So you’re a fan of the great outdoors? Then you’ll love the Adirondacks, a vast alfresco playground of jagged mountains, serene lakes, lush valleys and dense forest. This magnificent, national reserve stretches six million pristine acres from New York to the Canadian border. If you haven’t visited yet, here are ten reasons why you should.
Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course
Thrill seekers with a head for heights should make a beeline for this leafy adventure course near Lake George. As you launch yourself on high ropes from tree to tree, you’ll navigate over 100 treetop obstacles, tackle Tarzan swings and climbing walls and whizz along 11 uphill and downhill zip lines. The courses are graded according to age and height, and there are Saferoller kids’ routes for ages 6 and upwards.
A winter skiing mecca, during the summer Whiteface offers hiking trails for all abilities. Negotiate thrilling downhill mountain bike routes. Cycle or drive the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway, and enjoy a scenic bite to eat at the summit café. For the ultimate panoramic experience, take the glass walled Cloudsplitter Gondola ride to Little Whiteface pinnacle. Feast your eyes on majestic views across the Adirondacks, New England and Canada.
Attractive Tupper Lake village sits in the heart of the Adirondacks’ Ten Rivers Region. Here you can enjoy kayaking, boating, stand up paddle-boarding, water-skiing and fishing. Hike the Tupper Triad of Coney Mountain, Mt Arab and Mt Goodman, or swim and build sandcastles at Little Wolf Beach. Enjoy a fantastic star gazing session at the Sky Centre and Observatory. The village offers abundant eateries, campsites and hotels.
High Falls Gorge
Enjoy a spectacular waterfall walk at this 22 acre private nature park. Follow the series of wooden walkways and bridges that snake above the AuSable River, in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain. You’ll arrive at four vantage points where the tumbling water plunges over the ancient granite rock face. Glass floored platforms provide dramatic vistas of the falls. The circular half-mile walk takes 45 minutes and is suitable for all ages. There’s a café, gift shop and picnic area on site.
The High Peaks Wilderness
This untouched expanse houses 36 of the 46 loftiest mountains in the Adirondacks. Hikers, rock climbers and skiers flock to the 192,000 acre high peak area, where terrain varies from meadows carpeted in rare alpine flowers to jagged, exposed summits. Explore 200 miles of challenging hiking trails where you’ll earn wonderful views. At 5344 feet Mount Marcy is the tallest in the region, and the highest mountain in New York State.
Adirondack Coast Wine Trail
Explore 33 miles of scenic roads and vineyards by car or bike along the gorgeous shores of Lake Champlain. Established in 2013, the newest wine trail in the U.S. takes in six family-owned wineries and farms. After a trip to the tasting rooms, enjoy a meal of home cooked produce, and a glass or two of smoky red Marquette or robust Frontenac.
Olympic Sport Complex, Lake Placid
Watch training ski jumpers sail through the air, then fly down a zip line alongside the 90 m jump and feel the adrenalin as you hit 30 miles per hour. Take the skyride gondola to the base of the jump towers, where a glass walled elevator whisks you 120 m up to the summit. Revel in the fantastic views of Lake Placid and the surrounding high peaks.
The ‘heart of the Adirondacks’, picturesque Saranac Lake boasts glorious scenery and a relaxed, low key vibe. You’ll find art studios, shops, restaurants, live music and a weekly farmer’s market in the attractive downtown. Myriad activities include canoeing, kayaking and boating on Saranac’s three lakes, or biking and hiking the surrounding peaks and woodlands. Mt Baker is a family-friendly two mile trek from the centre of town. Take your pick of local campsites, hotels and guesthouses.
This 18th century fort and national landmark stands in manicured grounds on the shores of Lake Champlain. From May to October visit the fort museum to learn about Ticonderoga’s pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. Re-enacted battles, fife and drum marches and weapon demonstrations reveal its military past. Get lost in the six acre corn maze, take a boat cruise on the lake or simply relax in the beautiful wild flower gardens.
The Wild Center
Set in 81 acres of forest, the Wild Center is dedicated to nature and the surrounding landscape. Enjoy animal encounters with porcupines, otters and skunks, and visit the butterfly garden. Take to the sky on the Wild Walk (open May to October), a 30 feet high trail of treetop canopies, swinging rope bridges and viewing platforms resembling a spider’s web and a bald eagle’s nest. There’s an onsite café and gift shop plus hiking trails and a kids playground.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com