Fall adventures that are fresh, friendly, and fly
Every season in the Adirondacks is special, with something magical to offer the traveler. Yet the crisp colors of fall and the sight of falling leaves fluttering through the air give us an extra spring in our steps and make us downright gleeful to be in the great outdoors. Whether you're bounding up a mountain trail among golden leaves or enjoying a tranquil paddle on a glacial pond, exploring with fall views all around will make you gleeful, too. The Whiteface Region, full of stunning mountains, a legendary river, and unique natural attractions, is the perfect place to get close to the joys and eye-popping sights of autumn. Jumping in the leaves isn’t just allowed, it’s highly recommended fun!
The hiking here is all about natural beauty: towering pine trees, miniscule lichen, burly boulders, and of course, sweet, crisp, fresh air. Add in birdsong, the gurgle of streams, and the “oooh”s you’ll let out at the views, and you’ve got adventures that are truly fresh. In fall, the views seem to change every day as leaves change color and pile up underfoot, making outdoor adventures extra special.
When we say hiking, we mean everything from long hauls up Whiteface, the fifth highest peak in the state, to gentle ambles on flat forest trails. This is an area where you can find a quiet, short trail that will take you to cool ponds like Winch and Copperas, or a rugged trek to beautiful Eagle Eyrie on paths less traveled. Whatever your speed or taste for adventure, fresh flavors are all right here. Choose your own adventure and enjoy the trail.
The cool air of a gorgeous fall hike is just part of the picture. Imagine the shade of ancient pine trees, the warmth of a sleeping bag on a brisk morning, waking up to a golden sunrise, and that magical, unforgettable scent of a campfire. That’s right, we’re camping. A camper’s dream, the Whiteface Region offers all kinds of options, from quiet, remote backcountry spaces to luxurious glamping, where you don’t even need to bring a tent!
This is the place to fall asleep to the sound of bubbling streams and wake up to the call of birds. Throughout the region, you’ll find spots for tent and RV camping, camping cabins, and cabin-sized tents with plenty of amenities and homey comforts that put the glam in glamping. The range of options means you can be as close to civilization as you want, and your stay under the stars can make this the fall adventure you’ve always dreamed of. Be sure to bring marshmallows!
Soaring into the sky, traveling in time, gazing at incredible wildlife. The Whiteface Region is home to attractions and activities that aren’t just super cool and totally unique, they’re also perfect for getting close to nature and enjoying memorable, family-friendly activities together.
Whiteface, site of Olympic alpine skiing, isn’t just fun in winter. Drive the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway, a winding, five-mile trip up the backside of Whiteface for astonishing views of the Adirondacks as the landscape transforms through fall. In 2020, the summit itself is closed and amenities are limited, but the views from the parking area just below the summit are incredible! Bask in the Adirondack sunshine, take in views that reach for hundreds of miles, and bring a picnic!
High Falls Gorge is a splendid series of falls of the West Branch of the Ausable River, flowing between rock walls that were carved by glaciers and continue to be worn away by the awesome power of the Ausable. Walkways, bridges, and overlooks provide cool views of the falls from inside the gorge itself. It’s a trip back in time in any season.
For an up-close-and-personal experience, head over to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, where you can see wolves, bears, foxes, birds, and animals of all sorts. Take a self-guided tour or view one of the regular presentations. Be sure to bring your camera, you'll never be this close to wildlife again!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only things to do in the Whiteface Region are sporty, outdoorsy activities. There are, after all, all those looming mountains and with the changing colors of the landscape, it certainly is pretty. But the area also features opportunities to eat and drink where quality food meets fun, and people feed you like you’re family. From riverside foliage views to spots where fireside dining has been a way of life for generations, dining here is all about originality, flavor, and enjoying food together with an epic view. Here, local owners and chefs meld local produce with classic recipes and modern twists in restaurants that are bursting with personality and friendly faces who want you to eat, and eat well.
Before a cool hike or after a scenic trip through the gorge, dig in and enjoy, whether it’s the best French toast ever, rustic flatbreads, or fresh trout eaten overlooking the river, your taste buds will love the dining experience here.
For a dining bonus that is literally cool, we’ve got craft beer ready for you. You might think, beer is beer, right? The answer is a resounding, mountain-sized NO. Craft beer means that it’s been created by a small, independent brewer, with a lot of attention paid to innovative flavor to make something special. For craft beer lovers or those looking to try something new and delicious, the Whiteface Region offers plenty of options. After all, this is the season that’s all about Oktoberfest and seasonally-themed brews, so why not indulge?
Whether you’re staying in the area or simply traveling through, a stop at the North Pole General Store in Wilmington is a must. The selection here is sublime, with a great variety of flavors and styles. Maybe you’re an IPA fan, or perhaps you favor a stout. You’ll find plenty to try here, including many beers crafted in New York state. Put together a mix and match six-pack to try a variety of brews that will probably all become new favorites.
For a crisp, cold draft, settle in for a treat at Pourman’s Tap House. As you might have guessed from the name, beer is a serious thing here. Pourman’s features craft beers on tap and they pair brilliantly with the restaurant’s flavorful, hearty menu of seasonal pub food and flatbread. The flatbreads are famous and people love sampling the ever-changing array of craft beer on tap. One visit and you’ll be hooked.
Apologies to bait fishermen, but for beauty and challenge, there’s fishing and then there’s fly fishing. Fly fishing, a great sport for quiet contemplation and immersion in nature, requires specialized technique but once begun, is an art that is beautifully addicting. As a destination for fly fishing, the Whiteface Region is a trout-filled paradise.
Whether you’re already an avid fly fisherman or a beginner who hasn’t gotten their feet wet yet, this is the place to be. The West Branch of the Ausable River, which winds through Wilmington Notch past Whiteface Mountain, is deservedly famous for its beautiful rapids, chutes, and pockets, surrounded by thick forest and mountain views. In fall, when the river is surrounded by hues of yellow, orange, and red leaves, you might even have a hard time concentrating on your line. Local guides provide excellent advice, opportunities to learn, and great fish stories. Even if you think you have all the gear you’ll ever need, the Hungry Trout is a can’t-miss stop for all anglers.
With Whiteface Mountain’s gorgeous foliage peeking at you from every turn and miles and miles of trails to explore throughout the area, mountain biking is an increasingly popular and exhilarating form of adventure in the Whiteface Region. The region is bursting with trails and adventures that offer great technical climbs, flowy single-track, and even a pump track and jump park. Cool temps won’t deter you from this adventure. In fact, we think the scenery will keep you coming back for more.
Bring your own bikes or rent your gear at a local shop and hit the dirt for fun for the whole family. You don’t have to be a pro to have fun here. Our trails range from easy to difficult, all with gorgeous, colorful, pine-scented scenery. The many miles of trails, ranging from smooth to sporty, are home to a great community of riders of all ages and abilities, and adventurous visitors are always welcome.
Whether in the water or on the trail, you’ll be adventuring through fall with flying colors.
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