Winter adventure beyond Lake Placid 

Lake Placid is situated among some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. Winter Olympic legacy aside, Lake Placid and the towns surrounding it offer astounding beauty in their rugged mountains, trails, and thick forests. Keene, Keene Valley, and Ray Brook offer unparalleled adventure that every winter explorer will be sure to enjoy. From scaling ice sheets on mountainsides, to cross-country skiing calm open fields, winter adventures beyond Lake Placid will transport you into a world of thrilling icy escapes, tucked away in the secret corners of the Adirondacks. 

A person climbs a white snowy mountain with outdoor winter gear on and walking sticks.

In Keene: hiking and climbing

The town of Keene emerges as a thrilling spot for winter adventure, captivating the attention of adventurers and nature enthusiasts from all over to come and experience it. The peaks that populate this outdoor haven are striped with unique and challenging hiking trails that are fun in the summer, and exhilarating in winter. Located on the east bank of the Ausable River, Keene is also home to Mount Marcy, the highest point in the Adirondacks and New York state. 

Stunning peaks aside, the region offers the best in snowshoe hiking. Notable trails to hit this season include Lower Wolfjaw Mountain, a peak with varied terrain on three different trails, with a steady climb through to the top. Another peak to look out for, Sawteeth Mountain, offers two routes to its summit, a wooded point with one perfectly positioned lookout through the trees. In winter, you may want to consider cross-country skiing nearby Lake Road, then switch to snowshoes to climb the summit. 

A man walks through thick snow in a bright blue jacket, using walking sticks.

Keene Valley: icy climbs and guides

There’s a reason Keene Valley is touted as "The Home of the High Peaks." The region is completely surrounded by the famous mountains that crop up around the Adirondacks, including peaks like Mount Marcy, Upper Wolfjaw Mountain, and Armstrong Mountain, among others that populate the views here. Not only are there plenty of giants to scale, the local mountains also feature flat sides like the ones surrounding both sides of Route 73. These peaks offer ice climbing rare to the Northeast, bringing an unbeatable winter challenge to add to your bucket list. Chapel Pond Canyon offers multiple routes that bring unique challenges season after season. The route Lions on the Beach offers the first massive ice formation in Chapel Pond Canyon. This climb sees a lot of water, so the climbing can change from day to day based on how much ice is present. For a challenging climb, try Haggis and Cold Toast. This route climbs a narrow chimney that starts off easy, then ascends into a steep and tight section of about 30 feet and eases off for the top out. The crux can be awkward and a bit overhanging, especially on the right side where there is a small ledge that provides a spot to rest, but makes the finish of the crux more difficult. The left side is more steep and direct, depending on how much ice is present. 

If you’re not entirely sure of your ice climbing capabilities, (like 99% of the population) there are local guides who can take you on a journey to mastering the icy surfaces here. Reserve a guided climbing experience with High Peaks Mountain Guides, a multi-sport guiding company that encourages visitors to experience the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, while instilling the importance of protecting and stewarding the areas they visit. What’s more, the guides provide the gear, and have the know-how on the best and safest ice routes in the region. 

Two people scale an icy wall on a mountain with pick axes and harnesses.

Ray Brook: backcountry exploring

Ray Brook is nestled between the communities of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. It is characterized by its quiet wilderness, crisp ponds and lakes, and unique terrain. Nearby Oseetah Lake houses along its shores Oseetah Marsh, frozen over for some of the best cross-country skiing you’ll find. It’s short, easy, and scenic, with surrounding views of nearby Mckenzie Range, the Sawtooth Range, and Scarface Mountain. Following a snowmobile trail through a dense pine forest, you’ll find the tranquil frozen-over state of the Oseetah Marsh, perfect for gliding and exploring. 

A man smiles as he cross-country skis through a snowy trail.

Gear hunting

While the remoteness of the region adds to the appeal of the Adirondacks, you may feel your heart drop if you’re looking around in your pack, only to realize you forgot something important. Luckily, the region is populated with explorers just like you, and we’ve made it easy to get the gear you need, fast! In Lake Placid, stop into Eastern Mountain Sports for quality gear for any adventure. Find microspikes, jackets, and even equipment like ice axes and climbing harnesses. Only need a tool for the weekend? Cascade Welcome Center offers rentals fitting any winter excursion, so you can take what you need, and drop it off when you’re heading home. 

A woman contemplates buying a blue t shirt in a store.

Getting out

Stepping off of Main Street, Lake Placid and into the stunning scenery of the surrounding regions, winter adventurers will find exactly the kind of outdoor fun they're looking for! Whether you find solace in the silent trails of snow-covered pines, the exhilarating rush of icy walls, or simply love the peaceful views of the High Peaks, the regions around Lake Placid are sure not to disappoint this season.