Adirondack Hiking Guidelines & Safety Tips

One of the best parts about owning your own piece of the Adirondacks is having a network of hiking trails right in your backyard! Whether it’s a snowshoe trek through the woods or a summertime hike up one of the Adirondack high peaks, it’s important to follow some basic guidelines and safety tips for your wellbeing. As experienced hikers ourselves, below we’ve offered some of our top hiking tips!

Planning Your Adirondack Hike

Sunset on Pilot's KnobPack Your Hiking Bag 
The first rule of planning your hike is to be prepared for any situation! You never know what may arise while out in the wilderness, and a well-stocked hiking bag can safe almost any situation. Consider packing a compass and map (you may not have cell phone reception on the hike), plenty of water, snacks, rain jacket, extra clothing, first-aid kit, flashlight, matches, and a utility knife.

Check Weather Reports 
Sure, Saturdays afternoons are a great day and time to hike, but not when there’s a torrential downpour! When planning your hike, always consult the weather forecast so you’re not stuck in less than ideal and unsafe conditions. This includes the morning of and right before you leave, as Adirondack weather can change on a dime.

Pick A Hike Within Your Skill Level 
Are you a first-time hiker? Make sure you choose a hike that matches your skill level so you don’t overexert yourself. (Or bore you if you’re an experienced hiker!) This flowchart is a great resource for helping select which Adirondack hike is right for you and your experience.

Safety Guidelines While Hiking

Keep to Trails 
Trails are made for a reason. For your own safety and for the safety of the Adirondacks’ natural resources, stick to the trail. Not only will you ensure you won’t get lost or encounter unsafe obstacles, but you’ll also help preserve vegetation and animal habitats.

Hike with a Buddy (or Two!)
Don’t hike alone if it can be avoided. Hiking with others actually decreases your risk of being stranded should a situation (like an injury or unexpected obstacle) occur. If you must hike alone, be sure to at least tell a friend where you’re hiking, and when you’re expected to be back. That way, if they don’t hear from you after a certain time, they can call for help.

Be Willing to Turn Back Around 
Smart hikers know when it’s time to throw in the towel and turn around. If it’s getting late, a member of your hiking party is injured, or a storm rolls in, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Hiking is about the experience of being in nature–not just making the summit–so be prepared and willing to turn back if the need arises.

Seasonal Safety Tips

Winter Hiking
When hiking in the winter months, remember to dress warm, as the Adiondack winter temperatures can go below 0 °F! Layer up to start, as you can always remove articles of clothing if you get too warm. Always bring additional clothes in your pack. Frostbite and hypothermia are real risks out here!

As always, watch out for slippery surfaces, especially ice during winter. And if you have to cross ice during your hike, test its strength with your foot before putting your whole body weight on it.

Summer Hiking 
When hiking in the summer months, hydration is key. The hot and sunny Adirondack days bring high temperatures and lots of sun exposure which can lead to heat stroke and exhaustion.

Thunderstorms also pose a threat. If you see lightning, or the signs of a thunderstorm approaching, stay away from high ground and isolated trees.


Adirondack Winter Hike Up Blue Mountain

Blue Mt, located in the geographic center of the Adirondacks, towers as a giant hulk over it’s namesake lake, a beautiful body of water speckled with wooded islands.  The mountain stands at 3750′ in elevation, only a couple of hundred feet shy of a High Peak. The trail to the summit is 2 miles long and a popular destination for summer tourists. I, however, prefer to climb old Blue in the winter, it’s far less crowded and the winter wonderworld above 3000′ is something to behold.

The snow at the upper elevations in the Adirondacks is measured in feet rather than inches. The spruce-fir forest that survives this lofty habitat is caked in snow, to the point where the trees take on otherworldly, eerie shapes.  This white world is dense and claustrophobic, total and utter silence envelopes the intruder. Even wildlife, with the exception of the snowshoe hare, has left for more pleasant territory. This frozen landscape is harsh and wildly spectacular.

Steadily climbing from the trailhead, the summit is gained in an hour more or less. To enjoy the view one must climb the firetower, which does not escape the grip of snow and ice.  From the tower the Adirondack Wilderness spreads out in every direction, with the High Peaks dominating the skyline to the north, Tirrell Pond at the foot of the mountain to the east, the Blue Ridge and West Canada Wildernesses to the south, and Blue Mt Lake, the Eckford Chain, and Raquette to the west. It’s a breathtaking and rugged scene in which I never cease to be amazed at the immensity of it all.

Although likely not to happen, come prepared in case of accident or sudden inclement weather. Snowshoes on the feet are a good idea. A pack loaded with water, food,  flashlight, space blanket, first aid kit, and an extra sweater is good insurance. Come and enjoy, this winter wonderworld offers an experience you won’t soon forget.

Fishing in the Adirondacks

With more than 3,000 fresh water lakes, ponds, brooks and streams, the Adirondacks are a favorite among avid fishermen. The region is home to 80 species of fish, including bass, trout, walleye, pike, perch and salmon. From ice fishing and fly fishing to reeling in the big one on your boat, the Adirondacks offer sportsmen an abundance of year-round opportunities to cast a line.

For some of the best fishing on the East Coast, check out these prime Adirondack fishing spots.

Fishing in Lake George Lake George
At just over 30 miles long and an average depth of 70 feet, Lake George is home to some of the best landlocked salmon and lake trout in the Northeast. You’ll also find bass, perch, chain pickerel and northern pike.

Planning a visit to Lake George? View our Lake George Itinerary for great weekend ideas!

Lake Champlain
The third largest lake in New York State, Lake Champlain consistently rates among the top fishing spots in the nation. A popular destination for lake trout and landlocked salmon, the lake also hosts a number of bass fishing tournaments every year.

Great Sacandaga Lake
From 1940-1979, Great Sacandaga Lake held the world record for the largest northern pike, and the species can still be found their today. The lake is also a popular fishing spot for bass, bullhead, yellow perch, and New York’s most valued sportfish, the walleye.

Sacandaga River
Located at the southern tip of the Adirondack Park, the Sacandaga River is one of the area’s most fertile trout hatcheries. Heavily stocked with brown trout in the section between Wells and Speculator NY, the river’s west branch is a favorite among brook and brown trout anglers alike.

Ausable River
An angler’s paradise, Ausable River is one of the best trout rivers in the Northeast, and features both brown and rainbow trout species. Located in the Whiteface Region, the river hosts the annual Ausable Two-Fly Challenge in the village of Wilmington NY.

Long Lake
Although Long Lake is home to bullheads, bass and yellow perch, its real draw is the northern pike. Anglers are eager to catch one of the rare 15 pound fish that inhabit the lake, but are more likely to pull out a pike averaging 22-28 inches.

Racquette Lake
The biggest lake trout in New York State was caught at Racquette Lake in 2009, and the promise of a prize-winning catch continue to draw fisherman to the lake today. While both lake and brook trout can be found in the river’s northern end, small and largemouth bass dominate the southern portion.

Adirondack Mt Land offers NY Mountain Properties that would put an avid fisherman in the midst of this fishing paradise. Whether you’re looking to live here year round, or are interested in a fishing cabin for seasonal adventures, we have the land options for you. We encourage you to browse our properties and then contact us for more information!

Click for more information on the Lakes of the Adirondacks.