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Beloved for centuries by avid Northeastern hikers looking to delve into a vast and rustic wilderness, the Adirondack Mountains are a patchwork of primitive forests, preserved wildlands, and rural towns that spring to life in the warmer months. Once threatened by deforestation, the Adirondack Park is now the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States deemed "forever wild" by the State of New York.
It’s no wonder that the North Country endears itself to visitors and New Yorkers alike with its variety of landscapes, including boulder-strewn babbling brooks, glassy lakes, towering pine trees, and bedrock walls. On this itinerary, we explore two distinct areas of the park — the lakes of the central region and the High Peaks, known for its 46 challenging summits. From the loon calls at dusk echoing from our lakeside lodgings, to the celebrated Olympic history, to the cushion of dried pine needles on the trail, after a week in the "ADKs," you’ll understand why this destination has been a long-cherished respite from city life.
Arrival, Sawyer Mountain
We meet in Albany and leave the city behind as we head west into the serene Adirondacks to Blue Mountain Lake, our home for the next three nights. Our lodging is a former boathouse built in 1886 for steamboats that brought passengers and freight to the lavish hotels that once existed here. We enjoy lunch on the shore as our guide orients us to the region and prepares us for the afternoon hike.
Our first hike leads us up Sawyer Mountain to breathtaking views of the central Adirondacks, with sparkling ponds and lakes dotting the landscape below — an idyllic introduction to the only mountain range in the eastern US that is not geologically part of the Appalachian range (instead, it is a southern extension of Canada's Laurentian Mountains).
This evening, we delight in dinner overlooking the shimmering waters of Blue Mountain Lake.
Hemlock HallBlue Mountain Lake, USA
Enjoy peaceful mornings, afternoons of exploring, and spectacular evening sunsets in the heart of the Adirondack Park. Harkening back to the traditions of Adirondack "great camps", Hemlock Hall is cozily nestled on the shores of Blue Mountain Lake. This historic property features charmingly rustic rooms decorated in Adirondack style, and a private beach complete with canoes, kayaks and paddleboats to explore the shores.
Tirrell Pond & Sunset Cruise
Early risers may set out on a short walk to secluded Rock Pond before we enjoy a hearty breakfast, after which, we begin our walk to Tirrell Pond, a mountain-ringed pond in a classic Adirondack setting. This trail is a a section of the Northville-Placid trail, a 138-mile hiking route crossing the Adirondacks. We enjoy a picnic lunch by the lean-to on the sandy shore looking out at the reflection of the steep bedrock slabs of Tirrell Mountain. After soaking in the scenery and tranquility of the wilderness, we venture back to Blue Mountain Lake.
This afternoon is at our leisure for some R&R — kick back in an Adirondack chair, take out a canoe, or stroll the shores of the lake in search of bald eagles. In the evening, we are in for a treat — a private sunset cruise captained by a local skipper from a 3rd generation boat livery. He brings alive the history of the region as we watch the evening sky change colors and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and wine. We can recap our glorious day at dinner before retiring to our lodge.
Castle Rock, Optional Kayaking
This morning, we set out on a favorite local hike to Castle Rock, which juts out 200' above the surrounding forest like a medieval castle. For a modest hike, this summit offers magnificent views of both Blue Mountain Lake and Blue Mountain (3,750').
In the afternoon, we are once again free to choose among several activities including guided kayaking on the lake (no experience necessary), unwinding at our lodge, exploring the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake, enjoying an additional short hike, or trying your hand at fishing! We gather again to savor dinner at the area's best restaurant, Longview Lodge, serving comfort food with a gourmet twist.
The Adirondack Museum & Marcy Dam
After a last relaxing morning at Steamboat Landing, we visit the region's iconic museum, the Adirondack Experience. Since 1957, the museum has shared stories of the people who lived, worked, and played in the Adirondack Park. Exhibits feature the Marion River Carry Railroad engine and passenger car, the steamboat Osprey, and many artifacts representing community life in these mountains.
We bid adieu to the soothing surroundings of Blue Mountain Lake as we depart this haven to journey into the High Peaks region that was originally conceived in a 1927 book based on their elevations being over 4,000'. Later surveys revealed several of them are not quite that high, but they have remained a cohesive unit for those seeking the challenge of hiking all 46. As an introductory hike, we head to Marcy Dam, nestled in the heart of the High Peaks. The scenery here is a striking example of Adirondack landslides on the emblematic peaks of Mt. Colden and Wright Peak.
Later in the day, we settle into our accommodations for the remainder of the trip. Quite a change from the rustic style of our former lodging — at elegant Mirror Lake Inn, we embrace the numerous amenities of one of the finest lakeside resorts in the park. It's a short walk to the bustling village of Lake Placid, host of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics — the only town in the Western Hemisphere to host two games. We enjoy a casual dinner at the inn overlooking the lake and captivating ridgeline of the Great Range, a contiguous ridge of eight peaks over 4000'.
Mirror Lake Inn Resort & SpaLake Placid, USA
One of the most stunning hotels in the region, Mirror Lake Inn is a gem and makes for a truly authentic Adirondack experience. Enjoy award-winning dining options, renowned spa, and well-appointed ensuite rooms that combine rustic elegance with a classic Adirondack feel.
Today, we embark on our longest hike with even more commanding scenery, as difficult as it is to imagine. After three miles of peaceful walking on a gentle dirt road of the reputed Ausable Club, we arrive just below the foot of Lower Ausable Lake. Here, we take a more rugged yet short trail to the open summit of Indian Head. For a summit less than a mile from the lake and at only 730', the views are remarkable — both Upper and Lower Ausable Lakes and the iconic ridges and peaks of the Great Range. On the return, we may decide to take a side trail to Rainbow Falls, a towering 150' waterfall that cascades through the mountainside.
We welcome the opportunity for a free afternoon and evening to soak in the luxury of Mirror Lake Inn or stroll through Lake Placid with its many shops, cafes, and restaurants. Our guide is happy to make recommendations for dinner on your own.
Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Olympic Complex
We savor our last full day in this enchanting region. Our final hike takes us up Mt. Van Hoevenberg, yet another modest summit offering boastful views of the High Peaks and village of Lake Placid to the north. To the south, we see majestic Mount Marcy, New York's highest peak at 5,344', an impressive final view to close out the week. First summited in 1837, this remote peak is not only popular today, but it is also historical — as Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was on his way to the summit when he had to turn back after learning President McKinley (having been shot) had taken a turn for the worse.
This afternoon, we experience the story of North America's first winter Olympics with a visit to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and Ski Jumping Complex. Those up for a thrilling vantage point may opt for a gondola and elevator ride up to the Skydeck of the 120-meter jumping tower for a panoramic bird's-eye view of the village and High Peaks. Those up for a more calming experience may return to the inn to relax.
We enjoy the final morning at our leisure, embracing the lasting views and impressions of this sylvan wilderness. Our departure from Lake Placid takes us through Keene Valley, and if timing allows, we may stretch our legs at the iconic gems of Chapel Pond or Roaring Brook Falls before exiting the wilds of Adirondack Park and returning to Albany where our journeys home await.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
From $3,795 Per Person
First two reserved:$295
See single supplement policy below.
MAKE IT PRIVATE
9+ Guests: $3,795 per person4-8 Guests: $4,195 per person
Make it Private price is based on Land Cost only, and a guarantee of the specified number of guests in double occupancy. For groups smaller than the numbers shown, or those requiring single occupancy, we reserve the right to adjust the per person price. Additionally, some trips have minimum group sizes. Please call 1-800-941-8010 for details.
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. This trip is rated 2+, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The hikes on this trip have minimum vehicle support and average 3-4 hours with one longer day of 6-7 hours on wooded trails. While many of the trails we use are well-maintained, and the mileage and elevation change is easy to moderate, the terrain offers more of the challenge as it is rooty and rocky throughout, requiring good balance, sure footedness and agility, and hiking poles. As we approach summits, trails often become more rocky with uneven footing and occasionally requires the need for hands to climb short rugged sections. Please read the daily activity descriptions and contact us for further information.
Albany, New York
Most Convenient Airport:Albany International Airport (ALB)
Departure Time and Place:We will provide transportation for the approximate 2-hour journey from Lake Placid to Albany airport on the final day of the trip.
As they say in the mountains, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing." Mornings can be cool and average high temperatures are quite comfortable for hiking. Dressing in layers is essential to your comfort throughout the day. Rain is possible at any time, and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so having rain gear on hand is also advisable.
Daily highs in summer months are in the low 70s ºF, while lows range in the 40s. You may obtain more detailed weather information on www.weatherbase.com.
The rural regions of upstate New York are proud of their agriculture and dairy traditions. There is an abundant of fresh, local ingredients that is crafted into everything from hearty comfort food to innovative, modern dishes. The restaurants at which we eat on this trip reflect this and offer seasonal specials based on the local harvests.
Please inform us of any specific dietary restrictions by completing your guest paperwork, and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please call our office with any questions or concerns about our ability to meet your needs.
Sonny has been an Adirondack Park resident since 1989. He has been heavily involved in outdoor recreation and conservation for many years as a certified instructor for Cornell University’s Sportfishing and Aquatic Resources Education Program, a hunter safety and bowhunter safety program instructor, a New York State citizen’s advisory council member, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, as a founding member of the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks team, and as a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Invasive Species Citizen scientist. He has served as president of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association (NYSOGA) and been awarded Master Guide status and Life Membership in the organization.
In addition to all that, he is also an instructor for the NYSDEC Becoming an Outdoorswoman program, volunteering map and compass instruction since 1994 to a program that has taught wildlands skills to more than 3000 students to date.
With all of that life experience, knowledge, and intense interest in the area he calls home, Sonny is a delight to have on the trail.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Walking and hiking, 3-4 hours per day with one longer day of 6-7 hours.
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
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