The Ultimate Adirondack Mountain Guide

July 2, 2016 | Sarah Funky
Sarah entering the Adirondack Safari tent

Experience autumn like you’ve never done before

In this ultimate Adirondack Mountain guide, I’ll share the best things to do, eat, see, and experience in Northern New York. With one of the longest foliage seasons in the Northeast, fall colors are stunning in the Adirondacks. Spanning more than six million acres, the region is home to the largest protected natural area in mainland USA. As a New Yorker, it is a great escape from the concrete jungle of New York to experience the best of autumn in a serene atmosphere.

Adirondack Mountains
The Adirondack Mountains Photo by MacKenzi Martin on Unsplash

The Ultimate 3-day Adirondack Mountain Guide

This autumn, I challenged myself to go camping. Well…not quite camping – GLAMPING. You can find out more about other types of camping here. For those that have never heard this term, it means glamour camping. Enter, Adirondack Safari; luxury glamping at it’s finest. Guests are provided a fully equipped safari-style tent with a beautifully designed interior complete with furniture, heating, and a real bed. With an assurance that I would be both “in touch with nature” and have a Tempur-Pedic bed, I was ready to have the ultimate Adirondack Mountain getaway. 

Sarah entering the Adirondack Safari tent
Sarah entering the Adirondack Safari tent

Day 1: Adventure & Waterfront Dining

To get the most out of the weekend, we headed upstate on Friday morning. After settling into our beautiful campsite and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed to Adirondack Extreme. It is the United States’ largest aerial treetop adventure course. They have over 1.5 miles of thrilling aerial adventures including wobbly bridges, climbing walls, and swinging surprises.

Adirondack Extreme ropes course
Adirondack Extreme ropes course

After a fun, yet strenuous couple of hours, we were hungry and stopped by Tavern on the Lake for dinner. The waterfront restaurant is one of my favorite restaurants in the area, which is why I had to include it in the ultimate Adirondack Mountain guide. They are set in a rustic lodge on Lake George and have great seafood. Make sure you make reservations in advance.

Day 2: The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks

An hour and a half north from Adirondack Safari, you’ll find the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks; Ausable Chasm. It’s far but a “must visit” if you’re visiting the Adirondacks. There is simply nothing else like it. 

A valley at Ausable Chasm
A valley at Ausable Chasm. Photo by Sarah Funk

Hike, float, and climb at Ausable Chasm

Hike, float, and climb as you go back in time and experience one of the oldest natural attractions in the United States (est. 1870). The area is massive and we immersed ourselves in everything we could. Throughout the five hours, we explored Rainbow Falls, Elephant’s Head, Column Rock, Hyde’s Cave, and the tranquil Mystic Gorge. Every moment of Ausable Chasm was awe-inspiring.  

Sarah Funk at Ausable Chasm
Sarah Funk at Ausable Chasm

When you’re there, make sure to check out their adventure trail. This was by far the most beautiful and memorable adventure trail we have ever done. Throughout the experience, we traversed rock, climbed boulders, crossed over, and learned about the unique history of the area. To ensure your safety, you’ll be paired with an extraordinary guide. I’m still dreaming about this experience. The views were unparalleled to what you get with a standard entry to Ausable Chasm so make sure you sign up for the adventure trail. Click here to see stunning photos of our full experience. 

Luis Yanes rock climbs at Ausable Chasm
Luis Yanes rock climbs at Ausable Chasm. Photo by Sarah Funk

Dinner at the campfire

For dinner, we had a BBQ at the campgrounds. Adirondack Safari supplies guests with a fire pit, tiki lights, and a BBQ; which made our lives easier. As the food was cooking, I noticed how perfect it was to camp in the fall. There are minimal mosquitos, fewer people and the cooler temperatures make the campfire welcoming. Plus, knowing that I was going to sleep in a tent with a king-size Tempur-Pedic mattress and a room heater helped ease my camping woes.  See the difference a great tent can make for the entire camping experience?

Adirondack Safari tent
Adirondack Safari tent and campfire. Photo by Sarah Funk

Day 3: A Craft Beer Tour

After a night’s rest, we woke up and had breakfast by the campfire. It was wonderful to hear the birds chirping and smell nature!

Adirondack Safari tent
Sarah at the Adirondack Safari tent

Hobby Trails Brew Bus

The Adirondacks have over 40 breweries. They even have tours, such as Hobby Trails Brew Bus, that will escort beer enthusiasts to multiple breweries in one day. Next time we visit, we’re definitely going to check that out, however, this time we decided to brewery hop ourselves since we had a DD (designated driver). What better way to end our journey than with a pint of local beer while the gazing over a dazzling forest of color?

Adirondack pub & Brewery
Adirondack Pub & Brewery. Photo by Sarah Funk

The first stop was Adirondack Pub & Brewery for six 4oz beers. They brew more than 25 all-natural, non-pasteurized craft ales on-site and offer tours during the week. It was a great local spot with low prices. For the beer flight it was only $10!

Davidson Brothers Brewing Company
Davidson Brothers Brewing Company

Next was Davidson Brothers Brewing Company. It is a brewpub that opened in 1996. Their signature series is a Scottish Ale, an Oatmeal Stout, a British Brown Ale, an Irish red, and a traditional IPA. Order their ample 6-beer sampler and try 6-oz of any of their beers. You choose!

Coopers Cave & Ale House
Coopers Cave & Ale House. Photo by Sarah Funk

Our last stop was Coopers Cave & Ale House. They have traditional English-style ales, porters, and stouts. They are a family-owned and operated company. At Cooper’s you can choose any six of their beers for a flight. Their signature flavor is a blueberry beer. It was unique and flavor-filled. 

After three incredible breweries and 37 more to go, we said, “See you next time” to the Adirondacks. It was a beautiful, action-packed weekend filled with delicious food, awe-inspiring sites, and unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.

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