Adirondack Mountains; Public Land Camping



In late June, we headed down the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York for a short trip. After purchasing a map from a sporting goods store in town, we began towards the High Peaks Wilderness along Highway 3. After turning off onto Corey’s Road we stopped at a small parking lot. We began down the Racquette Falls Trail, and eventually settled on a lean-to about four and a half miles down the trail and began making camp for the night.

The spot turned out to far surpass our expectations. It was located just uphill from the river and the lean-to easily slept the four of us, with room to spare. After dinner, we packed up our food and any other odor-producing gear in our bear barrel, which were legally required in the area, and slid into our sleeping bags.  

In the morning, we hiked out and headed to the Adirondack Lodge, located near Heart Lake. After some discussion with the helpful staff, we decided to ascend Wright Peak. The hike totaled 6.5 miles and 2420 feet of ascension, but it proved to be a pretty challenging hike; the last mile or so being fairly steep and rocky. A site of a crash of a B-47 bomber in 1962, the summit provided us with spectacular views of the surrounding Iroquois and Algonquin Peaks, as well as Mount Marcy, the highest point in the Adirondack Mountains.

The idea to protect the area Adirondack Park encompasses today was first put forth in 1885 when it became a Forest Preserve with the intention to keeping the expanse of wilderness, “forever kept as wild forest lands”. This protection was reinforced when in 1892 the Adirondack Park was created with the intention of being, “forever reserved for the free use of all people”. This sentiment remains true some 120 years later as activities within the park, including hiking and camping as we experienced, remain free of charge. The Adirondacks represent encompasses over 24 0000 square kilometers, making it the largest publicly protected area in the Lower 48.

We look forward to returning to this area sometime to explore some of the most astounding wilderness in the northeast, that remains as it was intended to be, free and open to all to share in its outstanding beauty.

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