The Adirondacks hold natural wonders of breathtaking landscapes and untamed forests waiting to be discovered. Step into a wilderness abundant in wildlife and sweeping views, discover island camping, refresh your culinary skills, or learn how to eat from the forest. A lifetime is not enough to experience everything the Adirondacks offers, but here’s your start with these tips and must-read books.
Discover Hidden Gems
Campsites abound in the Adirondacks, so how do you choose ones with beautiful views, privacy, and solitude? In the eastern region, Pharaoh Lake is a hiker’s paradise with 70 miles of trails along brooks, bogs, woods, and mountains. Choose a lean-to or primitive campsite and gaze at the Milky Way over the water. Wildlife spotting includes moose, black bears, bald eagles, and the common loon. Motorboats are not allowed.
Santanoni Preserve is closed to motorized vehicles and requires a five-mile hike for access to camping. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved, including primitive tent sites and lean-tos.
A state historic site built in 1893, Camp Santanoni was once home to a Great Adirondack Camp and is open to visitors. The original farm includes a creamery, smokehouse, and gardener’s cottage. The main lodge houses the artist’s studio and a boathouse. It’s well worth the visit to combine with your camping adventure.
Three groups of islands on Lake George include Glen Island, Long Island, and Narrow Island, and are boat-in only. Most campsites have docks and outhouses. Hike to Shelving Rock Falls, a 50-foot cascade of water that lies east of Lake George, where you can view the Tongue Mountain range, swim, and enjoy the quiet. If you like seclusion, this is your spot.
But note that preparation is key when camping remotely in the Adirondacks, so plan carefully.
Know Before You Go
Following a few hiking safety tips can prevent everything from blisters and soaked clothing from getting lost. Here are a few of the basics:
- Choose a hike that’s appropriate for your exertion level.
- Start with short hikes and increase as you gain confidence.
- Always sign in and out of trailhead registers so your movements can be traced.
- Wear a watch and carry a compass.
- Cell phones are not always reliable in the wilderness.
- Stay on trails and watch the weather, which can shift dramatically.
- Be observant of the environment around you.
And remember to relax and take in the diverse scenery!
Photo Credit: Bookstore Plus
Proper gear is vital, especially when camping in remote regions where help may not be readily available. Essential Survival Gear is a must-read book that will guide you with recommendations for appropriate gear and how to pack a first aid kit.
Always carry flashlights, waterproof matches, sunscreen, insect repellant, water-wicking clothes, maps, and a compass, whether hiking or camping. This printable suggested gear list from Adirondack Mountain and Stream Guide Service will also help remove the guesswork from your planning.
Hike the Best Places
Photo Credit: Bookstore Plus
Take it from Lisa Ballard, a third-generation Adirondack native who has explored the Adirondacks her entire life. Her must-read book, Hiking the Adirondacks, will take you to 47 of the best views, waterfalls, ponds, and trails. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, this book is an essential guide filled with photos, trail details, historical/geological facts, and easy-to-read trail maps.
To learn more about hiking the Adirondacks, The Trails of the Adirondacks is another must-read book that gives vivid descriptions of the backcountry destinations, along with an extensive history and rarely seen archival photos. The authors cover lush forest landscapes, striking mountain vistas, and scenic water trails to deliver an outstanding perspective of this unique wilderness.
Explore a Different Side of Nature
Have you ever wanted to try foraging but didn’t know where to start? Yes, it’s legal to forage for plants in the wild as long as you minimally harvest. Coveted ramps, fiddlehead, and lamb’s quarters appear in the spring. Edible mushrooms, like chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, and morels, are plentiful, but be sure to study up to know which ones leave alone. Search for wild strawberries, wild mint, and the deep purple serviceberry that tastes like a sweet blueberry. A must-read book to get you started is Foraging New England.
To participate in foraging, you can join a mushroom hunting group at Paul Smith’s VIC for a walk in the woods to identify edible species. Then, sample the local cuisine and remember to share it with your wildlife friends.
Cooking over a campfire is an outdoor experience in itself. Adding a few utensils, a cast iron grate, a Dutch oven, and your imagination can create easy meals that can simmer or bake while you read a book or birdwatch. Beyond the Tent will lure you in with recipes like Blueberry Breakfast Bake, Campfire Curry, and Campsite Fajita Fiesta.
Also, pick up a copy of Lipsmackin’ Camp Cooking, a must-read book that provides all the techniques and advice you’ll need to prepare tantalizing Huli Huli chicken, Smokey Mountain Chili, and even S’more’s Pie. Be prepared for your campground neighbors to ask what’s cooking.
Leave No Trace
Respecting the wilderness and following Leave No Trace’ll help keep the Adirondacks pristine and beautiful for everyone. Some of these seven principles may seem obvious but are worth mentioning because, if ignored, they can have a serious environmental impact on wildlife and their ecosystems.
- Plan and prepare.
- Camp and walk on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Minimize campfire impact.
- Leave what you find.
- Respect the wildlife.
- Be kind and considerate to others.
Your mindfulness will protect the waters, mountains, and forests for generations.
Get Started With Your Must-Read Books
The Adirondack adventure is open to all ages, outdoorsy levels, and nature lovers. Located in Lake Placid, The Bookstore Plus is your resource for up-to-date guidebooks, maps, and Adirondack history. Take a peek and tap into your adventurous side for an Adirondack immersion!