Guest blogger: Ryan Damp
Whether you live in Lake Placid year-round or are here for a brief vacation, this alpine village has a seemingly endless assortment of activities to offer. Amid all the noise and excitement surrounding activities such as bobsledding, scenic plane rides, mountain biking, rock climbing, and extreme summer tubing (just to name a few), there is one activity that is often overlooked: walking.
While it may not provide the same adrenaline rush as many of the other activities in the area, taking a walk around the village is an unmatched way to experience the beauty of Lake Placid and the surrounding wilderness.
If a walk around Lake Placid sounds like something of interest, there’s even more to be excited about. During the upcoming months the Empire State Capital Volkssporters (ESCV) is hosting their 1st annual Lake Placid Seasonal Walk (now through October 31), with two featured group walk events on June 17 and October 1. The course consists of both 10k and 5k walking routes through Lake Placid, and is one of 16 unique year-round walking events in upstate New York alone.
The ESCV is the walking club for the Capital Region of New York state, and is a member of the American Volkssport Association (AVA), “America’s Walking Club”. With more than 3,000 sanctioned events each year, walking being the most popular, the AVA is the nation’s largest non-competitive sports program. While the group walking event may be enticing to some of you avid walkers out there, it is definitely not the only way to experience the Lake Placid course for yourself.
Having lived in Lake Placid for the majority of my 19 years of life, I consider myself no stranger to Lake Placid walking. The 10k, or 6.2 mile, AVA walking route has garnered a ‘2C’ trail rating due to some steep hills on village streets and somewhat rugged terrain that stretches for part of the route.
Not one to be easily intimidated, and inspired by the 75-degree temperatures in early April, I decided to set out and conquer the route myself. After a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon, I headed over to the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau, the designated starting point for both the 5k and 10k routes. Accompanied by my 5-month-old black lab, Synder, a promising up-and-coming walker in his own right, I was excited to begin the trek.
From the Visitor’s Bureau, we set out towards Main Street, which is conveniently lined with numerous shops and restaurants. Coming off a long, cold winter, the mid-70 degree temperatures were a welcomed sight, so much so, in fact, that I felt it warranted a pit stop for ice cream at Emma’s Creamery. Careful as to not upset Synder right off the bat, I felt obligated to buy him his own ‘doggie cup’ of ice cream. After devouring the vanilla soft serve, in what I assume was record time, the two of us continued down Main Street, passing several fellow dogs and their owners on the way.
Once the dense line of shops and restaurants came to an end, we made a left up the hill onto Saranac Avenue (keeping to the sidewalk on the right), which we stayed on for around a half-mile or so until heading into the Simply Gourmet parking lot on the right - a great restaurant to stop in for lunch or to grab a sandwich to-go.
From there, we entered the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails, the entrance being located in the back left of the parking lot. Following the hustle & bustle of Main Street and Saranac Ave, the nature trails, being all too familiar, were a refreshing sight for Synder. After watching him dart into the woods without hesitation, I quickly followed suit. We followed the trail straight ahead as we made our way toward the shore of Lake Placid, which features a dam, a walking bridge, and a small dock. Seasonal climate permitting, this is a great place for a pitstop and a swim in the lake; I’d recommend bringing some lunch, a bathing suit, and, if you bring your dog along, a tennis ball.
Although slightly reluctant, a rejuvenated Synder followed me back down the trail and out of the woods, onto Saranac Ave where we headed back towards Main Street, and then continued left onto Mirror Lake Drive.
Looming large above on the hill to our left was the historic Mirror Lake Inn, and to the right, some magnificent views of Mirror Lake and the Adirondacks. We continued onward, following the red-bricked sidewalk, which encompasses a complete 2.7-mile loop around the lake, and enjoyed the rest of what the walk had to offer.
It is especially hard to miss the beauty and architecture of the numerous Adirondack-inspired houses that line Mirror Lake Drive. Looking down at the red bricks, you’ll also notice the gray plaques displaying the name of each of the Adirondack 46er mountains (perhaps a not-so-subtle message of inspiration for me to hike more mountains this summer).
After a couple miles or so of walking along the sidewalk, we reached the backside of the public beach and tennis courts, signaling the last leg of the 10k. For those that are of legal standing to do so, the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery on the left would serve as a great place to stop in for a refreshing beverage (so I’ve heard), an adequate reward for the near-completion of the trek.
From the tennis courts, we continued straight down the hill towards the Olympic Speed Skating Oval and made a right back onto Main Street. After a short walk up the hill, we were back at the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau and had officially completed the 10k walk.
What most impressed me, was the extent to which the route was able to give justice to the beauty of Lake Placid and the surrounding nature, an impressive feat to accomplish via a 10k walk. By the time the June 17 walking event comes around, I imagine I’ll be more than eager to grab a few friends to do the walk all over again.
Ready to get walking?
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