The West-Central Adirondacks is a region of great natural beauty where you can enjoy unique adventures in the Great Outdoors. We love to share this area because it’s where we started, and it still feels like home. Here are 5 fantastic activities for you and your family.
#1. Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is probably the greatest adventure you’ll experience in your life. You often hear about adventurous people hiking the PCT or the Appalachian Trail, but have you heard of anyone who paddled the entirety of a 740-mile water trail? The NFCT begins in the West Adirondacks at Old Forge and takes you all the way to Fort Kent in Maine.
The first 147 miles of the NFCT meander through the Adirondack Park, passing through the Fulton Chain of Lakes and by the High Peaks Wilderness before reaching the Saranac Lakes and the Saranac River. You can follow the whole trail to Maine or paddle along sections of the NFCT to explore some of the most beautiful areas of the Adirondacks. Some sections are aimed at passionate paddlers while other portions of the trail are perfect for amateurs wanting to gain some great experience closer to civilization.
The trail links lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, passing through multiple communities. It is the longest inland water trail in the US making this a unique experience. There are also 65 portages along the NFCT totaling over 70 miles of hiking. The trail follows the route of many traditional water trails once used by early settlers and Native Americans.
#2. Take the whole family on a kayak camping adventure
If you’re looking for an ideal wilderness location to take your family for a kayaking adventure, look no further than Stillwater Reservoir in the West-Central Adirondacks. This remote 6,700-acre lake features several islands that are ideal for camping. Around the lake, there are ample opportunities for family hikes and swimming, and getting there is an adventure in itself.
Few places are more peaceful and beautiful than this remote paradise. To get the most out of your kayaking adventure and have the camping and paddling equipment supplied, go with a licensed New York State guide on an AE Adventures organized tour.
#3. Enjoy fishing in the Black River
The Adirondack Region is a fantastic location fly or spin fishing. The DEC stocks several waterways and lakes annually to ensure every angler has a tale to tell.
The Black River is a popular waterway for anglers hoping to catch good-sized fish, especially rainbow and brown trout. The river flows northward from the Western Adirondacks through Lewis County following the divide between the Adirondack foothills and the Tug Hill Plateau and eventually empties into Lake Ontario at Black River Bay.
The Black River demonstrates broad changes in gradient from the flat meandering of the middle section to the whitewater rapids inside the lower river gorge. There is a prime angling area in the 8.5-mile portion from the Lewis County southern county line to Lyons Falls. Downstream from Lyons Falls, you can catch chain pickerel, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye. Kayaking and whitewater rafting are also popular on the Black River.
#4. Hike to a lake for lunch
The West Central Adirondacks offer countless opportunities for spectacular scenic hikes through forests, across mountainous terrain, around lakes, and alongside rivers. If you enjoy day hikes to locations where you can dine in style surrounded by some of the most beautiful sights in America, why not hike to a lake or pond in the Adirondacks?
The Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness just west of Old Forge boasts a wide range of trails. This wilderness area in the western foothills of the Adirondack Mountains features rocky, hilly, scenic views with swamps, small streams, lakes, ponds, and beaver meadows. The interesting name of “Ha-De-Ron-Dah” given to this wilderness area is the Iroquois word for “bark-eater” which was a derogatory name for the Algonquin people who lived in the mountains. It is the more phonetically correct version of the word European colonists transcribed as “Adirondack”.
The 3.7-mile Middle Settlement Lake Trail is an out-and-back trail that passes through beautiful woods, interesting boulders carved off a ridge, and a spectacular lake just perfect for a picnic lunch. The hiking conditions on the Middle Settlement Lake Trail are best March through November, but it’s also a great snowshoeing route in winter. If you want to take all the family, your dogs can come too. For overnight adventures, primitive camping is allowed over 150 feet from the trail or the lake. There is also a designated campsite at Middle Settlement Lake.
Another nearby scenic route is the 2.8-mile East Pond Trail. The trailhead is just off New York State Route 28 to the west of Old Forge and near the Adirondack Railroad Bridge. The East Pond Trail sees less traffic than other routes in the area so it’s perfect if you want to get away from the crowds and step into the real wilderness.
#5. Experience a scenic floatplane ride
Everyone has seen floatplanes in movies landing on lakes in the middle of remote forests and mountain ranges, but few people have experienced it for themselves. Two tour operators in the West Central Adirondacks operate fantastic floatplane charters that provide you with a birds-eye-view of the mountains and surrounding wilderness. Fly from the Seventh Lake Inlet with Payne’s Air Service or from Long Lake with Helms Aero Service.
An experienced bush pilot can fly you over the lush wooded mountains and hills of the Adirondacks. Not only can you enjoy the beauty of this natural attraction from a unique perspective, but you can also charter a plane to land your group in the most remote areas for backcountry camping adventures.
West-Central Adirondacks Outdoor Experiences Comments