The central Adirondack region as described in this guide is one of the most varied in the Adirondack Park. From the bottom of the Hudson Gorge to the 3667-foot summit of Blue Mountain, and from the mountainous eastern shoulder of the central Adirondack plateau near Schroon Lake to the lake-and-ridge country near Big Moose, this book literally describes a cross section of the Adirondack Park. Flip through these pages and you will see that same topographical variety reflected in the selection of hikes and backcountry adventures. Mountains, lakes, rivers—they are all here.
The trails of the central Adirondacks lead to wild rivers, open summits, tunnel-like caves, and dozens of lakes. Most enjoyable are the true old growth forests in the Pigeon Lake Wilderness, the High Peaks vista as seen from the Vanderwhacker Mountain fire tower, and the unparalleled view from Kettle Mountain. The central region contains no fewer than five fire towers, many miles of trails, and three of the Adirondacks' most distinctive wild areas.
This guidebook begins at the eastern edge of the central plateau, where the Hoffman Notch Wilderness represents an island of primeval forest that somehow escaped the intense logging and forest fires that scathed the woods nearer the Hudson River. Many of those former burned areas are currently forested with handsome stands of paper birch, such as those on White Birch Ridge north of Indian Lake in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. Throughout this region are four legally protected river corridors: the Boreas, Rock, Cedar, and the Hudson itself.
West of Blue Mountain Lake, the woods become notably older and grander. Many thousands of acres around Raquette and Big Moose lakes were never commercially logged at all, except for some salvage operations after a 1950 windstorm. This old growth forest extends throughout most of the 50,000-acre Pigeon Lake Wilderness, where you can still see what the Adirondacks should look like—and did look like when people first came to these woods.
The best part is that the majority of destinations described in this book are easily accessible from the park's primary highway corridors: the Northway (I-87) to the east, NY 28 to the west and south, and NY 28N and 30 down the middle. This is a region that favors day hiking and relatively easy backpacking trips, since you rarely have to travel very far from a road to find natural beauty and solitude. The many nearby towns—Schroon Lake, Indian Lake, Long Lake, and Inlet, to name a few—are bases from which you can stage your explorations.
This fourth edition contains updated trail information, dozens of new photographs, many new route descriptions, and newly redesigned trail maps, making this the definitive guide to the Central Adirondacks.