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Planning the Perfect Adventure Trip to Lake Placid, New York

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Lake Placid: historic town in Adirondack Mountains known for winter sports. Offers hiking to high peaks, skiing and snowboarding on Whiteface Mountain, and kayaking/canoeing/fishing on scenic lakes and rivers.


Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid, NY, is a historic town renowned for its rich legacy of winter sports and year-round adventure opportunities. This charming village gained worldwide fame as the host of the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980, and it continues to be a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. Whiteface Mountain, one of the highest peaks in New York, offers challenging slopes for skiing and snowboarding, drawing visitors from around the globe during the snowy season. Its vertical drop is one of the most formidable in the East, making it a favorite among thrill-seekers.

Beyond its winter allure, Lake Placid is a paradise for hikers and outdoor lovers. The area boasts a network of trails that cater to all levels of hikers, leading to the high peaks of the Adirondacks. These trails offer breathtaking views, serene forests, and the chance to encounter local wildlife, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Notable hikes include the ascent to Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York State, and the picturesque trails around Mirror Lake and Lake Placid.

In the warmer months, the town’s scenic lakes and rivers come alive with activity. Kayaking, canoeing, and fishing are popular pastimes, with serene waters providing a perfect backdrop for relaxation or adventure. The pristine lakes offer crystal-clear waters and a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping winter sports, peaceful hikes, or aquatic adventures, Lake Placid offers a diverse array of activities that celebrate the natural beauty and historic charm of this iconic Adirondack destination.

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Getting to Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is a scenic destination accessible by various modes of transportation.

By Air: The closest major airport to Lake Placid is Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK), located about 16 miles away in Saranac Lake. It offers limited regional flights, primarily from Boston. For more flight options, travelers can fly into Burlington International Airport (BTV) in Vermont, about a 2-hour drive, or Albany International Airport (ALB), approximately 2.5 hours away by car. Both airports offer car rental services, making it easy to drive to Lake Placid.

By Car: Driving to Lake Placid provides the most flexibility and allows travelers to fully appreciate the stunning Adirondack scenery. From New York City, it’s roughly a 5-hour drive via Interstate 87 North (the Adirondack Northway) to Exit 30, then Route 73 to Lake Placid. From Montreal, it’s about a 2-hour drive via Autoroute 15 South to Interstate 87 South, then Exit 34 to Route 9N and Route 86.

By Bus: Adirondack Trailways offers bus services to Lake Placid from various locations, including New York City and Albany. The Lake Placid Bus Station is conveniently located in the village, making it easy to access local accommodations and attractions upon arrival.

By Train: While there is no direct train service to Lake Placid, Amtrak operates routes to nearby cities such as Westport and Plattsburgh. From these stations, travelers can arrange for a shuttle, taxi, or car rental to complete the journey to Lake Placid, which is about an hour away.

No matter how you choose to travel, getting to Lake Placid is the first step in enjoying the natural beauty and outdoor adventures that this charming mountain village has to offer.

Local Adventure Vibe

Lake Placid, NY, exudes a vibrant local adventure vibe, attracting outdoor enthusiasts year-round. The town’s community embraces a spirit of adventure that is evident in its thriving clubs and events.

Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) offers a variety of adventure events throughout the year, catering to outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. These include guided hikes and backpacking trips in the Adirondack Mountains, paddling adventures on local lakes and rivers, winter sports like snowshoeing and skiing, workshops and clinics for skill development, conservation efforts through trail maintenance events, special challenges and youth/family programs. These events offer a chance to explore new trails, meet fellow adventurers and support environmental stewardship. For more information and participation details, visit ADK’s official website.

For runners, the Lake Placid Running Club is a standout. This friendly group meets regularly for scenic runs around Mirror Lake and through the surrounding trails. The club is known for organizing the Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon, a top event that draws participants from near and far to tackle its challenging yet picturesque course.

Mountain biking aficionados will find a home with the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA). BETA maintains an extensive network of trails in the Adirondacks, catering to riders of all skill levels. The Wilmington Whiteface 100K is a premier mountain biking event, offering a grueling race through rugged terrain and showcasing the area’s stunning landscapes.

Climbers can test their skills at The Crux Climbing Center, a top-notch climbing gym located just outside Lake Placid. The Crux offers a variety of climbing routes and bouldering problems suitable for all abilities. It’s a hub for the local climbing community and often hosts competitions and training sessions.

In addition to these clubs and events, Lake Placid offers myriad other adventure activities. The town’s lakes are perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking, while nearby rivers provide excellent white-water rafting opportunities. During winter, in addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can enjoy ice climbing and snowshoeing through the serene, snow-covered forests.

Lake Placid’s local adventure scene is a testament to its rich outdoor culture, providing endless opportunities for exploration and excitement.

Uniquely Lake Placid

Lake Placid, NY, is a destination brimming with unique attractions and experiences that set it apart from other travel spots. One of the town’s most iconic features is its Olympic heritage. Travelers can visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, which showcases artifacts and memorabilia from the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, including the legendary “Miracle on Ice” hockey game. The Olympic Center, where these historic events took place, remains a vibrant hub for ice sports, offering public skating sessions and tours.

Another uniquely Lake Placid experience is riding the Cloudsplitter Gondola at Whiteface Mountain. This scenic lift ride provides breathtaking views of the Adirondack High Peaks and the surrounding wilderness, offering a unique vantage point year-round. In the winter, visitors can also experience the thrill of the Olympic bobsled run at the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience, where they can race down the track with a professional driver.

For nature lovers, the Wild Center in nearby Tupper Lake is an interactive natural history museum that highlights the Adirondack region’s unique ecosystems. Its Wild Walk, a trail of elevated pathways through the treetops, offers a distinctive perspective on the forest.

Lake Placid is also home to Mirror Lake, a pristine body of water with no motorboats allowed, ensuring a tranquil atmosphere perfect for paddleboarding, kayaking, or simply enjoying the serene views. The town’s quaint Main Street is filled with unique shops, artisanal eateries, and the locally famous Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, known for its craft beers.

These uniquely Lake Placid experiences, from Olympic history to natural beauty, make it a fascinating destination for any traveler.

Food & Drink

Lake Placid, NY, offers a vibrant culinary scene that perfectly complements its adventurous spirit. After a day of exploring the Adirondacks, adventure travelers can unwind and refuel at some of the town’s best bars and restaurants.

Smoke Signals is a standout spot with its lakefront patio, live music, and a menu full of smoky delights like the Smoked Reuben and Southwest salad. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and extensive beer selection, it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The rustic decor and stunning views of Mirror Lake make it an ideal spot to enjoy a meal after a day on the trails​.

For those seeking a blend of fine dining and casual comfort, Top of the Park is an excellent choice. This restaurant offers shareable plates and craft cocktails with panoramic views of the lake. Popular dishes include the Vegan Delight and Pan Seared Rainbow Trout, which are perfect for those looking to enjoy fresh, flavorful cuisine in a relaxed setting​​.

Big Slide Brewery & Public House is a must-visit for craft beer enthusiasts. This brewery offers a rotating selection of house-made brews and a menu featuring hearty pub fare like burgers and poutine. It’s an excellent spot to relax with friends and enjoy the vibrant local beer scene​​.

For a more intimate setting, The Cottage at Mirror Lake Inn provides a cozy lakeside experience. Known for its comfort food and inviting atmosphere, it’s a perfect place to unwind with dishes like the Adirondack Nachos or the Cottage Burger, paired with a warm drink by the fireplace​​.

Lisa G’s is another beloved local spot offering an eclectic menu and creative cocktails. With its warm, welcoming vibe and dishes like the Cuban Sandwich and Shrimp & Grits, it’s a great place to recharge after a day of hiking or skiing​​.

These establishments not only offer delicious food and drink but also embody the adventurous spirit of Lake Placid. Whether you’re looking for a lively spot to enjoy music and beer or a quiet place to relax by the lake, these bars and restaurants provide the perfect setting for adventure travelers to unwind and enjoy the local flavor.

Best Places to Stay in Lake Placid, NY for Adventure Travelers

Lake Placid, New York, offers a variety of accommodations that cater to adventure travelers, providing comfort and easy access to the outdoor activities that make this area so popular. Here are some of the best places to stay for those seeking adventure:

High Peaks Resort: High Peaks Resort is centrally located in the heart of Lake Placid, making it an excellent base for adventurers. The resort offers comfortable rooms with stunning views of Mirror Lake and the surrounding mountains. Guests can enjoy complimentary kayaks, paddleboards, and rowboats, as well as direct access to hiking and biking trails. The on-site dining options and heated indoor and outdoor pools provide relaxation after a day of exploring.

Whiteface Lodge: For a luxurious yet rustic experience, Whiteface Lodge offers spacious suites and a range of amenities, including a full-service spa, indoor/outdoor swimming pools, and a private movie theater. Located a short drive from Whiteface Mountain, it’s an ideal spot for skiers and snowboarders. The lodge also provides easy access to hiking trails, kayaking, and canoeing on Lake Placid.

Adirondack Loj: Operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Loj offers a more rugged and authentic experience for adventure travelers. Located at Heart Lake, just a short drive from Lake Placid, the Loj provides simple, comfortable accommodations, including private rooms, shared bunkrooms, and campsites. It’s the perfect starting point for hiking the High Peaks, with trailheads right outside the door.

Lake Placid Lodge: For those seeking a combination of luxury and outdoor adventure, Lake Placid Lodge offers elegant rooms and cabins with spectacular views of Lake Placid and the surrounding wilderness. The lodge provides access to a variety of activities, including boating, fishing, hiking, and skiing. The on-site restaurant, Artisans, features locally sourced cuisine and offers a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Hampton Inn & Suites Lake Placid: Located on the shores of Mirror Lake, Hampton Inn & Suites offers modern amenities and a convenient location for adventure travelers. Guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and an indoor pool. The hotel is within walking distance of downtown Lake Placid’s shops and restaurants, as well as outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and paddling.

Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa: Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa combines historic charm with modern comforts, offering elegant rooms with stunning lake views. The inn features a private beach, an award-winning spa, and multiple dining options. It’s a great choice for travelers looking to unwind after a day of skiing at Whiteface Mountain or hiking in the Adirondacks.

Mountain Brook Lodge: For a more budget-friendly option, Mountain Brook Lodge in nearby Wilmington provides cozy, rustic accommodations with easy access to Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding wilderness. The lodge offers free breakfast, and its location is perfect for adventurers looking to ski, hike, or explore the Ausable River.

These accommodations in Lake Placid offer adventure travelers a range of options, from luxurious resorts to rustic lodges, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay while exploring the natural beauty and outdoor activities that the Adirondacks have to offer.

Best Adventures Near Lake Placid

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid, NY, offers a plethora of adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking high peaks to kayaking serene lakes, the area is a playground for adventurers of all kinds. Here are some of the best adventures near Lake Placid.


Lake Placid is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks, making it a premier destination for hikers. Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York State at 5,344 feet, is a must-visit for serious hikers. The trail to the summit is challenging but rewarding, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains​.

For a less strenuous hike, Cascade Mountain is a popular choice. It’s one of the easiest high peaks to climb and provides spectacular views from its bald summit. The 4.8-mile round-trip hike is accessible for most hikers and is a great introduction to the Adirondack High Peaks.

Another notable hike is Indian Head and Fish Hawk Cliffs. Known for its iconic views of the Ausable Lakes, this hike is about 10 miles round trip and offers some of the most photographed vistas in the Adirondacks. The trail is moderately difficult and provides a mix of forested paths and open ledges​.

Water Adventures

The lakes and rivers around Lake Placid offer numerous water-based activities. Mirror Lake, right in the heart of Lake Placid village, is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing. Its calm, motor-free waters make it ideal for a relaxing paddle.

For a more adventurous experience, Lake Placid itself is larger and offers more extensive opportunities for exploration. Kayaking or canoeing on Lake Placid allows adventurers to explore its many bays and islands. Fishing is also popular here, with ample opportunities to catch bass, trout, and pike.

Ausable River, known for its fly fishing, is another gem. The river’s West Branch is famous for its trout fishing, and several guides offer trips to help visitors navigate the best fishing spots. Additionally, the Ausable Chasm, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks,” offers tubing and white-water rafting for those seeking a bit of adrenaline​.

Winter Sports

In winter, Lake Placid transforms into a snow-covered wonderland. Whiteface Mountain, with its 3,430-foot vertical drop, is a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding. It offers a range of trails for all skill levels and boasts the greatest vertical drop in the eastern United States. The mountain also features terrain parks and a dedicated family area, making it suitable for both thrill-seekers and families​​.

Cross-country skiing is another popular winter activity. The Mount Van Hoevenberg Nordic Center provides over 50 kilometers of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing. The center also offers biathlon experiences, where visitors can try their hand at this Olympic sport, combining cross-country skiing with target shooting.

For a unique winter adventure, try the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute. Located on Mirror Lake, the chute sends riders speeding across the frozen lake surface, providing a thrilling experience for all ages. Ice climbing is also popular in the Adirondacks, with numerous frozen waterfalls and ice-covered cliffs offering challenges for climbers of all skill levels​.

Climbing and Biking

Rock climbing enthusiasts will find plenty to challenge them in the Adirondacks. The Trap Dike on Mount Colden is one of the most famous routes, offering a mix of rock climbing and scrambling with breathtaking views. There are also numerous crags and cliffs throughout the region that provide routes for climbers of all abilities.

Mountain biking is another popular activity around Lake Placid. The Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) maintains an extensive network of trails that cater to all levels of riders. The Craig Wood Loop is a favorite, offering challenging terrain and scenic views. The Wilmington Flume Trails are also highly recommended, providing a mix of technical sections and flowy singletrack​​.

Unique Experiences

For a truly unique experience, visit the Wild Center in nearby Tupper Lake. This natural history museum offers an immersive experience into the Adirondack ecosystem. The Wild Walk, a trail of elevated pathways through the treetops, gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the forest and is a hit with both kids and adults.

Lastly, no visit to Lake Placid would be complete without exploring its Olympic heritage. The Lake Placid Olympic Museum offers a fascinating look at the town’s Olympic history, while the Olympic Jumping Complex allows visitors to ride to the top of the ski jumps for stunning views and a sense of what it’s like to be an Olympic jumper.

From the highest peaks to the calmest waters, Lake Placid offers an adventure for every type of outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re scaling a mountain, paddling a pristine lake, or skiing down a world-class slope, the adventures near Lake Placid are sure to leave you with lasting memories of this beautiful region.


Lake Placid, NY, is a haven for adventure travelers, offering a wide range of activities that showcase the natural beauty and rich history of the region. From hiking the high peaks of the Adirondacks and kayaking on serene lakes to skiing down the challenging slopes of Whiteface Mountain and exploring the Olympic legacy, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast. The vibrant local dining scene, with its mix of casual and fine dining options, provides the perfect way to relax and refuel after a day of adventure. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of the great outdoors or a peaceful retreat in nature, Lake Placid offers unforgettable experiences that will leave you longing to return.