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From Winter Carnivals to Striking Scenery: Learn What Makes This Season Special in the Adirondacks

Check Out 6 Things to Know Before Visiting

If you've never visited the Adirondack Park during the winter you're in for some cool surprises! The entire region has so much to offer from thrilling events to superb snowsports and more.

1) See How the Adirondack Park is a Wonderland of Winter Carnivals

fireworks over lake in winter
Crowds on the ice and along the shoreline watch fireworks at the Lake George Winter Carnival.  

Did you know? Carnivals aren't just for the summertime! A slew of winter carnivals take place each year in Lake George, Saranac Lake, Old Forge, Brant Lake, and more. These events consist of unique competitions like arctic golf, outhouse races, and ladies frying pan tosses, and more exciting happenings like fireworks. One of them even has an ice palace!

Plan your visit around a carnival and secure lodging »

2) Find Unparalleled Skiing & Snowboarding Opportunities

massive skiing hill
The Rumor at Gore Mountain - for experts only, but no worries, there are skiing opportunities for all levels!

You can't talk about winter in the Adirondacks without mentioning the premier ski resorts, which are located all around the region. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are the signature activities at these winter destinations, and whether you're just starting out or you're a veteran at the sport, there is a trail for you.

McCauley Mountain - Located in the Western Adirondacks, McCauley Mountain in Old Forge features an altitude of 2,200 feet and 21 ski trails. There are easy and expert-level trails that begin at the summit, giving everyone the chance to see the beautiful surroundings.

See rates and more info »

Gore Mountain - Close to the heart of the Adirondack Park is Gore Mountain in North Creek. Offering skiers and snowboarders 108 trails and 14 lifts across four peaks, you'll have a blast on the slopes and spend less time in line.

Whiteface Mountain - Ski and snowboard along multiple groomed cruising trails at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. This ski resort is home to one of the best ski experiences in the East and the region's longest single intermediate run.

3) Embark on Snowy Adventures at One-of-a-Kind Attractions

cave in winter
This massive stone bridge at Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Park is the largest cave entrance in the Eastern US.

Some of the most remarkable attractions in Adirondack Park offer a unique experience come winter. Beat the summer crowds and try something new when you snowshoe at one of these top Adirondack destinations:  

High Falls Gorge - Located in Wilmington and just a short drive from Lake Placid, High Falls Gorge will leave you stunned after you tour the site in winter. Start off by seeing the ice formations that have formed over the waterfalls, and then go snowshoeing around the nature trails.

Read about the Winter Waterfall Walk »

Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Park - Home to the largest marble cave entrance in the East, this geologic wonder is an impressive sight whether it's summer or winter. Enjoy a snowshoe tour of the entrance and the surrounding property. They also hold snowshoe races here!

Get info on the snowshoe trails »

Ausable Chasm - Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks," this natural attraction transforms after the snow falls. When weather allows, visitors will get to see icicles tower 150 feet over the Ausable River and a massive gorge that is blanketed in snow.

Learn more about winter tours »

4) Break Out the Camera for Breathtaking Winter Landscapes

tree on summit in winter
Photographer Carl Heilman II captured this stunning shot at Cat Mountain in Bolton Landing.

Take a winter hike to the top of an Adirondack mountain and witness a stunning landscape filled with snow-covered forests and frozen lakes. While fall is a particularly popular time of year for hiking in the Adirondack Park (a hotspot for leaf peeping), the region's winter transformation is equally as impressive if you're willing to brave the season's cold and snowy conditions.

With the proper planning, a winter hike can be the most exhilarating activity you do all season. Learn what to wear, what you need to bring to prepare, and then get ready to discover the beauty of winter. Happy hiking!

Bookmark the Current Hiking Conditions page to stay up to date on trail conditions >>

5) Discover Excellent Ice Fishing Opportunities

man ice fishes
As with winter hiking, ice fishing is a rewarding activity that requires proper preparation and clothing to stay safe.

Did you know? The Adirondack Park contains 3,000 ponds and lakes and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. That's a lot of opportunity for fishing - and ice fishing. Head out to catch Northern pike, perch, walleye, landlocked salmon, and more from December through mid-March, depending on ice thickness.

If you've never gone ice fishing before but are curious to try this activity consider going with someone experienced and hire a guide like Adirondack Mountain & Stream Guide Service. They offer guided fishing tours year-round, including ice fishing.

Get info on their fishing trips »

6) Uncover a Snowmobiler's Paradise With Tons of Terrific Trails

snowmobilers on frozen lake
Snowmobilers gather on Lake George. Photo credit: Charles Henry Eldridge.

The ski resorts of the Adirondacks aren't the only places where you can experience thrills in winter. From Old Forge to Lake Placid and beyond, there are hundreds of groomed and backcountry snowmobile trails just waiting to be explored. Compared to the rest of Northeast, the Adirondack Park is extremely popular among snowmobilers looking to ride along a vast trail network that winds through picturesque forests and connects to local communities.

As with ice fishing, if you aren't experienced with snowmobiling there are plenty of guides who can help you. Here's one we recommend:

C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours - Based out of Chestertown, C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours caters to snowmobilers of all levels, and have tour options to choose from or you can create your own tour.

Book a snowmobile tour »

Stay somewhere warm for your vacation - check out accommodations with fireplaces »

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