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The Adirondacks provide countless opportunities for recreation, whether you prefer hiking, paddling, rock climbing or birdwatching. Below are five trips that have been suggested by Adirondackers who work for organizations that specialize in trip planning.

A trail less travelled

Activity: Hiking Hopkins Mountain via Mossy Cascade Trail

Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 6.4 miles round trip

Parking: A small pullout on state Route 73 two miles south of Keene Valley, just south of bridge marked “AuSable River”

Basics: This less-crowded trail offers a nice path along Mossy Cascade brook and through pretty woods to one of the best summit views in Keene Valley. The perspective of the High Peaks from Hopkins’ summit is very unique, and the view straight down the valley of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve is awe inspiring.

Obstacles: Just when you think you’re almost there, the trail gets really steep! Luckily it only lasts a few minutes before you’re rewarded with open rock and a nearly flat trail to the summit.

Perks: Cascade-worthy views without the crowds

— Jan Wellford of The Mountaineer in Keene Valley

A birdwatcher’s


Activity: Birdwatching and paddling the Osgood River

Rating: Average paddling and wildlife-watching skills required

Distance: Approximately six-mile round trip

Parking: A small pullout on White Pine Road after the bridge crossing Jones Pond Outlet. You can also put in at the DEC boat launch area on Osgood Pond, two-tenths of a mile down White Pine Road from state Route 86.

Basics: The Osgood River is a prime example of a lowland conifer peatland with habitat resembling a northern boreal forest ecosystem. Birds that inhabit this area, such as gray jays, Lincoln’s sparrows, olive-sided flycatchers, black-backed woodpeckers and palm warblers, are highly sought after by both beginner and avid birdwatchers. All flatwater allows for an easy paddle and great wildlife watching. River otter, beaver, muskrat, deer and the occasional bald eagle can be seen along the river.

Obstacles: Launching your boat at Osgood Pond will add time and miles to your trip, but on a sunny, calm day it can be worth the extra effort. Launching at Jones Pond Outlet allows for quicker access to the Osgood River.

Perks: Flora and fauna of a true northern boreal forest ecosystem ... and maybe a moose!

— Brian McAllister, a naturalist in the Saranac Lake area

Climbing the Courthouse Cliff

Activity: Rock climbing, hiking, optional camping trip to the Courthouse Cliff

Rating: Beginning/intermediate rock climbing (5.4 - 5.10), intermediate hike

Distance: Five miles round trip

Parking: The Garden parking lot in Keene Valley

Basics: This 75-foot high wilderness cliff serves as a great introduction to backcountry rock climbing in the Adirondacks. To approach, hike up the John’s Brook trail for 1.5 miles to Deer Brook lean-to, which makes a great camping site if an overnighter is planned. Continue past the lean-to for approximately 5-10 minutes until a descent to the next small stream crossing is reached. Leave the John’s Brook trail at this point by heading right (west), following the faint climber’s trail that proceeds up the left bank of the small brook. This is followed moderately at first and then steeply up toward the Fourth Brother for approximately 30 to 40 minutes until the rock wall is reached. The cliff sports several crack lines and can be easily top-roped or led ...

Obstacles: The trail is a herd path and not always obvious.

Perks: Excellent yet secluded climbing with stunning views from the top!

— Ed Palen of Adirondack Rock and River guide service in Keene

A wild river ride

Activity: Whitewater rafting on the Hudson River Gorge

Rating: Beginner to advanced

Distance: 17-mile raft trip through the Hudson River Gorge

Parking: Large parking area on state Route 30 as you enter Indian Lake

Basics: The Hudson Gorge is a wild, remote scenic river gorge cutting through the central Adirondack Mountains.

Obstacles: Big waves, river holes, large boulders to maneuver your raft around with the help of a skilled river guide

Perks: The refreshing swim in a still pool between exhilarating rapids


— Bob Rafferty of Adirondac Rafting in Lake Placid and Indian Lake

A long, winding river

Activity: Canoe or kayak trip on Oswegatchie River

Rating: Novice

Distance: Eight miles round trip

Parking: Oswegatchie River DEC canoe launch between Wanakena and Star Lake

Basics: Come paddle the famous canoe route of the old-time guides of the Adirondacks. Meandering flatwater takes you upstream to a rock outcrop that overlooks the river and is a perfect spot for lunch. Explore further upriver and then float back leisurely through tall pine and spruce, hardwood ridges and alder thickets, with views of wildlife all along the way.

Obstacles: Low water in August

Perks: Fishing, waterfowl and other birds and wildlife abound; feels like Northern Canada

— Rick Kovacs of Packbasket Adventures in Wanakena