New York State’s Adirondack Park, which encompasses more than 6 million acres of land, is the largest park within the contiguous United States. Known for its breathtaking scenery, thousands of bodies of water, and 46 famed High Peaks, the park is said to attract 7 to 10 million tourists each year!
This nature-lovers’ paradise is a perfect weekend getaway from both Montreal and New York City. Due to its vast size, it can take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours driving north of the Big Apple or 2 to 3 hours driving south of Montreal to reach most sites within the park. For those traveling without their own vehicles, the Adirondack Park is still easy to access by train with service running up and down the eastern side of the state daily. Connecting bus service is then available to many of the popular nearby locations.
Though the area is awe-inspiring year round, autumn and winter are especially beautiful times to venture north. In fall the mountains become ablaze with colour, covered with a mixture of deep evergreens and broad-leafed trees. Not too long after these colours pass, the area is covered with a blanket of snow, creating the surface for many types of winter recreation!
Must see locations
The village of Lake Placid, notable for its association with the Winter Olympic Games, is a charming town to visit any time of year, and particularly in the colder months. Main Street is always great for strolling and is full of local shops and restaurants to enjoy. To really immerse yourself in the North Country scenery, venture over to the iconic Whiteface Mountain and take a gondola ride to the top, or tour High Falls Gorge for views of waterfalls over granite cliffs. Active opportunities around the village are endless with skiing, bobsledding, snowshoeing, hiking, and horseback riding all nearby. Additionally, travellers can head a bit west to visit the Wild Center, a new establishment dedicated to researching the wildlife of the area and to educating the public about it.
The Ausable Chasm is a great location to visit on the northern side of the park. Open since 1870, the chasm is a sandstone gorge that offers tourist opportunities year round, including trails for walking and hiking, rafting, tubing, mountain biking, rappelling, and snowshoeing. The area is also known for its apple orchards, many of which offer themed activities year-round!
Lake George is a choice location for those visiting the southern edge, and its proximity to Gore Mountain makes it a great option for those looking for outdoor recreation. The area is particularly attractive to hot air ballooning enthusiasts, with its many operators and a festival each fall. History buffs can visit Fort Ticonderoga, of French and Indian War Fame, which still stands at the passageway to Lake Champlain.