Adventure through the weekend

How was your weekend? Oh, mine was alright, just got to be chauffeured around the most breathtaking mountains and waterfalls for free all day, so, pretty OK. If you’re wondering what exotic club I got into, or who I know in the upper echelons of society for this kind of experience, you don’t have to. Deep in the Adirondacks, in the valleys of the mammoth mountains of the Lake Placid/Keene Valley region, lies a unique experience waiting for you. Love Your ADK, Essex County, and the Town of Keene are offering a free shuttle on weekends and holidays to your favorite hikes. Not only does the area share an incredible shuttle system, the Cascade Center is a fascinating first stop before any of your hikes around Lake Placid! For me, this was a huge opportunity to spend a day of fun around some incredible trails, stress free, all day!

A side view of the purple, ADK-themed hiking shuttle bus.

Stress-free

If you’re like me, two things stress you out; parking and traffic. While the most traffic you might find around the Adirondacks is the holdup of a turkey family crossing the road, parking can get a little tricky. Especially with some of the more remote trails, not every path is exactly parking-ready for all the adventurers in the area. Insert the hiker shuttle! Thiss legion of shuttles have been equipped across the region for you to get all your adventuring done on time, and stress free.

When I heard of the shuttle system, I felt instant relief and excitement to hike for the weekend. Not only do the shuttles offer the convenience of not having to drive to some remote trails, the shuttles limit the amount of cars you’ll see on the side of the road this summer. Needless to say, hiking is BIG up here in the Adirondacks, and dozens of cars can be parked at a trail at once. While it's nice to see hikers enjoying the trails, it can also get super dangerous the more cars are parked on tiny shoulders, on some of the area’s busiest routes. These shuttles completely change the game. They allow you to park your family at safer and more spacious parking lots, then head out on your own private excursion and shuttle to your desired trail, without the stress of fitting your car near the trailhead. 

I got the chance to visit and use the LYADK hiker shuttle this weekend, an opportunity I've never had before! I brought along my partner Nick to experience the shuttle and hike with me, which made the day all the more enjoyable. We got up early and prepared our packs to take along, and started off the drive from Burlington Vermont, to the Essex County Route 73 shuttle. 

A man and woman take a selfie on a hiking trail

Decisions, decisions

If you hadn’t noticed, late July has been HOT, making the process of selecting our trail a little more challenging. I would consider myself once a tag-along hiking partner, to now a graduate of smaller, more pleasant hikes. Word to the wise: bringing your children on a spur-of-the-moment hike while they're in flip flops may or may not scar them from hiking for fun as an adult. A big part of hiking is knowing yours and your party's skill set, and our expertise is newly developing as we take on each new trail. So, our choice for the day was Roaring Brook Falls, a peaceful and magnificent waterfall that provided shade and some much needed fresh water. Another plus, the hike to the top of the falls is only 1.5 miles, the perfect combo for a melted day of hiking. 

Getting there

We arrived at the Marcy Field lot at 11:40 a.m.; checking my schedule from LYADK, we were ahead of the 12:00 p.m. shuttle. Nick and I got up out of the car for a much needed stretch and a walk around the property. Coming to the small shed at the beginning of the lot, I was pleasantly surprised to see signs for the different shuttle stops, as well as a sign with the schedule for the shuttle each weekend, so no need for phones! Before our shuttle arrived, we grubbed on sandwiches and Nick had somehow managed to sneak a coffee cake into our bag without me noticing; always have to have something sweet after a savory meal, ya know?

The hiking shuttle signs at Marcy Field

At noon our chariot awaited us at the shuttle stop, where we quickly hopped on and were greeted by the driver. We then rolled out and on our way to Roaring Brook Falls. The drive was peaceful, in the nice air conditioned van, and we chatted the whole ride with our driver, got to learn all about her journey to the Adirondacks, the seasons, and how far we both have had to drive to get our cars inspected. Once at our destination, we planned to meet back at the stop an hour and a half later, plenty of time to explore the falls.

The rocky side of the falls on a sunny day

The sights

Roaring Brook Falls is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Adirondacks. After our short walk on the trail, the scene opened up to a serene multi-tiered waterfall, protected by two slabs of rock on either side. To get a closer look, we climbed the rock-filled hill to the small pool at the bottom of the steep drop, and were immediately met with raining mist that helped cool us down. One man was fully taking advantage of the falls, taking a dip at the base to indulge in the rushing water. After having way too much fun splashing and hopping around the stream from the falls, it was time to head back to the shuttle.

The dark side of Roaring Brook Falls

A guide helps a visitor read an information poster.

Prepare, learn, explore

Like I said, I'm pretty new when it comes to adventuring around the Adirondacks, hiking, and learning all about the environment around me. So the Cascade Welcome Center has been the perfect resource for hikers like me to study up and prepare before a big hike! Before your next adventure, take the time to discover the Cascade Welcome Center, a beautiful state-of-the-art information center that is fully prepared for your questions and concerns before you go. The Adirondacks houses some of the toughest terrain in the northeast, so reading and stocking up on knowledge before you head out is a must! Consult with a guide for your next hike, purchase merchandise or gear, or just stop by for a peek! The Cascade Center is prepared to help visitors all year long. In summer, its a hiker's dream, and in winter, the perfect snowshoeing and cross-country skiing pit stop. Stop by today!

Learn more today

If you're as curious as I was to hear about these shuttles, take the time to learn all about them, where they go, and what days they're in use! While you do your digging, learn more about the Cascade Welcome Center, the ultimate resource for newbies and expert adventurers alike. If you just need more, and are up for a challenge, there's a new shuttle experience coming to the Adirondacks. The Frontier Town shuttle offers an overnight hiking excursion for those who just need their time with nature. Hikers wishing to take on the multi-day outing must reserve a spot in advance! The shuttles are an exciting addition to the Adirondack experience that adventurers of all kinds can enjoy, for any excursion.