Finding Adventure in Upstate New York

One of my fondest memories was a trip I took my first year in college to Lake Placid, New York. It was a trip that took me out of my comfort zone, but that I remember perfectly, even years later. Upstate New York is stunning, and particularly so in winter, when I visited. I would certainly recommend a visit if you are up for an adventure.

I traveled with an outdoor adventure group at my college; and we began by driving from Wisconsin through Canada to New York. We encountered a seven-hour traffic jam on a snowy road in Canada and made a quick stop at Niagara Falls, but eventually made it to our destination, a rented cabin in Lake Placid, just a few miles from Mount Marcy.

The following day we woke up early to head to the base of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State at 5,343 feet tall. From the our starting point, we had a 3,224-foot ascent ahead of us, but, being from Wisconsin, we were used to cold weather, and were ready to tackle the massive mountain. We passed the Marcy Dam, and beautiful ice-encrusted rivers, snapping photos with fingers numb through our gloves.

After six miles of hiking, we reached a rocky outcropping a half-mile from the peak. Here we came to the agreement we should turn around, now facing below 15-below-zero temperatures and bracing winds. We took photos in every direction before descending, admiring the miles and miles of forests stretched out below us. We were so high that in certain directions we couldn’t even see the lowest level of trees; it was all just a distant blur.

The following day we had a a few hours to spend in Lake Placid before heading back to Wisconsin, so we headed to the Olympic bobsledding facility from the 1980 winter Olympics. Most of us opted to try out the track ourselves, spending probably too much money to experience the high-speed thrill of shooting down a mountain at breakneck speeds. It was incredible.

In short, Lake Placid is one of the most beautiful places to experience winter in the United States. However, I also know there is a lot to do there in summer: from hiking to kayaking its lakes and more. It’s on my list to head back to upstate New York to explore further. In the meantime, my experiences trying to conquer Mount Marcy will last me a lifetime.


    • The climb in winter was pretty intense. I haven’t hiked any others yet, but I’d like to!

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