It's the perfect day — lunch on a mountain followed by a satisfying dinner in town. The best thing about half-day hikes is finding yourself someplace scenic with plenty of time to enjoy the view before the sun sets. 

Be prepared

We love our mountains, and you should too! Please help us protect them by enjoying them responsibly. Before heading out, review Leave No Trace principles, make sure you're prepared for the journey ahead, and familiarize yourself with regulations and weather in the mountains.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is a great resource for more outdoor recreation related information.

A little bit of effort goes a long way

We can't say these hikes are easy, but they will take you to some pretty amazing places. Get you up close and personal with one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Adirondacks at Beaver Meadow Falls, or hike to Whiteface Landing and go swimming in Lake Placid, then contemplate whether you're up for the steep ascent of Whiteface Mountain, New York's fifth highest peak. If Whiteface seems like a bit much, try Hurricane Mountain

If 2 to 4 hours is stretching it, try some easier 1 to 2 hour hikes, or check out our 4 to 8 hour hikes if you want something more challenging.

The Adirondack Hiking Essentials

1. Navigation

  • Sign in at the trail head
  • Map of your route
  • Area trail guide book or maps
  • Compass
  • GPS 

2. Don't get burned- bring sun protection

  •  Sunscreen
  •  Lip balm
  •  Sunglasses

3. Proper clothing and insulation

  • Jacket, vest, pants, gloves, hat
  • See Clothing below based on season/weather

4. Don't get left in the dark

  • Flash light or head lamp with an optional spare
  • Extra batteries for any equipment

5. First-aid supplies

  • A complete First-aid kit 

6. Be prepared with fire essentials

  • Matches or lighter
  • Waterproof container
  • Fire starter for an emergency survival fire
  • Remember to never leave a fire unattended and to be sure it is completely out before abandoning the site

7. Tools and supplies

  • Knife, Swiss army or a multi-use pocket tool 
  • Kits for stove, mattress; duct tape strips

8. Keep energy up with proper nutrition

  • Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
  • Energy beverages or drink mixes
  • Lunch
  • Extra day's supply of food

9. Stay hydrated- always bring enough water

  • Water bottles, camel back or another portable hydration system
  • Electrolyte tablets or powder
  • Water filter or other treatment system

10. Emergency shelter

  • Tent, tarp, bivy and a reflective blanket
  • More than the 10 hiking essentials
  • Multifunction watch with altimeter
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles
  • Insect repellent and a head net
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer or hand wipes
  • Two-way radios
  • Camera
  • Cell or satellite phone
  • Interpretive field guides for fauna and wildlife
  • Post-hike snacks, water, towel, clothing change
  • Trash bag for clean up
  • Swim suits

Warm weather clothing options

  • Moisture Wicking T-shirt and underwear
  • Quick-drying pants or shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirt both for bugs and sun protection
  • Hat with a brim or neck cover for sun-shielding 
  • Fleece jacket or cover up with insulation
  • Bandanna, head scarf or buff

Cool weather clothing options

  • Thermal moisture wicking long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Long underwear
  • Hats, face mask or cover up
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Jacket providing insulation, temperature based
  • Rain jacket and waterproof pants
  • Insulated winter pants weather dependent

For winter hiking check out our cold weather preparedness blog and winter essential gear guide.

Proper footwear

  • Hiking boots or shoes suited to terrain, preferably with ankle protection
  • Synthetic or wool socks and a second pair
  • Gaiters
  • Sandals (for river fording, trip home)
  • Crampons for ice

Leave No Trace

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

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Where
Whiteface Landing
Off Route 86, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

Hiking It's a 2.5 mile hike one way to Whiteface Landing. The trail starts at the left side of the trailhead parking area and soon climbs moderately away from the pond and the private camps on the pond before descending to the shore of the pond at 0.4...

  
Mt. Van Hoevenberg
South Meadows Rd, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

Hiking Mount Van Hoevenberg is also home of the Olympic bobsled and luge run, which is on the opposite side of the mountain from the hiking trail. The path leaves the trailhead and remains mostly level until it gradually descends to a large, scenic...

  
Klondike Notch
South Meadows Road, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

Hiking This is considered a moderate trail with some steep stretches. It lets a visito experience the lovely scenery from Adirondack Loj to Johns Brook Lodge if they wish.

  
Haystack Mountain
Route 86, Ray Brook
(518) 523-2445

This out and back hike is an outstanding hike for the entire family and a great introduction to the area for those new to hiking. (This Haystack should not be confused with the High Peak, Mount Haystack, located near Mount Marcy.) Primary Trailhead...

  
Cooper Kiln Pond
Route 431, Wilmington
(518) 523-2445

Cooper Kiln Pond lies in the valley between Morgan Mountain and Wilmington Peak. The pond sits nestled in the mountains with a somewhat heavily treed shoreline. There are a few rocky outcroppings opening up views out over the placid body of water. A...

  
Beaver Meadow Falls
Route 73, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Beaver Meadow Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Adirondacks, but it does require a bit of work to reach it. With a fanned out waterfall feature it cascades a gorgeous white to the Ausable River below. Be sure to read the link on...

  
Blueberry Mountain
Route 73, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Although Blueberry Mountain is a gateway to Porter Mt. and Cascade Mt. it is typically hiked by itself and not in conjunction with the High Peaks. From the Marcy Field trailhead it is 2.5 miles and starts out, for a short distance, along an old woods...

  
Bear Den Mountain
5021 Route 86, Wilmington
(518) 523-2445

Bear Den Mountain is one of those hidden peaks that gets very little attention, but should be high on everyone's list to check out. It's located above the Ausable River and is essentially part of the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. While no ski trails...

  
Three Brothers
Garden Trailhead, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Hiking The Three Brothers are generally climbed in conjunction with Big Slide Mountain. However the First and Second Brothers are a worthy destination in themselves. The First and Second Brothers both have outstanding views, while the Third Brother...

  
Goodnow Mountain
Route 28N, Newcomb
(518) 523-2445

Goodnow is a very prominent peak when seen from Route 28N. This ragged-looking mountain is home to one of the remaining fire towers in the Adirondacks.

  
Bald Peak
Route 9, Elizabethtown
(866) 843-5253

Trailhead: Leave Lake Placid on Route 73, follow Route 73 toward Keene. Drive through Keene, Keene Valley and Saint Huberts. Take a left onto Route 9 toward Elizabethtown. Continue for 5 miles to the trailhead on the left. This is an 8 mile RT with...

  
Owl Head Lookout
Route 73, Keene Valley
(866) 843-5253

The lowdown Owl Head Lookout offers great views after an ascent that is steep only for the last few yards. Be prepared Elevation: 2,530 feet Elevation gain: 1,257 feet Distance: 2.6 miles to the lookout This hike is part of a much longer and more...