Camping trips in the Adirondacks in the fall are some of my favorite memories of New York. The Adirondacks are absolutely gorgeous in the fall and what better way to enjoy them than by camping and spending all night under a cover of colorful leaves.
In the fall, the Adirondacks turn a rainbow mixture of fall colors, with red, yellow, orange, and the dark green of pine trees mixed in. There are several different campgrounds that I feel are the best to stay at in the Adirondacks, especially in the fall.
Read further in this post to discover some of the best fall camping spots in the Adirondack Mountains.
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What is the best time of year to camp in the Adirondacks?
Many think of summer being the best season for camping, but I’d like to argue that camping in the fall is superior, especially in the Adirondacks. Camping in the fall in the Adirondacks is incredible, with less crowds, less humidity, less bugs, and of course the beautiful fall colors all around.
The camping experience may be a little chillier, but you not only get to see the fall leaves, you get to sleep under them.
Best Places to Camp in the Adirondacks in the Fall
Moffit Beach Campground
Moffit Beach Campground is a great Adirondack campground, offering beautiful views and solitude. Since it is right on the lake, many of the sites are waterfront and have direct water access. You can launch your kayak from your campsite or even just sit on the shore watching the reflection of fall leaves on the water. It is a large lake, but can be very calm in the morning, making it very reflective.
We really like this campground and felt that it feels more secluded than most campgrounds in New York State. Even if you don’t get a lakefront campsite, there is a beach on the lake that is accessible to all campers.
Moffit Beach State Campground is in the southern Adirondacks.
To further enjoy the fall leaves, get out on the water. If you have a kayak, you can launch from your site or from the beach. Kayak rentals are available near the main road at “Campstore!”.
To book a site at Moffit Beach State Campground, visit Reserve America for NY State Parks.
Moreau Lake State Park
Moreau Lake State Park is another great place for camping that is in the Adirondacks close to good areas for viewing the fall leaves. This campground features large campsites under tall trees. Although the campsites are not along the lake, they are a short walk (or drive) from the lakefront.
The lake is very calm and reflective, perfect for fall leaves viewing. There are some trails around the park as well and opportunities for kayaking if you have your own kayak.
The Moreau Lake State Park Campground is located close to Lake George and is good for exploring the eastern side of the Adirondacks, including Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness and Saranac Lake areas.
To reserve a spot at Moreau Lake, visit Reserve America for NY State Parks.
Adirondack Loj Campground
The Adirondack Loj Campground is incredible for enjoying the fall leaves. If you have read any of my other Adirondack posts, you know that this campground is a favorite of mine. The Loj campground is a great starting place for most hikes within the High Peaks region.
The Adirondack Loj campground offers traditional campsites, lean-tos, yurts, cabins, and a lodge (loj). Plus the bathrooms and showers are heated and very clean for the campground. The campground is beside Heart Lake with several of the lean-tos being lakefront.
The leaves here turn bright colors and if you camp here in the fall, you will be showered with yellow and orange leaf confetti 🙂
From here you can kayak in Heart Lake, hike one of the many High Peaks Trails (such as Mount Marcy, Mount Colden, Phelps, Mt. Jo, Cascade Lake, etc), or sit in an Adirondack chair near the lodge reading a book and watching the leaves.
The Loj campground is located in the northern part of the Adirondacks near the High Peaks Wilderness. Since it is more northern and colder in the High Peaks area, the leaves turn here before the other parts of the Adirondacks. By end of September or early October depending on the year, the leaves have turned or can already be past peak. Keep this in mind if planning to stay at the Loj campground.
To reserve a spot at the Adirondack Loj Campground, check out their website.
Indian Lake Islands Campground
Indian Lake Islands Campground is an incredible campground that you must kayak or boat to your campsite. This means that all of the campsites are waterfront and super private. I absolutely love this campground in the middle of the Adirondacks.
So to get to your campground, you must get there by boat. We don’t have a boat, but had an inflatable kayak which worked fine for getting to our site. They also have canoes for rent if you want to stay here, but do not have your own water vessel. Some of the campsites on the northern part of the lake would be too far to kayak or canoe to, but most of the ones on the southern side would be doable with kayak. Call the ranger for the campground and they are able to explain if it is within kayak distance or not.
One thing that is a little different about kayaking to camp is that you will have to bring all of your gear with you in the kayak (and simultaneously keep it dry). I recommend using a dry bag for all of your important stuff and use a Rubbermaid container for anything else so that it stays relatively dry if some water drops on it.
When we stayed here, the whole kayak-in camping was new to us, but was absolutely incredible. From this campground there are gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains in all different fall colors. Plus there are great sunsets from the lake as well. This is the perfect fall campground if you are up for the adventure.
This campground is great if you plan on visiting anywhere in the middle of the Adirondacks, such as Indian Lake, Blue Mountain, or Buttermilk Falls.
To book a site at the Indian Lake Islands Campground, visit the Reserve America website for NY State Parks.
Tips for camping in the Adirondacks in the Fall
Be prepared for colder, wetter weather
Camping in the fall tends to be a bit colder than camping in the summer. The nights can get especially cold. Make sure that you have appropriate sleeping bags (and possibly liners) to keep you warm. Depending on the year, the fall can also be wetter with rainy weather. This makes the leaves look gorgeous, but can make camping a little less fun. Make sure that your tent is waterproof and that you have appropriate rain gear.
Remember that it gets darker much earlier in the day
The days start to get rapidly shorter at the same time the leaves begin to change. If you are more accustomed to hiking in the summer, remember that it can get darker several hours earlier than you may be used to. Always have a headlamp with you, even if you don’t plan on being on the trail after dark.
Choose a campground in the right area
I have listed several campgrounds in this post, but they are in all different places of the Adirondacks. If you have a specific hike in mind that you plan on doing and area that you want to visit, make sure that you are staying nearby. The Adirondacks are huge and can take a few hours driving across if you are staying on the opposite side of where you are wanting to visit.
Gear I recommend bringing on your fall Adirondack camping trip
- Warm sleeping bag
- Hand warmers
- Campstove with fuel
- Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set -We’ve had this exact set for several years and love it!
- Waterproof tent – We have an older version of the Marmot Limelight 2p and have absolutely loved it. We bought it on sale at REI almost 2 years ago. You don’t need a fancy tent, but a waterproof tent or tent with a good rainfly would be good.
- Warm socks -We love these Columbia socks, they are warm and wick away sweat well.
- Not necessary but fun: Inflatable Kayak -This is the inflatable kayak that we have and love how it has allowed us to access the water without having a lot of space to store a kayak.
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Overall, this is my guide to camping in the Adirondacks in the fall. I hope that this guide helps you plan a fall trip to the Adirondacks. It is such a special place to us and I hope that it can bring you as much joy as it has brought us.
If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!