges and walkways sits high above the ground, giving you a unique view on the local forests. Climb through a staircase built into a tree, hold your breath as you cross a swinging bridge, and end your walk by taking in the views from a giant bird’s nest.
4. Ride a Bobsled
Indulge your need for speed at the Bobsled Experience at Whiteface Mountain. Feel like an Olympic athlete as you hop into a bobsled and fly a 1/2 mile down a wild, twisty track. A professional driver and brake operator keep everything safe, so you can sit back and enjoy the intense speeds.
5. Raft the Hudson River
If you’re visiting the Adirondacks in the summer, experience the Hudson River aboard a whitewater raft. Adirondack River Outfitters Adventures offers exciting rafting tours that run from the Indian River and down through the awe-inspiring Hudson River Gorge. Along the way, paddle quickly as your boat sails over rapids and dips into holes. The trip ends with a barbecue at the company’s base.
6. Explore Fort Ticonderoga
Learn about the origins of the United States at Fort Ticonderoga, a crucial location for trappers and settlers starting from its construction in 1775. See where inhabitants slept in the soldiers’ barracks, explore the artillery collection along the fort’s wall, and see what soldiers ate in the Pottery, Pork, and Pigeon area.
7. Summit Mount Colden
One of the Adirondacks’ most exciting attractions for outdoor enthusiasts, the hike up the summit of Mount Colden is a trip to remember. Leave early for the 12.6-mile journey, which takes you over the stunning Avalanche Pass and up through a system of ladders and boardwalks. This challenging hike offers some of the best views in the area. If you forgot hiking boots or wind gear, stop by The Mountaineer in Keene Valley for supplies.
8. Paddle the St. Regis Canoe Area
Enjoy pristine wilderness views from the water in the St. Regis Canoe Area in Franklin County. The site is home to a variety of water trails; one of the most popular is the Seven Carries, which runs from Little Clear Pond to Lower St. Regis Lake. Admission to the canoe area is free, and you can rent boats from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters.
9. Go Mountain Biking in the Whiteface Region
Put your biking skills to the test at Whiteface Mountain Bike Park. With 27 different trails, you can opt for gentle cross-country routes or mountain trails with heart-pounding drops and turns. Be sure to bring protective gear, particularly if you plan to take the Cloudsplitter gondola to the summit for a wild ride down.
10. Tour the Ausable Chasm
One of the Adirondack Mountains’ most iconic attractions, the Ausable Chasm offers active adventures and fantastic views. The best way to see the area is on the chasm’s Classic Tour, which includes a scenic hike and a tubing or rafting experience. Hike past sheer rock walls, cross the river on swinging bridges and stand in awe on the natural stone walkways of the Inner Sanctum Trail.
11. Experience the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail
One of the United States’ newest wine regions, the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail is a must-do. Spend a day visiting the trail’s six family-run wineries, which are scattered along a manageable 33-mile route. With its relaxed vibe and unparalleled Lake Champlain scenery, this route is great for couples and groups.
12. Have an Adirondack Experience
Learn about life in the Adirondacks throughout the centuries at the Adirondack Experience museum. Walk through a historic train car, see artifacts from the Mohawk and Abenaki tribes, and explore a replica of an Adirondack hunting camp. If you’re bringing kids, enjoy the interactive discovery stations in The Great Outdoors exhibit.
13. Ride a Steamboat on Lake George
Ride a historic steamboat with the Lake George Steamboat Company. Aboard the multi-story boats, you can check out the mountainous shoreline, watch the sunset, and marvel at the paddle wheel. Choose from a variety of cruises, including dinner cruises, fireworks cruises, and sightseeing tours.
14. Visit the Enchanted Forest Water Safari
Cool off during a hot Adirondacks summer at the Enchanted Forest Water Safari. Take the whole family on the Amazon tube ride, or twist and turn in complete darkness on the Bombay Blasters. The park also has a lazy river, a wave pool, and variety of toddler-friendly attractions.
15. Visit the John Brown Farm State Historic Site
Learn about Abolitionist history at the unique John Brown Farm State Historic Site. Walk through John Brown’s home to see historic furniture and dishes dating back to 1859. Then, explore the beautiful grounds, which are dotted with interpretive signs that explain Brown’s brave actions as he fought to end slavery.
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