We start our Adirondack Mountains Hiking tour with an assembly on Day 1 in Albany, and from there we shuttle past Blue Mountain Lake and to our first hike on Owl’s Head. This should not be considered a warm up hike, as this short trail will give you a taste of the rugged, steep trails to come, and of the reward of spectacular scenery from the mountain tops (6.3 miles). We will continue on to Long Lake, named after the 14 mile lake it sits upon, for our two-night stay at the historic Adirondack Hotel.
On Day 2 we will walk the Newcomb Lake Road Trail to Great Camp Santanoni. During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, many of America’s most successful businessmen built summer homes in the Adirondack Region of New York State. Intended as rustic but elegant retreats from city life, the largest of these Adirondack camps became known as Great Camps. Camp Santanoni, one of the oldest and largest of the early great camps, is considered one of the most sophisticated and distinguished of all of the surviving great camps in the Adirondacks. At its height, Camp Santanoni comprised over 12,900 acres, containing three distinct groups of buildings: the Gate Lodge Complex, the Farm Complex and the Great Camp Complex. Newcomb Lake provides the perfect spot for a picnic lunch before returning on the same trail (10 miles).
Day 3 is a dramatic point to point hike through Indian Pass, climbing among boulders and up ladders. Along the way, you reach Summit Rock with a spectacular view of the 1000-foot cliff of Wallface Mountain directly opposite you. Wallface is one of the highest wilderness cliffs in the Northeast. Continuing north, the trail descends to the valley of Indian Pass Brook and a pleasant woods walk to a series of scenic cascades and a swimming hole. We emerge at Heart Lake, beyond a doubt the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks region, and to our place for the night – Adirondak Loj. This is a rustic lodge built in 1927 and open only to those with a reservation. We will enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal, with homemade breads and soups, in the period dining room. The comfortable living room, with its stone fireplace, is perfect for recounting the day’s adventures or just relaxing with a book from the Adirondack library. Private lodging is not available for this night, as we will be in a dormitory style room with half height dividers (9.3 miles).
Our hike for Day 4 is an epic route that will take us to the second highest summit in the state, Algonquin Peak. The summit is above treeline and will afford us sweeping vistas of the entire High Peaks region. The views of the thickly forested hills easily hide what we know to be steep, rocky and challenging terrain. After our return, the Timberline van will whisk us out to the infamous town of Lake Placid for a well deserved and hearty dinner (9 miles).
We are due for a gentler hike on Day 5, so we will walk up the mellow Ausable River valley to Lower Ausable Lake, passing several waterfalls on the way. If you want to go the distance, it’s a short burst up to Indian Head from there for more sweeping views of the High Peaks region (7 – 10.4 miles). On the return to Lake Placid we’ll stop in at Mt. Hovenberg, where we are sure to see winter athletes in their summer training on bobsled and luge.
On Day 6 there will be some time in the morning to explore more of the Lake Placid area with its Olympic skating oval, the museum, the Olympic Center, the home of the “Miracle on Ice”, and the ski jumping complex. Leaving Lake Placid behind, we will drive to the Giant Mountain Wilderness area for one more falls-lake-mountain top hike to Giant Washbowl and Nubble peak (4 miles), before our late afternoon shuttle back to Albany, and the conclusion of our New York Adirondack Mountains Hiking Trip.