The Adirondack Rail Trail, upon completion, will span 34 miles from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake. The converted railbed is being turned into an all-seasons shared-use path for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobile enthusiasts - all within a peaceful, safe, scenic setting along a path with no more than a 2% grade. Although the project is not yet complete, the trail is open and being used.
At the heart of it all is Saranac Lake and the surrounding communities of Lake Clear and Raybrook. The rail trail weaves through this region in such a way that visitors can easily gain access to scenic vistas and adjoining trails, stop off at popular establishments, or venture all the way to the neighboring towns of Lake Placid or Tupper Lake for a day trip! With access to all of the Tri-Lakes, Saranac Lake truly is at the heart of it all, and makes the perfect vacation destination for anyone looking to experience the area as a whole!
If you are looking to visit some of the Lake Placid Legacy Sites (venues used during the Olympics), but also have your heart set on seeing the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake makes a great middle ground. With lodging options for every budget, a variety of dining and shopping, and lakes and trails within walking distance from downtown, Saranac Lake is the ideal hub for your Adirondack vacation!
Fall foliage along the trail
If you are interested in foliage this fall, look no further than the Adirondack Rail Trail! From Saranac Lake there are several short hikes along the rail trail that are filled with spectacular views of the leaves (and even some of the late-season tamaracks too). Without needing to put in much effort, or having to fight the crowds of people on popular mountain trails, the rail trail provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy your surroundings in a low-key, low-elevation kind of way. Speaking of low-key, you could also plan a brewery tour along the rail trail! And what could be more fun in the fall than some craft brews and spectacular views? With many of the region's breweries just a short bike ride off the trail, it would be easy to visit Blue Line Brewery and Ray Brook Brewhouse while taking a tour along the tracks!
Winter is for exploring miles and miles of trails
The Rail Trail exploded in popularity when the rail ties were removed, leaving a nice, flat surface for snowmobilers to explore, and packed snow for XC ski and snowshoers! If Saranac Lake wasn’t already on your map for snowmobiling, it should be! With miles of trails to explore, and dining and lodging options right off the rail trail, it’s never been easier to explore the north country with the comforts you desire on a vacation. Historic hub, Charlie’s Inn offers food, drinks, lodging and 24-hour gas! And newly renovated Belvedere and 1892 Bar & Grille both offer drive-up dining and drinks from the trail. Getting out there on skis or snowshoes? Those trails are easily accessed from Saranac Lake or Lake Clear, too! The Adirondack Rail Trail is a shared use trail, so please use caution.
Spring offers a chance to see it all
If you’ve been trying to plan a trip to the Tri-Lakes to see the attractions, spring is the perfect time to plan it! There are less people, and just as much to explore. What’s more, the Adirondack Rail Trail makes all of those venues reachable from downtown Saranac Lake. You may have heard the term “mud season”, but with a 2% grade or less, the rail trail is a great low-elevation option for avoiding snow run-off and soggy trails. It also brings you through backcountry where birds and wildlife will be returning to the area, and plants will be starting to bloom. So don’t forget to pack your binoculars and camera!
Summer in Saranac Lake can’t be beat
In the summer, families will love setting up camp in Saranac Lake, where they can get to it all! Want to hit the lake? No problem, Lake Flower connects to miles of waterways and it starts right downtown. Want to take the family on a bike trip? Hit the rail trail! Looking for more aggressive trails? Dewey Mountain and Pisgah have mountain bike trails! Seeking sunshine? Enjoy one of many outdoor patios where you can eat and drink outside. Looking to go to Lake Placid? Pop-over via the rail trail! The possibilities are endless, and the accessibility can’t be beat!
Please note that the Adirondack Rail Trail is an ongoing project, and is not scheduled to be completed until 2025. Before planning your outing, be sure to check the conditions and availability of the trail section you plan to access. The Adirondack Rail Trail is intended for non-motorized usage including bicyclists, runners, walkers, birders, wheelchair users, and strollers, and will provide greatly improved snowmobiling from December through March - all other motorized vehicles are prohibited, with the exception of class E bikes. During the winter months the trail is a shared use trail allowing snowmobilers as well as skiers and snowshoers, so caution and reduced speed is advised.