Paul Smith’s College owns and operates the Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), and in turn opens it to the public. Just 13 miles north of downtown Saranac Lake, the VIC offers a snapshot into the six million acre Adirondack Park. It has mountains, marshes, forests, and streams for you to explore year-round. Located on 3,000 acres with 25 miles of trails — the VIC needs to be on your winter must-do list!
Your choice for snowshoeing
With snowshoe rentals, amenities, maps, and groomed trails, the VIC is perfect for those that want a little less wild with their nature experience.
Daily fees: ages 18 and up, $10; ages 6-17, $5; kids under 6, free.
Hours of operation: The trails are open daily from December 1 to March 31 with a self-service room open daily. On Saturday and Sunday, and holiday weeks (Saturday prior to Christmas day through New Years day, Martin Luther King day, and Presidents week) the VIC's main building is open from 9 a.m-5 p.m.
The VIC has 40 pairs of snowshoes available for rent. There are 20 pairs of MSR snowshoes for kids; 6 pairs of Tykers (up to 80 pounds), and 14 pairs of Shifts (81-125 pounds). There are also 20 pairs of adult snowshoes (125+ pounds) in a variety of sizes from 22 inches and up, to accommodate weight and snow conditions. VIC staff can help people get outfitted with gear on weekends and holiday weeks.
Rental fee: $5 a pair for the day.
The VIC offers many extras, including convenient and ample parking, a useful and welcoming self-service room, and not to be underestimated: indoor restrooms. Additionally, there are educational programs, interactive exhibits, and a gift shop. While checking-in check out the trail conditions and choose your route. Get warm and get organized before, and after, snowshoeing!
Proper signage will improve the user experience, and increase comfort and confidence in navigating the trail network. The VIC accomodates this with map kiosks, printed trail maps, and on-trail signs. The signs are cohesive and consistent, and are hamonious with the natural environment.
With snowshoes, the saying is simple: If it’s covered in snow you’re good to go. The VIC has five trails dedicated to snowshoeing: Barnum Brook (1 mile loop), Boreal Life (1 mile loop), Black Pond (2.5 mile loop), Jenkins Mountain (4.5 miles to summit; 9 miles round trip), and the Long Pond connector trail (0.5 mile). These trails are typically packed simply by snowshoer use. All snowshoe trails are open to skiers and leashed dogs. With snowshoes there’s really nothing new to learn, but keeping to a broken trail will make for an easier hike.
The VIC is a place to go if you want to snowshoe for a couple of hours, and then go kick-back with a warm meal or delious drink. Have fun and enjoy the unique scenery the sport allows. Let snowshoeing open your mind up to the winter season in Saranac Lake. Then book a trip back for the Adirondack Snowshoe Fest!
This week in ADK news: