The Adirondack Mountains of New York State are one of the most magical places to visit in fall. I had the pleasure of exploring the mountains late last year and they did not disappoint! In this guide, I would like to introduce you to the Adirondacks and provide a couple of recommendations for your visit.
Firstly, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Fred Bloy (@freddybloy). I am currently a freelance photographer and videographer living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I grew up in both Central Massachusetts and the coast of Maine on an island called Little Deer Isle.
I actually picked up a camera for the first time about four years ago and haven’t looked back since. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in environmental engineering and did consulting in environmental remediation in Boston for about five years before hitting a crossroads realizing this was not what I wanted to do with my life.
I was doing photography as a hobby for a year before I decided to quit my job and go backpacking on the other side of the world for a few months. I wanted to find a different perspective and figure out what to do. As I came back to the US, people were starting to catch on to my photography and videography. Job opportunities began to present themselves.
It was at this point when I decided to pursue this full time. My love for travel came hand in hand with photography. If it wasn’t for photography, I would have never seen and done half as much as I have over the past few years. And without a doubt, it was the opportunity of photographing the vibrant colors of the mountains in fall which inspired me to visit the Adirondacks!
Five Awesome Days in the Adirondack Mountains
Every fall during peak foliage season I do a couple of weeks touring around New England. I am convinced that during this time New England is the most beautiful place on earth and I want to take full advantage of it! I had yet to visit the Adirondack Mountains in fall and simply had to see the colors for myself in late 2020 after seeing countless photos.
There were a couple of spots at the top of my list which I had to visit like Indian Head Lookout. I went with my longtime friend and fellow photographer Ryan Resatka and a crew of other photographers. We were there for five days and either camped or stayed in hotels in Lake Placid.
We traveled around the Adirondacks by car – hiking, photographing, and scoping out potential spots for sunrise and sunset. Occasionally we would take it easy and just relax, eat and drink, and enjoy the landscapes.
The Adirondack Mountains are breathtaking in the fall. You get every gamut of colors from red and yellow to orange and green with a touch of evergreens sprinkled in. They were just as vibrant and colorful as what you see in New Hampshire. Colorful foliage makes a photographer’s job easy!
The thing I loved most about the Adirondacks was the accessibility. There are countless quick and moderate hikes to do that have huge rewards.
Epic Views of Indian Head Lookout
My favorite part of the Adirondacks is Indian Head Lookout. I stand by this when I say it’s one of the most breathtaking views in New England! It reminded me of a fjord as it has steep sides colored in yellow. There are tons of photo opportunities at this spot for landscape and portrait photos.
Indian Head Lookout is located about a 10-mile hike away but the walk is absolutely worth it. If you want incredible photos then time your visit to arrive before sunset because the sun drops on the other side of the lake.
5 Awesome Things To Do in the Adirondack Mountains
The Adirondacks are a four season wonderland which can be experienced all year round. Each season offers unique perspectives and a different range of activities. I loved visiting in fall and believe you will too. Below are my recommendations for the top things to do in the Adirondack Mountains:
1. Take in the Gorgeous Views of Indian Head Lookout
As mentioned above, Indian Head Lookout is my favorite part of the Adirondacks. Not only because of the viewpoint but also for the long hike which takes you on a flat road and river. The payoff is huge with one of the most gorgeous views you can find in the Northeast, especially in the fall.
2. Hike to the Nubble Lookout near Chapel Pond
The hike to the Nubble Lookout near Chapel Pond is a quick hike with only a few steep sections. The views along the way are breathtaking in the fall as you pass by views of Chapel Pond, Giant’s Nubble and Giant’s Washbowl.
3. Drive up Whiteface Mountain of the Adirondacks
For a small fee you can skip the hike up Whiteface and drive to the top for stunning views overlooking Lake Placid in the fall. Of course, coming in winter provides you with the chance to go skiing and snowboarding at New York State’s premier ski resort and fifth highest mountain in the US.
4. Rent a Canoe/Kayak and Go Paddling
There are so many accessible lakes in the Adirondacks that allow for public access. I would suggest going for sunrise when the lakes are the calmest – from the beautiful Cascade Lakes to the famous Hudson River.
5. Hangout in Downtown Lake Placid
The downtown area of Lake Placid offers many amazing restaurants, shops and breweries to check out. It was also the home of the Olympics and the “Miracle on Ice” game. You can actually visit the Olympic facilities. Although not located in the downtown area, Big Slide Brewery is my favorite spot!
Where to Stay in the Adirondack Mountains
My recommendation is to stay in Lake Placid. I love the European feel of this town and it has tons of restaurants and hotels. One hotel I suggest is Whiteface Lodge. The hotel is based on a luxury log cabin style. It’s incredibly cozy. They have an outdoor heated pool with a few hot tubs and lots of activities in the grounds. Campfires with s’mores are also offered.
Favorite Memory from Visiting the Adirondack Mountains
Believe it or not my favorite memory from visiting the Adirondacks last fall was just driving around and scoping areas for photography with my friends. You never know what you will find around the next corner!
I just love putting on good tunes and driving the back roads and finding those hidden gems in the mountains. The thing about fall photography is that you don’t necessarily need big views. A simple dirt road with a colorful tree tunnel can be just as breathtaking. I cannot wait to go back.
Need to Know Before you Go
Make sure you arrive at the trailheads early! The trailhead parking fills up very fast and you will have a hard time finding a spot even after 9am at some places. When you go for a hike bring warm clothes and proper hiking shoes. Temperatures can drop quickly in the fall if you are not careful.
Peak foliage season is a super popular time in the Adirondack Mountains. Remember to be patient when it comes to dining at restaurants and browsing shops. I recommend getting reservations when you can. Lastly, keep the Adirondacks beautiful! Stay on the trail and leave no trace 🙂