The vast, gorgeous Adirondacks – upstate NY

The largest park in the lower 48, the 6-million acre Adirondack Park of northern New York was our next adventure.  It is so large that we could obviously only hope to see a small portion of it during our 5-day stay.  So, for this trip through we decided to hang out near the southeastern border, at Lake George.

Mountains and more mountains all the way to the horizon!

Created in 1892 as one of the first Forever Wild Forest Preserves in the nation, the Adirondack Park is a unique wilderness area.  It is the largest publically protected area in the contiguous United States.  The state of New York owns approximately 2.6 million acres, while the remaining 3.4 million acres are devoted to forestry, agriculture and open space recreation.  The Adirondack Park is not a National Park – there’s no fee to enter and the park doesn’t close at night.  Nor is it a state park, a common misconception.  It’s also the largest National Historic Landmark, covering an area larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and the Great Smokies National Parks combined.

Lake George
Lake George

Outdoor recreation possibilities in the Lake George area are endless.  The Village of Lake George is a tourist destination and at this time of the year it’s like a big recreation and amusement park for all ages.  We were not ready to mingle with hordes of tourists as traffic and parking was horrendous, so we spent most of our time enjoying a laid back experience in our preferred way – hiking and driving along the numerous scenic byways.

We mapped our route starting from Lake George and left in the car early one morning, following three of the many scenic byways – High Peaks, Olympic, and Central Adirondack Trails – creating a 200-mile loop.  Touring the unspoiled geographic areas of the Adirondack Mountains, we were in awe of the rolling hills, deep forests, and mountain peaks.  Among the features that made our drive unlike any of our previous experiences were the waterways – literally thousands of lakes, (Placid, Long, Raquette and Saranac were only a few that we saw ) ponds, and many miles of rivers and streams.  It’s hard to imagine how incredible this area looks when the leaves turn in the fall, but unfortunately we won’t be in this area then.

It appeared many other tourists had the same plan we did – take a hike!  On both trails we followed near Lake George – Sleeping Beauty and Prospect Mountain – the screaming brats and their moms seemed to be yelling at the top of their lungs.  Good God, can’t these people figure out what hiking and nature are all about?  Both trails were a hike up to a summit, and despite the rocky terrain and the continuous  ascent to the top, the area is a popular family outing destination.  We’ll look for something a little more remote and “family unfriendly” next time.

We clocked 8 miles on the Sleeping Beauty Trail…

…and 4 miles on the Prospect Mountain Trail.

Prospect Mountain Summit
The Lowes at Prospect Mountain summit

Our base camp on this stop was at Ledgeview Village RV Park.  Click here if you would like to see Steve’s review of this excellent campground.  We were excited to meet fellow campers who were from a town very near our home in Tracy, CA.

Ledgeview RV Park
Spacious sites




  1. Yes indeed, summer crowds are a problem in some of these places. We had that problem in CO. The trick must be to find a way to visit these gorgeous places during the shoulder seasons. Love the thought of all that water you saw. We are in MT and it is beautiful but rather dry. Of course, that also means we don’t have the humidity you are probably experiencing!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  2. Sometimes, don’t you just want to shout “shut up” to all those noisy people. I don’t know who is worse…the screaming children or the parents screaming at the children…anyway, your pictures are beautiful!

    We spent last summer…7 glorious weeks…in the Canadian Maritimes. It is beyond beautiful! If you have time I did blog…2012…July thru August are posts of where we went. Unfortunately, we did not hike then, but enjoyed rides on the Harley. I’m sure your plans are made, but if you have questions, please ask! You are in for a real treat!

  3. Had to laugh as I read your post! I totally agree about the loud families. We find them in parks, also. Why do people fell they have yell just because they are outside.

    Lake George is a cute town but definitely crowded in the summer since it is a get away for NYC. Glad you you are enjoying your tour of the area.

    Don’t forget the maple sugars farms in Vermont!!

  4. For a minute there, I was concerned Steve threw you in the dryer and you shrunk….lol. That chair was just a tad big. Yeah, the crowds, bugs, and humidity are enough of a deterrent to keep us west of the Mississippi. We’ll let you keep checking it all out for us while we bask among Colorado’s stunning fourteeners 🙂

  5. I had no idea this park was so enormous. Terry and I are considering an eastern tour starting the spring of next year but we have also been very concerned about the hordes of people we will encounter. We agree that nothing can ruin a great hike quicker than lots of screaming children or adult chatter. We will be anxious to hear more about your experiences. 🙂

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