The Adirondacks is a mountainous region located in upstate New York, north of Albany and Syracuse. And it’s basically a mountain-lovers’ paradise! While this region is quite large and impossible to explore in one weekend, we ended up having our sights on Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980s Winter Olympics. It’s a 4.5 hour drive one-way from where we live, which made it challenging to squeeze in places to see and things to do. But we made a list of top things to see and do, booked our AirBNB cabin for 3 nights, and hit the road!
We had three top priorities while visiting Lake Placid: Olympic sights, mountains, and craft beer! COVID has made it tricky (and sometimes uncomfortable) to visit indoor activities, so we decided to either drive by or walk around the Olympic sights. The biggest sight I wanted to see was Mt Van Hoevenberg, home of Bobsledding and Luge during both the 1932 and 1980 Olympics.
It’s free to wander around and check out the tracks. These included a skeleton & bobsled track, as well as North America’s longest mountain coaster, The Cliffside Coaster. Unfortunately the coaster was not quite open when we went, due to maintenance, but is something I’ve added to my bucket list!
This sight also has some sentimental value, as my late Uncle had competed in the 1980 Olympics for luge. It was incredible to see exactly where he competed at (and how scary the sled tracks are!). You can even participate in your own bobsled experience. Other Olympic sites close by to visit include the Ski Jump and the Herb Brooks Arena.
There’s also a plethora of hiking trails throughout the Adirondack region for all skill levels. Since we’re novice to intermediate hikers bringing our pup for the hike, we chose to hike Mount Jo, which offered scenic views of the nearby lake. The hike took us about 3 hours round trip, including time to decompress on top of the mountain. It wasn’t an easy hike and it even involved climbing rocks closer to the summit! But the views maybe the challenge worth it!
Due to lack of time and weather, our last priority was to check out Whiteface Mountain. We drove up to the summit via Veterans’ Memorial Highway, but as of July 2nd, you can also take a gondola ride! On top of the summit is a castle built from native stone and offers a 360-degree view of the Adirondacks. On a clear-day glimpses of Vermont and even Canada can be seen at the top. The mountain’s east slope is home to a major ski area with the greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies, which hosted the skiing competitions for the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was quite the breathtaking (and nerve-wracking) to drive up to the top!
There is so much to see and do in the region, we could have easily spent a week here. Outdoor lovers will most certainly not be bored in the Adirondacks!