You don't need to travel west to find wilderness! As a matter of fact you don't even need a car. At 6 million acres the Adirondack Park encompasses nearly the entire northern half of the state of NY and is greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined.
Our 5 favorite ways to explore the wilderness and see the stunning fall leaves this October
Start on the train!
If you're traveling from NYC, you can catch a train from Grand Central to Union Station in Utica NY. From downtown Utica, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will take you to Thendara near Old Forge. The train leaves the station at 9:30am and returns to Utica around 6:30pm. You will have 5 hours to spend enjoying the Old Forge area.
There are many ways to see the foliage once you've entered the Adirondacks. You can choose more train sight seeing, a lake cruise, traditional hiking, the McCauley Mountain chairlift or railbiking for something totally new!
More Train Time
One of the best ways to relax and see the leaves is to continue with the train riding from Thendara to Otter Lake. This 1 1/2 hour roundtrip ride will take you to parts of the Adirondacks you would be unable to explore without a wilderness permit and some hardcore backpacking.
Experience the lakes and mountains of the Adirondacks from a different perspective. Peak fall colors are the first 2-3 weeks of October. See them on this leisurely, relaxing and informative trip through the Fulton Chain of Lakes.
Here is the link to reserve this option
This is one of our all time favorites! Perfect for all ages and abilities to ride together. We rode the rail bikes right after Bob had been injured in a fall. Because 4 people ride together on one rail bike, someone very young, older or with some sort of disability or injury can still participate and not be stressed. Open air views of all the iconic Adirondack scenery surround you as you pedal along at a leisurely pace.
This is another great car-free activity since you can ride the Scenic Railroad from Utica to Thendara and reserve the whole thing together at the same time on the Adirondack Railroad website.
Reserve your time and date here
McCauley Mountain Chairlift
From the Thendara Station, take the free shuttle bus into Old Forge and get ready for some great Adirondack views. This is the ideal way to get to the top of a mountain if you are not able to (or don't want to) hike.
Open Late June-Oct 14th.
After your ride, head back into Old Forge for some lunch and small town shopping. Don't miss the Old Forge Hardware store.
Bald Mountain is one of the most popular and accessible mountain hiking experiences in the Adirondacks. A moderately easy hike to the top of the mountain gives amazing views for miles! If you are feeling extra adventurous, keep on hiking to the fire tower and climb to the top.
When you stay at the Rosemont Inn you will have the convenience of being just 1 mile away from Union Station where all trains to Utica both arrive and depart including the Adirondack Railroad. We are located in the heart of Utica with many restaurants, historic sites, and entertainment within walking distance. If you're not interested in walking the 1 mile to downtown, the best way to get around is by Uber or a local taxi service.
With so many convenient options we dare you to explore the largest protected wilderness area east of the Mississippi!
Good to know...
- no entry fee into the Adirondack State Park
- 24/7 free access (no gates to close at sundown)