Adirondack Mountains: The Ultimate Guide

Updated On: February 07, 2022

Two men enjoying the view of the Adirondack mountains on a hike

Do you find yourself drawn to the outdoors? Are you up for an adventure? Have you ever heard of the Adirondack Mountains? If the answer is no, you’re missing out. As the biggest state park in the U.S, located in New York state, the Adirondack Mountains are filled with wildlife, gorgeous mountains and scenery, plus a slew of activities and attractions. Perhaps the best part of the Adirondack Mountains, better known as the “Adirondacks or ADK”, is in the peacefulness it portrays. Beyond the tiny villages throughout the park, the Adirondack Mountains are home to the true, great, wilderness. 

With so many possibilities in what seems like a mythical forest, we have given you the ultimate guide to the Adirondack Mountains. Places to stay, things to do, and adventures to be found.  

view of lakes in the Adirondack mountains during color changing fall leaves.
Image Credit: Hazal Ozturk/Unsplash

Where to Stay And What To Do: Adirondack Mountains

The Adirondack Mountains are filled with small historical towns all throughout the state park. These towns date back to colonial and Victorian times. Once populated by the Iroquois and Algonquin native american tribes, are now home to ski destinations like Gore Mountain in North Creek, lakes such as Fourth Lake in Inlet, and the Hudson River which is home to some of the best rafting and tubing on the East Coast. 

Accompanied with attractions just a short drive away, or right in the town themselves, these towns not only offer a great resting spot, but also lots of fun for you, your friends and family. These towns below will help you to create a base to return in the evening and will act as a start point for your daily adventures.

View of Adirondack mountains in the fall with a hiker climbing the trail of a mountain.
Image Credit: Chelsea Kauai/Facebook

Lake George: Lower Adirondack Mountains

Lake George is one of the most-known and highly visited towns in the Adirondack Mountains. With a 39 mile lake at its base, it’s a great town to spend your evening meandering through town, eating at the abundant restaurants and seeing the sun set on the lake. In fact, a few of these hotels, resorts, and campgrounds offer lake view rooms. 

When setting up camp in Lake George, there are a variety of options. However, some of the best places to stay are the Marine Village Resort, The Quarters, and Whippoorwill Motel and Campsites. Each of these accommodations meet a variety of different needs. 

If you are looking for a family friendly hotel with great amenities, views and prices, the Marine Village Resort is the perfect place for a family vacation. After your day of hiking, rafting, or boating, take time to relax in the inground pool. Or, head down to the hotel’s beach front and take a dip in the lake. With a variety of accommodation options including full suites and lake view rooms – it is just the right place for you and the family to lay their heads. 

Girl looking out over Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains
Image Credit: Amrit Gurung/Unsplash

Second, is The Quarters. The Quarters is for the couple’s retreat, set romantically on the bank of Lake George. The Quarters offer full vacation rentals, complete with a full kitchen, fireplace, jacuzzi, private deck and a shared dock. The Quarters are a great option for a week or two-week vacation. After a day spent in the woods, come home to a quaint place to cook and cozy up by the fire. 

Lakegront view of The Quarters hotel located in Lake George at the Adirondack mountains
Image Credit: The Quarters

Lastly, a more rustic option, and a great way to see the clear sky of the ADK is to go camping. Whippoorwill Motel and Campsites is the perfect way to do Adirondack Mountains camping. With toasted marshmallows, burgers and hot dogs on the grill, get even more in touch with nature at this lovely accommodation.

So you know where you’re going to stay in Lake George, but what are you gonna do? Well, Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains are not only home to it’s massive lake, but also surrounding mountains and attractions. 

Take advantage of the lake by renting a boat at Yankee Boating Center. Boat rentals are available from daily to even weekly rentals. This is a great way to see the mountains, surrounding towns, or just enjoy the hot summer weather that the Adirondacks have to offer. 

The Adirondack Mountains are known for their high peaks. While you’re in Lake George, it would be a shame to not climb a mountain or two. Some of the best mountains near Lake George include Prospect Mountain which at its peak provides a 100 mile view. While this hike is challenging, it is well worth it. If a less intense hike suits you, try Pilot’s Knob, which is considered a family friendly hike with great views of the mountains, a gazebo and even a waterfall! 

Adirondack mountains during a beautiful sunset over Lake George
Image Credit: Nap Fortich/Unsplash

Lake George is one of the most popular destinations in the Adirondack Mountains, and rightfully so. If you’re looking for relaxation and adventure, consider a trip to the Adirondack Mountains range and stay in Lake George.

North Creek: Central Adirondack Mountains

Settled just below Gore Mountain, deep in the Adirondack state park is the hamlet of North Creek. This place is so small it cannot even be considered a town with a population of only 698 people, North Creek almost slips by on the radar. Don’t let this sleepy hamlet fool you, North Creek is packed full of adventure. 

Gore Mountain is the main attraction of North Creek, with skiing in the winter months, and gondola rides in the summer. If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, or just a fan of ski resorts, the Inn at Gore is a perfect place to stay. With a variety of room options and amenities, it is the perfect place to warm up after a cold day on the Adirondack Mountain. You can also head over to the restaurants for a gourmet meal with locally sourced ingredients. 

North Creek might be known for Gore’s skiing, but the best activities that North Creek has to offer are during the summer months. With the Hudson River running through the center of the hamlet, this is the perfect spot for white water rafting, or tubing if you’re less adventurous. Head over to North Creek Rafting Company for guided day trips, overnight raft trips, or tubing on the Hudson River! 

A group of people white water rafting on the hudson river in the Adirondack mountains
Image Credit: iloveny/Facebook

Once you’ve gone rafting, or taken the gondola over Gore Mountain, spend your last day in North Creek with rail biking! Made from the old railroad in North Creek, Revolution Rail Co. is the best place to get some exercise while enjoying the fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains. 

North Creek has adventures for every age in every season. With such a central location to so many attractions, North Creek is perfect for a weekend getaway. 

Inlet/Old Forge: Western Adirondack Mountains

One of the most popular places in the Adirondack Mountains, Old Forge and Inlet is great for a week-long vacation for a variety of reasons. Whether a trip for you and your friends or a family, there is something for everyone between Old Forge and Inlet. 

Starting with places to stay: Old Forge has everything from cabins and lake houses to old fashioned tent camping, or staying on an island with no running water. Whatever your preference is, Old Forge can provide it. 

The Adirondack hotels are often rustic like that of Water’s Edge Inn. This Adirondack style hotel has all the amenities of a modern day hotel with that rustic look of exposed wood, paired with the infamous Adirondack chair. Or consider getting in contact with Adirondack Hearthside Realty to rent a cabin or house on one of the connecting lakes from Old Forge to Inlet. Rental houses are a huge part of the summer and winter travel in Old Forge and Inlet as it’s a way for families and friends to all get together. 

The lake range in Adirondack mountains, located between Old Forge and Inlet, NY.
Image Credit: Kurt Gardner/

Whatever way you choose to stay, there is plenty to do outside of the accommodation. For starters there are plenty of hiking spots. An easy one with a great view of the lakes in Bald Mountain, named after the rocky shape of it’s trail and lack of trees at its peak, Bald Mountain is a light morning hike that is popular not only with adventurers – but the locals as well. After a morning hike, you might want to stop in Old Forge for a bite to eat. Old Forge has great American style restaurants, especially Slicker’s with its view of First Lake Pond and the boating marina. Speaking of boating, Old Forge through to Inlet is one of the most unique boating trips you can do, connected by the way of channels, boats can travel through four (sometimes more) by way of boat. You can hop down to Rivett’s Marine Recreation to rent out a boat for the rest of your day. 

Aerial view of Old Forge in the fall months, located in the Adirondack mountains
Image Credit: Kurt Gardner Photography

The winter is just as good a time to visit, with Old Forge and Inlet having an extensive amount of snowshoe and cross-country skiing, as well as snowmobiling! RPM Snowmobile Rentals has everything you need to hit the trails! While you’re out on the crisp snowy mountains, make sure to stop at one of many bars that Old Forge and Inlet have to offer. A personal favorite is Daikers on Fourth Lake near Inlet. A great environment, good beer selection and always playing live music, locals and tourists love mingling at this great spot! 

Lastly, as you’re heading out of the Adirondack park, you have to make one last stop. Perhaps the best donuts and breakfast sandwiches known to man, this inconspicuous donut shop is a MUST. Simply called The Donut Shop, this little nook off the highway is a much-loved breakfast spot. Grab some freshly made cinnamon donuts and enjoy the scenic drive back to civilization. Know that the mountains will always be there for you.

Donut Shop in the Adirondack mountains
Image Credit: Life in the ADK

This is why so many travelers visit the Adirondack Mountains every year. The Adirondack Mountains have the perfect weather for your summer, fall or winter trip. It is an experience people can’t get enough of. Whether hitting the trails, climbing mountains, or floating on the lake, the Adirondack Mountains are an ideal place to spend a vacation. 

Green Adirondack mountains on a cloudy day
Image Credit: Katy Littlefield/Unsplash


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *