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Just a few hours north of New York City, the Adirondack Mountains offer an outdoor paradise. These mountains lie within the Adirondack Park and contain millions of acres of protected land. Pristine and expansive, the Adirondacks' mountains and rivers have inspired generations to hike, paddle, and play in nature.
Over millennia, as glaciers carved away the landscape, mountains began to take shape. Unlike the Rockies and the Appalachians, the Adirondack Mountains do not form a connected range, but rather a 160-mile wide dome of more than 100 peaks. Although the mountains are formed from ancient rocks more than 1,000 million years old, geologically, the dome is a newborn. Because of this, the Adirondacks have been referred to as "new mountains from old rocks." It is theorized that there is a "hotspot" beneath the region, which causes continued uplift at the rate of 1.5-3 cm annually.
One of the first places to receive Forever Wild status in the United States, these mountains have been cherished as an outdoor playground, accessible and open to all, for centuries. From the shores of Lake Champlain to the tallest ridge of the Tug Hill Plateau, the Adirondack Mountains offer an astonishing natural paradise filled with possibility for adventure in every season.
The Adirondack Mountains are the place to experience the thrill of every season and climate, to connect with nature and feel the great power of untouched wilderness. The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Mountain Club take great care and pride in preserving the mountains, maintaining trails and structures you can use to hike or camp in the area, and providing important information to explorers.
Each year, hundreds of volunteers take to the mountains to complete specific trail maintenance work and reconstruction projects, motivated by a shared love for the wilderness and adventure found in the Adirondack Mountains.
The Adirondack Mountains (/ædɪˈrɒndæk/; a-də-RÄN-dak) form a massif in northeastern New York with boundaries that correspond roughly to those of Adirondack Park. They cover about 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2). The mountains form a roughly circular dome, about 160 miles (260 km) in diameter and about 1 mile (1,600 m) high. The current relief owes much to glaciation. There are more than 200 lakes around the mountains, including Lake George, Lake Placid, and Lake Tear of the Clouds, which is the source of the Hudson River. The Adirondack Region is also home to hundreds of mountain summits, with some reaching heights of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) or more.
The Mohawks had no written language, so Europeans used various phonetic spellings of the word, including Achkokx, Rondaxe, and Adirondax. Such words were strongly associated with the region, but they were not yet considered a place name; an English map from 1761 labels the area simply Deer Hunting Country. In 1837, the mountains were named Adirondacks by Ebenezer Emmons.
The early European perception of the Adirondacks was of a vast, inhospitable wilderness. One map of the area from 1771 shows the region as a blank space in the northeastern corner of New York. In 1784, Thomas Pownhall wrote that the Native Americans referred to the area as "the Dismal Wilderness, or the Habitation of Winter," and that the area was "either not much known to them, or, if known, very wisely by them kept from the Knowledge of the Europeans." He clearly had the impression that native people did not live within the Adirondack mountains.
The rocks of the Adirondack mountains originated about two billion years ago as 50,000 feet (ca. 15,240 m) thick sediments at the bottom of a sea located near the equator. Because of plate tectonics these collided with Laurentia (the precursor of modern North America) in a mountain building episode known as the Grenville orogeny. During this time the sedimentary rock was changed into metamorphic rock. It is these Proterozoic minerals and lithologies that make up the core of the massif. Minerals of interest include:
Around 600 million years ago, as Laurentia drifted away from Baltica (European Craton), the area began to be pulled apart forming the Iapetus Ocean. Faults developed, running north to northeast which formed valleys and deep lakes. Examples visible today include the grabens Lake George and Schroon Lake. By this time the Grenville mountains had been eroded away and the area was covered by a shallow sea. Several thousand feet of sediment accumulated on the sea bed. Trilobites were the principal life-form of the sea bed, and fossil tracks can be seen in the Potsdam sandstone floor of the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center.
The Adirondack Regions feature over 100 welcoming communities, mountains, lakes, verdant valleys, and steep cliffs. Spanning more than six million acres, the Adirondack Mountains are home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 of the United States. Like a patchwork quilt, the Adirondacks are made up of ten distinct regional destinations, each offering their own brand of Adirondack adventure.
The Adirondack Mountain Reserve's trail system has more than 27 miles of trails. The majority of the trail system consists of the Lake Road and the trails west of the road. The numerous trails access waterfalls and scenic lookouts of the Ausable Lakes, the valley and surrounding mountains; waterfalls and scenic overlooks just outside AMR lands and trails that lead into the two adjacent wildernesses.
While the rocks making up the Adirondack region are about one-billion years old, the mountains are relatively young. They are always growing too, as subsurface rock rises from the combined forces of friction between the continental and oceanic plates, and the relief of downward pressure that now-melted glaciers once imposed. Unlike other mountain ranges in a long strip, the Adirondack mountains form a circular dome of mountains.
The western and southern Adirondacks are gentle landscapes of hills, lakes, wetlands, ponds, and streams. The northeast section of the Park is the highest in elevation and contains the High Peaks region. Forty three of the high peaks rise above 4,000 feet and 11 have alpine summits that rise above the timberline. The eastern section of the Adirondacks borders Lake Champlain and the state of Vermont and is mostly composed of smaller mountains and valleys, which is popular for agriculture.
The Adirondack Mountains are a clustered together, a circle rather than a chain. The mountains are made of ancient rock, more than a billion years old, recently uplifted in a dome starting about five million years ago. The mountains continue to rise two to three millimeters per year. Straight valleys, many containing dark-colored rivers or lakes, cross the dome northeast to southwest like long scratch marks. Though the valleys resemble the striations of glaciers on a rock, they formed along faults. Veins of green evergreen forest are visible throughout the mountains now that the leaves of the surrounding deciduous forest are gone. Water drains down and around the dome into the valleys that surround it. Lower elevation land around the Adirondack Dome is light green or gold.
The red and orange tones of autumn had faded to brown in the mountains of New York and Vermont when this true color image was taken on November 8, 2009. The contrast between the green and gold valleys and brown mountains help reveal the unique geography of the region.
Remember we mentioned Saranac Lake and the Saranac six challenge Mount Baker is one of those six mountains, and is right in the village of Saranac Lake. It's an out and back of 1.8 miles with 900ft up and down, and it might be the most straightforward of the 6ers to climb, but it's real beautiful, with views of McKenzie Mountain, Lake Flower and the High Peaks from the peak.
Frasier's Guide Service has been guiding folks like you through the Adirondacks' mountains, lakes, rivers and streams for over 30 years. We are fully licensed and specialize in back-country outings like:
Adirondack RegionEncompassing one-third of the total land area of New York State, the Adirondack Park is unique in the United States. Within its boundaries are vast forests and rolling farmlands, towns and villages, mountains and valleys, lakes, ponds and free-flowing rivers, private lands and public forest.
Human presence in the Adirondack region of New York spans thousands of years to the Paleo-Indian period. The rugged mountains served as hunting grounds for several nearby Native American peoples, most notably the Mahicans and the Mohawks of the Iroquois Confederacy. These tribes did not live directly in the Adirondack Mountains but on lakes and in river valleys near the area. Today, the federally-recognized Native American tribe in the Adirondack region of New York is the St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians of New York of the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in Franklin County.
The question of how different mountains formed has been around for many years, Yang said, and for very large features such as the 1,500-mile Appalachian Mountain range, tectonic plate boundary collision processes are relatively well understood. But for mountains that lie entirely within one fairly stable tectonic plate, known as intercratonic mountains, uplift mechanisms that are not boundary related, are less clear.
The Adirondacks are my happy place, especially Lake George and the surrounding mountains. If you go to Lake George make sure to hike Buck, Black, Cat, or Sleeping Beauty Mountains and definitely visit some of the amazing local breweries like Bolton Landing Brewing Company, Adirondack Brewery, Common Roots Brewing Company, and Paradox Brewery. They are all on the lake or a short drive away!
Nestled in the mountains of upstate New York, near the Hudson River and Gore Mountain, our four-season Adirondack hotel and resort is a refuge from the pace and pressure of everyday life. Our rustic environment invites you to step back to more tranquil times. 59ce067264