New York state’s oldest long distance trail

Completed in 1924, the Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) extends 138 miles through the Adirondack Park. The footpath connects hikers to the wild character of the Adirondack Park, as well as the communities that the trail crosses. 

Hiking the NPT

Described here is the northern section of the NPT, which runs from Lake Placid to Long Lake, and is a backpacking route of roughly 36 miles. The long distance trail continues for 100+ more miles from Long Lake to Northville. Read more about the southern section of the NPT from Long Lake to Northville. The northern terminus originally began at the Lake Placid-North Elba History Museum (once a train station), but most hikers now begin or end their hike at the Averyville Road Trailhead. From here, the trail meanders through a hardwood forest for some time, crossing streams and eventually reaching some more difficult hiking before reaching Duck Hole. From Duck Hole, a remote hike that features everything from metal suspension bridges, backcountry swimming holes, and historical sites takes hikers to the shores of Long Lake. After a night spent in one of the several Long Lake lean-tos, hikers can choose to refuel in the town of Long Lake.

Day hikes on the NPT

While the NPT can be done as a long backpacking trip, or as multiple section hikes, there are plenty of opportunities for hikers to enjoy a day hike on the trail. 

  • Wanika Falls - 14 miles round-trip to a backcountry waterfall.
  • Duck Hole (via Upper Works) - 14 miles round-trip to a handful of backcountry lakes.

Winter on the NPT 

The High Peaks Wilderness Area section of the NPT from Lake Placid is remote, and in the winter the trail tends to remain untracked with deep snow. A snowshoe or cross-country ski trip is possible, but not something to take lightly. 

Leave No Trace and resources for the NPT

Responsibly recreating on the Northville-Placid Trail means recognizing our impact on the environment, and doing the best we can to leave the trail, and surrounding ecosystem, the way we found it. Planning ahead and preparing for the trip, no matter the length, is a key to success. Part of this is picking up resources like the guidebook and map for the NPT.

The NPT turns 100!

The NPT turns 100 this year! That’s 100 years of trailblazing, sight-seeing, species-finding, and a thru-hike that has connected our communities in the heart of the Adirondack region year after year. To celebrate such a beloved trail, this summer is packed with events all over. From the shores of Great Sacandaga Lake all the way to Lake Placid, you’ll be able to join in the festivities. Keep an eye out for upcoming events!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there places to camp overnight on the NPT?

Yes, there are over 12 lean-tos on the northern stretch of the NPT that runs from Lake Placid to Long Lake. Additionally, there are designated tent sites.

Are there hiker shuttles for people thru-hiking the NPT?

There are several local guides that offer shuttle service to and from trailheads.

Are there other hikes to do in the area to help me prepare for a thru-hike?

Yes! Check out the Lake Placid hiking page for more information on the types of hikes you can do to prepare. 

Upon completion of thru or section hiking the NPT, can you register your hike and get a patch?

Yes, the Schenectedy Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club offers patches to all completers. 

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.