Adirondack Rail Trail

The Adirondack Rail Trail is a versatile and inclusive multi-use recreation trail spanning 34 miles through picturesque Lake Placid, Ray Brook, Saranac Lake, Lake Clear, and Tupper Lake. Designed with accessibility in mind, the path features a gentle grade, making it welcoming to a wide range of ages and abilities. The trail is free to use and will not only promote safe and healthy exercise but also provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with nature and absorb the rich history of the Adirondack region. 

Recreation on the trail

Enjoy the multi-use scenic trail year round! Trail conditions include a variety of surfaces, ranging from large crushed stone to sand. The trail is suitable a variety of activities, including running, walking/hiking, birdwatching, gravel and fat tire biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Great opportunities for Adirondack fishing are present in waters adjacent to the rail trail. Note that motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail (except for snowmobiles in winter). 

Year-round rentals

During the non-winter months, you can rent bicycles and class 1 e-bikes from local businesses like Placid Planet, High Peaks Cyclery, and Human Power Planet Earth (Saranac Lake). In the winter, fat-bikes can be rented from some of these same locations, and elsewhere you can rent snowmobiles.

Community connection

Instead of driving between the Tri-Lake communities, the Rail Trail is a great opportunity to connect them via your own power. The easy grade makes it a doable trip to bike the distance between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, and beyond, in the summer, then snowmobile between them in the winter. There's no doubt that every time you get on the Rail Trail, there will be locals and visitors alike enjoying the community-like feel of the trail. While the trail itself is spectacular, amenities are close to the trail, letting you experience dining, shopping, and other activities within close proximity from where you get off the Rail Trail. 

Progress toward completion

The 9 mile section of the Rail Trail from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake is open for year-round use! From Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake, construction is ongoing and not available for recreational use.

A few people biking on a level gravel surface

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ride a motorized vehicle on the trail?

Motorized vehicles, aside from snowmobiles, are prohibited on the entire length of the trail in all seasons. You can, however, use class 1 e-bikes.

Are there trash receptacles along the trail?

Please practice Leave No Trace™ principles while recreating on the trail and carry out what you carry in.

Will I encounter wildlife on the trail?

Wildlife commonly found in the Adirondacks that may be present on or adjacent to the trail include large mammals such as moose, black bear, and white-tailed deer, along with large birds of prey such as osprey and many species of songbirds. Please be respectful and observe wildlife from a distance.

Where is the trailhead in Lake Placid?

The trailhead is located at the Lake Placid Train Station and Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society. 

Where in Lake Placid can I park if I'm using the trail?

You can park at the Lake Placid Train Station and Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society. 

Is this trail accessible?

Yes, the entire trail is of wheel-chair accessible grades.

Is this trail accessible?

Yes, the entire trail is of wheel-chair accessible grades.

What is the history behind the rail trail
What is the history behind the Rail Trail?

Before becoming a year-round recreation opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts, the rail trail started as a a freight and passenger service railway over 100 years ago in 1892 (also the year the Adirondack Park was established!). Between then and now, the railroad changed hands and usage many times. In 1974, the State of New York acquired the Remsen to Lake Placid line, and between then and now multiple sections of the railway were used at times for passenger, freight, or both purposes. In 2014, the State announced reopened the management plan for the corridor, recommending that the 34 miles between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake be converted into a multi-use trail, with the APA subsequently voting in favor of this in 2016, and the NYSDOT removing rail infrastructure on the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid section in 2021. 

Leave No Trace 7 Principles

The Adirondack Park provides a haven of pristine wilderness in New York state’s northernmost reaches. It also offers an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities for explorers of all ages and experience levels! While you enjoy your visit, please keep the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace in mind. Set forth by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and championed by many partners within the Adirondack Park, these principles will not only improve your own nature experience, but they help preserve this unparalleled natural wonder for generations to come.

1
Know before you go
 
 
Be prepared! Remember food, water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat, and rain.     
Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and avoid getting lost. Learn about the areas you plan to visit.
2
Stick to trails and camp overnight right
 
 
Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants. Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation.
3
Trash your trash and pick up poop
 
 
Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter—even crumbs, peels and cores—in garbage bags and carry it home. Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If they're not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps from water and the trail.
4
Leave it as you find it
 
 
Leave plants, rocks, and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them. Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking, or peeling plants may kill them.
5
Be careful with fire
 
 
Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire. If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat. Keep your fire small.
6
Keep wildlife wild
 
 
Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow them. Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits. Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.
7
Share our trails and manage your pet
 
 
Be considerate when passing others on the trail. Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors, and wildlife. Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.