This four-season resort town serves up a varied menu of Adirondacks adventures.
Hemmed in by forests, lakes, and mountain peaks, outdoor activities take place year-round at Saranac Lake. Hike or bike along the Saranac River, paddle between the three lakes by canoe or kayak, or play a game of golf. As the snow begins to fall, set out to explore by snowmobile, try snowshoeing or ice fishing, or hit the ski slopes at Mt Pisgah. For a memorable camping experience, snag a spot at one of the island campsites—be warned, they book up quickly! If you miss out, there are more state campgrounds nearby, plus ‘lean-tos’ for hikers in Saranac Lakes Wild Forest.
South of Saranac Lake, the famous High Peaks are the headline act of the Adirondacks region. This is hiking heaven, with rugged trails crisscrossing the 46 mountain peaks, magnificent views across the forested valleys, and summits reaching up to 5,344 feet. Come prepared if you want to camp out—backcountry campsites are remote with minimal facilities, or you can venture off-piste and pitch your tent in the wilderness.
Lakes, rivers, and forest-fringed wetlands speckle the landscapes north of Saranac Lake. Escape the crowds to paddle around the Saint Regis Canoe Area, where some primitive campsites can only be reached by water. Further west, there’s a state campground at Cranberry Lake, and the surrounding hiking trails can also be explored by snowmobile in the winter months.
South of Saranac, the lively resort town of Long Lake is the gateway to the 14-mile-long lake, a popular spot for boat cruises, seaplane flights, and water sports. Check into one of the state or private campgrounds at Long Lake or neighboring Raquette Lake. Continuing west, there’s great backcountry camping in the Moose River Plains.
Anytime is a good time to visit Saranac Lake. May through August sees the biggest crowds, and the summer season is the ideal time to swim and get on the water. In fall, the forested shores transform with a rainbow of foliage, affording some of the best leaf-peeping in the Adirondacks, while in springtime, daffodils bloom throughout town. In February, the 10-day Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is one of the region’s most popular events.