Adventure by definition is “an exciting or remarkable experience," immediately followed by the add-on, “usually involving danger and unknown risks.” How risky you want to get is up to you, but we promise a visit to Saranac Lake is not complete without a little adventure — or a lot of adventure, if that's your thing!
Step outside your comfort zone
We are a species that really likes our comfort zone; the familiar, at ease, and in control. But what if busting out of this zone — or at least tip-toeing out — would bring us something big, like growth. People turn to travel to find themselves, and people turn to adventure to expand themselves in a thrilling way.
Check out these four decidedly different ways to experience this in Saranac Lake:
Yeah, our mountains and lakes are pretty to look at, but don’t let their beauty make you soft. Saranac Lake enjoys a bounty of opportunity for outdoor adventure that’s only limited by how intense you want to get. Tackling the Saranac Lake 6ers is a great way to get up close and personal with six of our nearby mountains, and if you want a real challenge you can either try to do them all in one day or head to the Western High Peaks, where four mountains over 4,000 feet are waiting to be climbed.
Paddling is a no-brainer in a place with “lake” in its name, and it’s safe to say you can spend a lifetime here without running out of running water to…run. But you’re just visiting, right? If you want mellow and accessible, you can rent a canoe or kayak and put-in on the Saranac River right downtown. Lake Flower is a bit more challenging, but the mountain views can’t be beat. And if you really want to get out there, the St. Regis Canoe Area is simply unbeatable. It’s 18,400 acres — need we say more?
Two-tire enthusiasts have a place in Saranac Lake, too. Mountain bikers can explore the downhill thrill of Mount Pisgah or the twisty trails at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center, while road cyclists can take their pick of long, scenic backroads that dip, curve, rise, and fall past one scenic vista after another.
In winter, Saranac Lake maintains its status as on outdoor-lover’s paradise. All of our hiking trails can be snowshoed, but cross-country skiing is where the real fun is. Learn the basics at Dewey Mountain, then go explore the Jackrabbit Ski Trail and the Paul Smith’s College VIC.
Connect with nature
We get it, not everyone is into climbing mountains. Some people prefer to take it easy and spend more time communing with nature than burning calories. If that sounds like you, then you need to try forest bathing. Don’t worry, forest bathing doesn’t mean you’ll literally be taking a bath in the woods. It’s more of a metaphor — during a forest bathing excursion you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds, and scents of nature in a way that encourages you to awaken to the world around you. It’s a relaxing, one-of-a-kind way to be in nature!
Are you the kind of nature lover with a species list that’s burning a hole in your pocket? Are your binoculars always within reach? Do you know what Contopus cooperi means? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to love birding in Saranac Lake. This is the land where the water meets the mountains, and the region just north of downtown is dotted with rivers, ponds, and wetlands. The VIC is perhaps the best birding go-to for the simple reason that the property boasts every Adirondack ecosystem except alpine tundra. Combine that with the VIC’s boardwalks, bridges, and overlooks, and you’ll have no trouble flexing your bird-ID muscles. The Bloomingdale Bog Trail, which is a long, level path past numerous wetlands, is also an excellent spot for birders to flock to.
Discover community culture
Celebrate with us!
Anyone who has heard of Saranac Lake’s annual Winter Carnival knows that celebrating is in our culture, but did you know that we also love to celebrate our culture? Regardless of whether you’re visiting us because of our quirky history or mountain-life ways, you have to admit those things are interesting. It turns out, others would agree! Check out the Walk of Fame and you’ll soon realize you’re walking in the footsteps of people like Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson. As you’re perusing the plaques, take a deep breath — that fresh mountain air brought people from far and wide, all looking to “take the cure” for tuberculosis. Learn more about Saranac Lake’s role as a healing destination in the Saranac Lake Laboratory Museum.
Take a spin around town
If you have little ones, don’t miss the Adirondack Carousel, which features a collection of Adirondack critters all hand-carved and painted by local artisans. And speaking of art, that’s in our culture too! Our downtown art galleries provide the perfect glimpse into the modern-day creative types who continue to be drawn to this region’s endless natural beauty.
Share your stories
Everyone has a tale to tell
If you’ve ever been to a bar in a mountain town, you know the drill — it’s filled with people dressed in outdoors gear, their hair sweaty and their boots muddy, all laughing and regaling each other with tales of the day’s adventure. In Saranac Lake, we embrace this culture and admittedly revel in it. Head downtown and step inside for some good old-fashioned comfort (we’re talking food and beer here) and a dash of camaraderie. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, family-friendly fare, or a burger, beer, and live music, you’ll find it here. And don’t worry about getting cleaned up before you head out — you’ll fit in better if you don’t.