Think of an Adirondack trail as a wilderness with paths running through it. As a hiker, you are responsible for your own welfare. Therefore, certain precautions should be taken before, during, and after you begin your hike in the ADKs!
Energizing Day Hiking Lunch Ideas
Before You Hike
• Carry a map and a compass, and know how to use them.
• Tell someone where you are going and the approximate time you intend on returning.
• Wear a watch so you will be aware of sundown approaching.
• Have a pre-arranged “turn-around” time to prevent hiking in the dark.
• Allergic to bees? Remember to take an epi-pen.
• Check the weather reports before you leave, and wear or bring layers of clothing. The weather can change quickly.
• Choose a hike that is appropriate for you – don’t overexert yourself.
• Dress in non-cotton, light colored clothes. Light colors help you be seen by other hikers and help you spot ticks if they land on you.
During Your Hike
• Sign in and out at the trailhead registers.
• Don’t travel alone if it can be avoided. It’s best to stay with your party and not split up.
• Always carry water, as well as a pocket knife, whistle, waterproof matches, flashlight, energy food, first-aid kit, rain poncho, extra clothing, emergency blanket and cell phone*. Check out what you should pack in your backpack when hiking in the ADKs »»
• Drink water consistently throughout the hike.
• Make sure to take water and food breaks to allow your body to rest.
• Do not drink water from ponds, streams or lakes (unless you boil, filter or purify first).
• Avoid swimming or wading in unfamiliar waters.
• Be on the lookout for invasives and harmful plants, taking care to avoid them and the discomfort they may cause.
• If you become lost – keep calm and warm, stay dry, and stay put to make it easier for a search party to find you.
Safety Tips Per Weather Conditions
Stay Safe in the Summer
• Be aware of heat exhaustion and heat stroke – ensure that you take plenty of breaks and pack tons of water.
• If the skies darken, the wind increases, or lightning flashes – this is likely an electrical storm.
• If you are hiking during an electrical storm – avoid high ground, isolated trees, water and metal objects.
Stay Safe in the Winter
• Dress appropriately for winter conditions (layer up, avoid cotton as it is inefficient for heat preservation, and bring extra clothing).
• Keep your eye out for thin ice and be aware of snow squalls.
• If you experience frostbite – do NOT rub the area, as this can cause further damage.
• Test ice before putting your full weight on it. Remember the old rhyme: thick and blue, tried and true; thin and crispy, way too risky!
lattcure outfitters sleeping bag
*A note on cell phone reception in the Adirondacks. It’s spotty… do not count on a cell phone to bail you out of a jam. Reception varies widely depending on where you are and by cell phone carrier. Even on the main street of many Adirondack communities, if you have the wrong cell phone carrier, you are out of luck. Carry a cell phone as ‘something extra’ – but it should be considered the least important safety item you will have in your possession.
Discover Day Hikes in the Adirondacks
The Adirondack region is known for its many hiking opportunities, and there are trails and mountains for all ages and abilities. If you’re looking to get in an Adirondack hike but don’t necessarily want to trek 10 miles, we’ve got you covered! Below are our top picks for day hikes of varying difficulty. Remember, a short hike is not always an easy hike. Know your strengths and limitations, and always hike prepared.
Cascade Mountain in Keene is considered one of the most manageable High Peaks to hike in the Adirondacks. You can enjoy stunning views without a massive amount of effort. The distance to the summit, which is 4,098 feet elevation, can be reached by just a 2.4-mile trail.
keto hiking food
A word of warning: Although this is a doable High Peak hike it’s incredibly popular for good reason, and parking can be an issue. Make sure to arrive early and adhere by any parking restriction signs.
Cobble Lookout: A Feasible Alternative to Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington is a 5.2-mile one way hike to the top that is rated as difficult. But, you can hike nearby Cobble Lookout and still enjoy great views – including of Whiteface Mountain!
The 2.4-mile Cobble Lookout trail is excellent for all skill levels and offers views of Whiteface, Esther Mountains, and other High Peaks to the south.
Castle Rock: Great Sights, Beautiful Birds & Small Caves
Castle Rock in Blue Mountain Lake is rated moderate and is perfect for birding – you might see bald eagles! Hikers can choose to go straight up to the summit and back or as a loop; the loop takes longer, but you avoid a few steep sections. About two-thirds of the way to the summit there is a short break off from the trail that leads to small caves and rock walls.
Hadley Mountain: Fabulous Views & A Restored Fire Tower
Hadley Mountain in Hadley is a 3.4-mile trail that is best utilized from March through November (so no winter hikes here) and features panoramic views from the top, including of Great Sacandaga Lake.
There is a restored fire tower at the top that dates back to the early 1900s, although you can enjoy the fantastic views with or without making that climb.
best winter hikes in washington
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Choose Your Own Scenic Trail
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness near Schroon Lake offers several trails of varying length to choose from, and some are not too long. This is also an ideal place to camp when you’re ready for that, with 14 lean-tos to choose from. The lean-tos are popular, and often claimed early, so be prepared to both hike farther to reach an unclaimed one, or to use a designated camp site instead.
A few of the shorter trails in this area include Crab Pond Trail (1.4 miles), Lost Pond Trail (1.4 miles, plus 1.2 miles to loop around the pond), and Crane Pond Trail (1.7 miles).