The Best Things to See and Do in New York's Adirondacks

Ausable River at Ausable Chasm, in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York
Ausable River at Ausable Chasm, in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York | © Sandra Foyt / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Julia Goicochea
12 November 2020

Larger than Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier National Parks combined, New York’s Adirondack Park is the biggest protected area in the lower 48 states. Its size guarantees the area’s attractions are as abundant as the space itself. Experience them all with this guide to the best things to see and do in New York’s Adirondacks.

Storm King Art Center

Museum, Park
© Victoria Lipov / Shutterstock
Leave Museum Mile to the tourists in favor of this insider’s art attraction located just north of New York City. Storm King Art Center is a sculpture park featuring more than 100 sculptures by the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Occupying a whopping 500 acres (200ha), the park’s rolling hills, clear water ponds and bright fields of native wildflowers are masterpieces in their own right.

Whiteface Mountain

Hill Station, Natural Feature
Whiteface Mountain
© Delphine Beausoleil / Unsplash
Athletic types will love the adrenaline-pumping activities awaiting on Whiteface Mountain, which features the largest vertical drop – 3,430ft (1,045m) – on the eastern seaboard. In addition to hiking, biking and skiing – the mountain is particularly suited toward advanced skiers – daredevil visitors can also find extreme adventures such as 4×4 excursions and free-fall jumping.

Adirondack Safari

Tent, camping
© Scott Goodwill / Unsplash

If camping doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps glamping would be a superior fit. Give the outdoors a shot, sort of, at Adirondack Safari, a luxury campground furnished with extra-large tents, zero-gravity chairs, fire pits and more. Here, outdoor movie screenings, palm readings and painting classes trump hiking and foraging any day.

Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex

Sports Center
Olympic Ski Jumping Complex, Lake Placid, Adirondack State Park, New York State, USA. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.
© Mauro Toccaceli / Alamy Stock Photo

Sports enthusiasts will recognize Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex as the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the home base of many current Olympic athletes. Whether you catch a ski jump competition or try your hand at extreme tubing, you’ll feel prepared to go for the gold yourself after a visit to this historic location.

The Wild Center

Forest, Hiking Trail
Wild Walk attraction at The Wild Center Tupper Lake New York USA US America Adirondack State Park. Image shot 09/2015. Exact date unknown.
© Frank Paul / Alamy Stock Photo

It makes sense that the best way to experience the densely-wooded Adirondack region is to explore above it, not through it. The treetop-level nature path at the Wild Center provides a bird’s-eye view of the property’s 81 acres (33ha) of forest. There’s also plenty to be seen at ground level when you explore the center’s 54,000sq-ft (5,017sq-m) museum, showcasing live animals and hands-on exhibits.

Cycle Adirondacks

Forest, Sports Center
© Daniel Llorente / Unsplash

See more of the region’s 6m acres (2.4m ha) safely when you join Cycle Adirondacks. From one-day, family-friendly rides to six-day bicycle tours, Cycle Adirondacks’ events are an ideal way to explore some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, New York State’s farm country and the best of the Adirondacks. Best of all, riding with the organization supports local conservation efforts and economic development.

Ausable Chasm

Bridge, Natural Feature
Iron bridge over Ausable River at Ausable Chasm, a 2 mile gorge in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York known as the Grand Canyon of the East.
Ausable River at Ausable Chasm, in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York | © Sandra Foyt / Alamy Stock Photo

Rock climb, bike or tube Ausable Chasm, the Grand Canyon of the Adriondacks. Since becoming a tourism hot spot in 1870, one of America’s oldest natural attractions is still in high demand today thanks to its variety of outdoor activities and timeless views from the Ausable Chasm Bridge.

Mount Marcy Summit

Forest, Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Summit of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack mountains, New York
© Erik Swanson / Alamy Stock Photo

At 5,344ft (1,629m), the summit of Mount Marcy is the highest point in all of New York State. From its stunning treetop vistas to its up-close views of the rare endangered vegetation present on just 85 acres (34ha) of the Adirondacks, the view from the top makes the technically unchallenging, though generally long, hike worth every step.

These recommendations were updated on November 12, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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