The Adirondacks are one of our favorite areas for weekend trips from the New York area. There are so many wonderful places to see and visit in the Adirondacks. It is a magical place to us and is always memorable when we visit.
If visiting in the winter, be prepared for it to be cold. When we visited last January, the thermometer on our car said it was negative 18 and that was without the wind chill!
The Adirondacks are especially magical in the winter. Read further to see all the different types of winter activities you can do in the Adirondacks.
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*****Everything in this article is my personal opinion and experiences. Check your own resources and choose to do anything I discuss at your own risk. Some of the things in this post may be dangerous and not recommended for every body.
Even in the winter, hiking in the Adirondacks can be absolutely beautiful. One thing to note, in the winter the hiking can be extremely cold and snowy, so you will definitely need different gear than hiking in the warmer months.
Depending on where you plan on hiking, you may even need snowshoes. To hike in the High Peaks area, it is required that you have snowshoes (which you can bring yourself OR rent from the high peaks visitor center).
Some hikes may not require snowshoes, but will likely require microspikes. Here are the microspikes like the ones that we use, which you can find on Amazon.
Some of my favorite hikes in the Adirondacks for winter include Mount Jo, Giant’s Nubble, and Blue Mountain.
One of the extreme things to do that we haven’t done, but really want to do, is ice climbing. There are not many places in the eastern United States where it gets cold enough for ice climbing, but the Adirondacks does get cold and icy enough.
There are several guiding companies that will provide you with all of the gear and show you the ropes (literally) to ice climbing. Ice climbing is definitely a unique experience, but one that you will definitely remember for a lifetime.
Skiing is one popular reason that people visit the Adirondacks in the winter. There are two main ski resorts that are in different areas of the Adirondacks.
Gore Mountain is located in the eastern Adirondacks, not too far from Lake George.
Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort is located close to Lake Placid and is a really popular and beautiful place to ski.
Both Gore Mountain and Whiteface Mountain have incredible views in addition to great ski slopes.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is another great way to enjoy the snow in the Adirondacks. It is a great option if you want to spend time outside in the snow, but aren’t necessarily a great downhill skier. With cross country skiing, you can go more at your own pace along more gentle ground.
There are plenty of places to cross country ski throughout the Adirondacks. A lot of hiking trails in the Adirondacks turn into cross country ski trails in the winter.
One popular place to cross country ski is at Mt. Van Hoevenberg where the 1980 Winter Olympics were held. You can ski on some of the same trails that the Olympic athletes did in the past and future Olympians train on.
The new Adirondack Cascade Welcome Center also offers cross country ski rentals and 12 miles of cross country ski trails.
If you’re in the Adirondacks in the winter for very long, you will spot snowmobiles everywhere. Since the lakes freeze over, people drive their snowmobiles around on the frozen lake and park them at the same place on the ice that they park their boats in the summer.
It’s not out of the ordinary to see twenty snowmobiles parked out on the ice outside of a restaurant or pub.
Even if you’re not a local, you can rent snowmobiles or go on a snowmobile tour to get the full experience of riding a snowmobile in the Adirondacks in the winter. Tours can be pretty pricey, but it may be worth it to you if you’re wanting to ride a snowmobile like a local.
One popular company that offers snowmobile tours in the Adirondacks is C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours.
Most, if not all, lakes in the Adirondacks completely freeze over. The ice does not stop anglers from fishing for the biggest trout. Ice fishing is a popular activity in the Adirondacks throughout the winter. If you visit a lake in the winter, you will see little huts on the lake where inside people are ice fishing.
If you don’t know, ice fishing consists of cutting a hole into the ice and fishing through the hole in the ice.
There are several outfitters that run ice fishing expeditions throughout the winter time at varying lengths.
One of the outfitters that run ice fishing trips is Adirondack Ice Fishing.
If you visit the Adirondacks in the winter, it may be too cold for you to get out too much. If this is the case, you may be interested in a nice drive through the Adirondacks.
One awesome thing about New York state is that they do a fantastic job clearing the roads in the snow. Even if there are several feet of snow on the ground, you can pretty much guarantee that the roads will be mostly clear within a few hours.
You can see a lot of great things in the Adirondacks from even just your car window. If you’re interested in my recommendations for having the ultimate Adirondack road trip, check out my Adirondack Road Trip Blog Post.
I hope that this guide helps you in planning a trip in the winter to the Adirondacks! Please let me know your comments and questions down below!
Thanks for reading!