The Adirondacks region of New York is a true wonderland in the fall. With so many parks and forests, the colors of fall can be amazing. The area’s more than 700 lakes provide the perfect place for reflection — literally and figuratively. Aside from simply sitting by a lake, here are some fall highlights in the Adirondacks.
Walk among the trees at the Wild Center
Tupper Lake’s Wild Center (closes for the fall season at the end of October, admission $20/adults, $18/seniors, $14/ages 5-17, FREE ages 4 and under; 45 Museum Drive, Tupper Lake, 518-359-7800, wildcenter.org) is full of nature education and activities, but the attraction that’s unmissable is its Wild Walk. The elevated bridges take visitors to the treetops of the Adirondack forest where they can get a bird’s-eye view from a giant nest or climb inside a gigantic netted spider web. There’s also a swinging bridge leading to a “Swiss Family Robinson”-style treehouse and a giant model of a hollowed out tree trunk. New this year is the iForest exhibit, an immersive sound installation at ground level; visitors walk along a wooded path while British composer Pete M. Wyer’s composition is broadcast via hidden speakers.
Take a steamboat ride on Lake George
A great way to see fall foliage is from a boat. The majestic Lake George is surrounded by trees, and the Lake George Steamboat Company — which is celebrating its bicentennial — does weekend cruises aboard its Minne-Ha-Ha paddlewheel steamboat (fall season through late October, one-hour cruise $16/adults, $7.50/ages 3-11; 57 Beach Road, Lake George, 518-668-5777, lakegeorgesteamboat.com).
Ride a gondola up Whiteface Mountain
The eight-passenger Cloudsplitter Gondola carries visitors to the top of Little Whiteface in 15 minutes (fall season through the second week in October, $22/adults and teens, $15/juniors and seniors, FREE 6 and under; 5021 Route 86, Wilmington, 518-946-2223, whiteface.com). On the ride, guests soar over streams, steep rock faces and colorful forests and take in views of Lake Placid and its namesake village. At the top, an observation deck and picnic area await.
Hike to a fire tower
The Adirondacks is home to dozens of fire towers, once upon a time used to spot forest fires. Now, some are open to climbers and provide expansive 360-degree views of the surrounding trees. Moderate routes include hiking to the fire towers at Azure Mountain (the trailhead is about 30 miles south of the Village of St. Regis Falls, about seven miles down Blue Mountain Road), Hadley Mountain (the trailhead is on Rower Road off Hadley Hill Road in Lake Luzerne) and Hurricane Mountain (the trailhead is on Route 9N, about 13 miles outside Keene).
Dine with a view in Lake Placid
The village of Lake Placid offers supreme views of Mirror Lake from its charming Main Street. Top of the Park (2407 Main St., Lake Placid, 518-523-3632, topofthepark.bar) is a second-story restaurant with a deck overlooking Mirror Lake. To eat on Lake Placid, head to Maggie’s Pub at Lake Placid Lodge (144 Lodge Way, Lake Placid, 518-523-2700, lakeplacidlodge.com).
Where to stay
Budget-friendly: The Queensbury Hotel, 88 Ridge St., Glens Falls, 518-792-1121, thequeensburyhotel.com
Mid-range: Hotel North Woods, 2520 Main St., Lake Placid, 518-302-7559, hotelnorthwoods.com
Luxury: Whiteface Lodge, 7 Whiteface Inn Lane, Lake Placid, 518-523-0505, thewhitefacelodge.com