The Adirondack Park is located in the northeast region of NY and the largest state-level protected area in the contiguous US. The park contains the entire Adirondack Mountain range and thousands of streams, rivers and brooks. The most popular lake is Lake Placid, adjacent to the village that housed the Winter Olympics twice (1932 and 1980). The park is also where the Hudson river originates.
My first trip to the Adirondacks was in 2008, when I joined my coworkers on a hiking and camping trip. Since then, I've visited the park at least once a year.
Hiking enthusiasts climb the 46 High Peaks, which originally believed to comprise peaks higher than 4000 ft (there are 4 under the elevation and one wasn't included today). When they finish climbing all 46 peaks, they can apply for the Adirondack Forty-Sixers (ADK 46R) memberships. If they are even ambitious and have climbed all peaks during the winter, they can become the Winter 46ers.
There are many villages and townships visitors can stay. Some of the popular sites are Adirondack Loj, Lake Placid village and Keene Valley. These sites have cabins, cottages, inns and hotels that offer beautiful views of the park. In addition, visitors can camp in the numerous camping sites around the park. They are cheaper alternatives and provide clean amenities and camping grounds. Some of the campgrounds are located close to the trail heads. Hikers can backpack and set up camp in the many lean-to or camp grounds located deep in the woods.
Besides climbing the High Peaks, visitors can embark on easier hikes to smaller mountains, waterfalls, lakes, etc in the park. They can rent kayaks or canoes and spend a few hours on the lakes and rivers. In addition, visitors can bike or run along the winding roads and enjoy the crisp air and foliage. If one prefers less-strenuous physical activities, there are museums, shops, etc that one can venture in.
Adirondack Park is home to many wildlife and plants. Deer wander in and out the roads (beware while driving!), birds flock in trees and skies, bugs and insects dwell among us. If you are fortunate (or not?), you may spot a black bear. Visitors can enjoy the bountiful maple, white pine, pine, white cedar, spruce, beech, etc trees. They are a sight to behold in the fall! On occasions, one may spot wild berries growing in the woods.
Since the park is preserved and home to multiple wild lives, visitors must abide to the strict rules and regulations. Firewood cannot be transported from more than 50 miles. If so, it must be heat treated. This is to stop the the spread of tree-killing beetles such as the emerald ash borer. Extra caution must be taken when camping and cooking food in the forest. Black bears are intelligent creatures and they should not be fed or enticed. Most trails and campgrounds practice "leave no trace" - carry out what you carry in.
The following are good sites to read more about hiking in the ADK:
Below are the list of the 46 High Peaks. The "Climbed on M.Year" column indicates the mountains I have climbed using designated trails.
Last Modified: 8/25/2011
8/22-25, 2013: Camped at Lake Harris campground (campsite #40) with my coworkers and friends. Saw old iron building and climbed Mount Adams where there stood an old fire tower. Snacked on wild blackberries. The next day, we climbed Mount Goodnow, a non-DEC trail which was easier and has an old fire tower. Gorgeous warm weekend but cool nights.
2/9-10, 2013: Joined 3 other friends on a skiing trip at Gore Mt. Winter storm Nemo dumped a lot of snow on Friday. Stayed at the Inn on Gore Mt (I won't recommend it for the price we paid) and skiied the entire Sunday. Great experience.
9/1-3, 2012: Introduced ADK to my German friend. Hiked to Cascade lake, walked and had dinner at Old Forge. Spent the night in Utica and left for Lake George. Visited the bustling town, witnessed CPR performed and climbed Buck mountain after taking a while searching for the trailhead. It was located at the north end of Pilot Knob road. Saw signs of early fall foliage.
10/7-9, 2011: Camped at Indian Lake campground island with 13 new friends. To get there, we canoed and kayaked. Hiked to catch a view of the surroundings. Beautiful fall weekend.
8/25-28, 2011: Camped at Heart Lake with coworkers. Climbed Phelps on Friday, and Big and Little Crows on Saturday. Sang and played music in camp- video attached. Left camp early due to heavy downpour, lingering weather from Hurricane Irene. Learned a few days later that Irene flooded Keene Valley and wiped away bridges (including where we camped) and trails.
8/19-21, 2011: Stayed in Blueberry Cottage with friends. Climbed Esther and Whiteface mountains on Saturday. Started from the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center in the AM, climbed to Esther first and then Whiteface. Got a ride down the mountain.
8/26-29, 2010: Camped at Lake Harris with coworkers. Climbed Cascade and Porter mountains on Friday. Left trail head off Route 73W in the AM, climbed to Cascade first and then Porter before returning to parking lot in the PM.
7/16-18, 2010: Camped at Caroga Lake with friends. Climbed Kane Mountain, hiked to Stewart Lake and searched for crystals at Crystal Grove mines.
8/28-30, 2009: Camped at Lincoln Pond with coworkers and my parents. Rained all weekend, except Sunday. Didn't hike but drove to Whiteface and Lake Placid village.
7/10-12, 2009: Camped with friends. Hiked Blue Mountain. Rained heavily while returning to parking lot.
8/22-24, 2008: Camped at Heart Lake with coworkers. Hiked to Avalanche lake from Adirondack Loj on Saturday. Climbed Roostercomb mountain and held memorial service for founder of the PTS Hiking Group.