The Adirondacks — A Wilderness Lover’s Paradise

With summer in full swing and Cait out of school, we spend more time at my mother’s place up in the Adirondacks. Since I always appreciate seeing pictures of where you all live around the world (it helps to satisfy my wanderlust), I thought you might enjoy seeing more than just my pond.

When the locals talk about the Adirondacks, they’re usually referring to the mountains which attract hikers and climbers from all over. There are 46 “High Peaks” dominated by Mt. Marcy at 5,344 feet, New York’s highest point. These are all contained within the 6 million acre Adirondack State Park.

To give you an idea of scale, the Adirondack Park is the largest US park outside of Alaska. It’s the size of Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks combined. Over 85% of the wilderness east of the Mississippi is located within its borders. With more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, 2,000 miles of hiking trails, and four seasons, it’s a recreationalist’s paradise. And it’s in my backyard.

Lake Placid, a quaint resort town, is the main jumping off point for most folks who visit. Most sports enthusiasts will remember it as the place where the American hockey team defeated the Russians in the 1980 Olympics.

First, to orient you, a map of New York. The green section shows the Adirondack Park.


Here are some pics from the drive in along Interstate 87. Below is a shot of Lake George, another popular resort town. This is considered the official start of the Adirondack Park.

Lake George

A little past Lake George, the mountains become more prominent.

Adirondack Mountains

Once off the highway, there’s only one road into Lake Placid. It’s a spectacularly beautiful drive. For as many years as I’ve driven it, I’ve never gotten tired of the views.





These pics are from just outside of Lake Placid heading toward one of my favorite climbs, Mt. Jo. It’s one of the only climbs that younger children can make, with one of the best views.



Here’s a view of Whiteface Mt from my mother’s deck.

And here’s a shot of my little nature girl sketching on the trail.


If you like pristine mountains, abundant wildlife, secret waterfalls, and forests inhabited by faeries, this is the place to come.

I leave you with a few fun facts:

  • Adirondack State Park – 6 Million Acres (the size of Vermont)
  • Adirondack Forest Preserve – 2.3 Million Acres
  • 8,000 sq. miles of mountains
  • 2,000 miles of foot trails
  • 2,300 lakes & ponds
  • 1,500 miles of rivers
  • 30,000 miles of brooks & streams
  • Over 50 species of mammals
  • Over 220 species of birds
  • Over 30 species of reptiles & amphibians
  • 66 species of fish
  • Only 131,000 people
  • 240 lean-tos
  • 35 campsites
  • 200 lakes at least a square mile area
  • Over 2,000 high peak mountains
  • Over 40 high peak mountains over 4,000 feet
  • The highest peak is Mount Marcy at 5,344 feet

14 thoughts on “The Adirondacks — A Wilderness Lover’s Paradise”

  1. Julie, it’s on NY-73 (the road going to Lake Placid from I-87) before you get into Keene, on the left. I don’t know what the name of the waterfall is.

  2. i must agree that the keene valley area was one of the most beutiful places i’ve ever passed thru my husband and i were passing thru one day on our way to look at a house in upstate new york. ( we are both from vermont born and raised) and i actually have a question about one of your pics i saw the waterfall posted above from somewhere on i beleive interstate 87 or near that area and was wondering where exactly that was cause i really do wish to go back and take some pictures of my own in the near future if you could respond and let me know where that waterfall is or even what the name of it is i would greatly appreciate it

  3. Cole (Orion's Mom)

    Wow, those views are beautiful. There are defintely some gorgeous sights here in Texas, but I’ll never forget the intensity of space and mountain and color that’s evident in northern NY. It makes me miss my homestate.
    Also, that picture of Cait reminds me of myself when I was her age–always making my mom or grandmother stop so I could draw my own version of a duck in the water, or a chestnut on a bed of leaves.
    You’re so blessed to have that (almost) in your backyard. =)

  4. Golly I miss those mountains, I so hope to get back there again one day – Thank you for sharing the photos!
    Im visiting all the blogs in the TopBlogMags’ blogroll, which is how Ive found your blog.
    Adding you to my reader now so I can keep up – nice blog!

  5. Judy, I agree, the Northeast isn’t the easiest region to live in for a number of reasons. Though I don’t mind the winters, if I had a chance to move, I’d pick somewhere out west with wide open spaces — either the prairie or plains.

  6. I do think the Adirondacks are a great place to visit, but having grown up in Poughkeepsie, gone to school in Rochester, and lived in VT, I wouldn’t want to live there. I escaped the Northeast 15 years ago, but sadly (for me) it seems I’m being sucked back in.

    In fact, we were in your neck of the woods on our vacation a little over a week ago. Not a real vacation, we were flown there because they want us to move there.

    It’s really a matter of whether you want to hibernate in the winter (from my perspective) or the summer, and me, I prefer the summer (hibernating during our long, hot summers, that is).

    But I’ll probably be spending some time up there next year, and possibly moving there.

    It would be a great place to live — if it weren’t for the winter!

  7. Mountain Dweller

    It sounds perfect and the views are just beautiful. I’ve been to the States a couple of times but I didn’t even know that this park existed. It definitely looks like a place worth visiting!

  8. I vacationed there once when I was young and single. We camped somewhere in that beauty – there was also a bar right on the water that everyone got to by canoe. Getting home was a challenge, I’ll tell ya!

  9. Ah, gorgeous photos! I love those mountains too and driving the wilderness roads. You never know what you will see!

  10. Hey Jenn, I wonder if it’s the intense sun and heat you guys get in OK that makes for shorter trees?

    Macintosh is my favorite apple too! I love the crisp sweet crunch. They should be ready in a couple of weeks. We have an orchard a couple of miles down the road.

    What you DO have though is wide open spaces. And sometimes there’s just nothing like a good sweeping view! :)

  11. These pictures are absolutely beautiful! Upstate NY is my favorite place in the world. The only park I’ve been to is Letchworth state park, which has less mountains than the Adirondacks. I’ll have to make an effort to go up there on my next trip! One of the things we don’t have here in OK that I miss most is the really tall trees. I’m not sure why they don’t grow here, they just don’t. Oh, and Macintosh apples. To me they are worth their weight in gold, are the only apples I will eat, and not only are not grown in OK they’re too delicate to survive trucking. I sure do miss those apples.

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