A Perfect Fall? It’s Here.

As we say goodbye to another speculator summer in the Adirondacks, it’s time to welcome in the next season. Fall is wonderful for many reasons: comfortable temperatures, delicious flavors (hello, apple cider and pumpkin spice!), fun holidays and events, and, best of all, the best show of colorful scenery. Wait, maybe the extra hour of sleep is the best. You won’t want to spend the whole season sleeping, though. Here are 10 of the best places around Lake Placid to get out and experience this vivid, beautiful, and perfect season.

Vibrant autumn colors on the shore of a lake with fog rising over the water and a kayaker paddling.

In no particular order …

Mirror Lake

This one needs no explanation. Around Mirror Lake you’ll find a perfectly placid sidewalk, cute coffee shops, views galore, and a small town spirit that’s alive in autumn! Pro tip: the earlier you go, the better. The waters of Mirror Lake, warm from summer, mixed with the cool morning air could create a mesmerizing fog over the lake that will give all your photos that quintessential Adirondack fall vibe.

Marcy Field Recreation Hub

If you’ve ever driven from Lake Placid to Keene Valley, you’ve seen the wide open meadows of Marcy Field. This recreation hub is a hiking trailhead, a shuttle stop, a farmers market location, an airport, and, obviously, a place of incredible beauty. Officially, there’s no "best day" of the week to visit, but Sundays would have my vote so you can visit the Keene Farmers Market, buy some local produce, and see the leaves on the slopes of some famous mountains. 

A mountain view with Lake Placid's iconic horseshoe shape below.

Whiteface Mountain

You might think the best views are from the highest mountains. Yes, the views from the summit of Whiteface are magnificent, only accentuated by the foliage changing all around. But don’t forget to take in the sights as you move up the mountain! From the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway or a gondola ride, you’ll be surrounded by vibrant colors.

Lake Placid (the lake)

From the water, we can take in 360-degree views of mountains and leaves! A boat tour (accessible and available for everyone) is a fun way to combine sightseeing with history. Soak it all in and learn a bit about the area, including the mysterious story of the Lady of the Lake. Trust me, the history is as colorful as the leaves.

Calm waters and fall colors from a boat in Lake Placid. The trees are starting to turn red.

Mount Van Hoevenberg

Mount Van Hoevenberg is a mountain that wears many hats. You can hike one of the newest trails in the Adirondacks to a summit with expansive views of the High Peaks and a valley full of color, or you can ride the Cliffside Coaster, a mountain coaster that seamlessly weaves together scenic panoramas and Olympic history. Don’t forget to stop by the hiking center for a snack or for a souvenir.

Vibrant orange fall foliage with distant mountains and a valley.

John Brown Farm

One of the best strolls around Lake Placid can be found at John Brown Farm. Slowly meander down gentle trails, by a relaxing pond, and through enchanting forests. This State Historic Site is not just a pretty site, it’s full of history, too. While admiring the foliage, you can tour the last home and burial site of abolitionist John Brown. 

Olympic Jumping Complex

When ski jumpers see the view from the top of the famous ski jumps in Lake Placid, the Adirondack landscape is covered in snow and ice. But when you visit this fall, it will be all red, orange, and yellow! Take a short, but sweet, gondola ride to the base of the ski jumps, then an elevator will bring you to the top! This is a unique opportunity to have a Winter Olympic experience, but with an autumn twist!

A couple walks on a path near a tree with red leaves and the towering Olympic ski jump.

The Wild Walk at The Wild Center

The best part about visiting the Adirondacks to see the foliage is that there are 6-million acres to see. Take the scenic drive from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake (literally over the river and through the woods) to get up close and personal with the changing leaves on The Wild Walk, a treetop path at The Wild Center. Little ones can play in a giant spider web and interactively learn natural history while you enjoy the sights and sounds of their laughter against a beautiful backdrop.

Paul Smith’s College VIC

Another place outside of Lake Placid where the foliage is always fantastic is the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC). With 25 miles of maintained trails, you can spend a few hours or a few days taking in all the different views and sights. This autumn oasis is located only 30 minutes from downtown Lake Placid. The best part? The VIC is open 7 days a week! (Pro tip: if you miss “peak” foliage, don’t fear! Tamaracks, the only deciduous conifers in the Adirondacks, turn bright yellow in fall and usually hold their color into November.)

A yellow fall view from a boardwalk in a boreal habitat with conifer trees and fall colors in the background.

A corn maze!

Fall isn’t all about pretty leaves, it’s also about fun experiences! Join in the festivities at a local corn maze. There are two located within driving distance of Lake Placid: the Great Adirondack Corn Maze near Saranac Lake and a maze at the historic Fort Ticonderoga

Orange you glad it’s fall!

The time is right, so start planning your autumn trip to Lake Placid today to fall more in love with your ADK! With cozy rooms, restaurants with splendid fall flavors, and endless outdoor opportunities, this is the best place in the Northeast to take it all in.