Something I love doing in the fall is simply taking a drive to view the foliage. For years one of my favorite fall drives has been through the Wilmington Notch. This winding road twists and turns along the Ausable River, connecting Lake Placid and Wilmington. Foliage arrived a bit late this year, but it certainly hasn’t lacked in its beauty. There are many places along the Wilmington Notch where you can pull off and take photos. Here are my top five places to stop for fall foliage viewing along the Wilmington Notch. (In order, if you’re coming from Lake Placid into Wilmington)
Stop 1 - Monument Falls
Monument Falls is just outside of Lake Placid. There is a wide pull of on the side of the road, with a short trail down to the water. From there you can look down river at the Ausable River towards Whiteface Mountain, or you can look up river just a ways to a calmer portion of the river.
Stop 2 - No Name
My second stop is just a ways up from Monument Falls. It has no name, but the pull off is very visible from the road. This is a prime location to spot fly fisherman, just as I did. The Ausable River is well known for its abundance of trout. On any given day driving through, you are likely to see anglers fishing the waters of the Ausable.
Stop 3 - Basset Flats
This stop has another large pull off to the left of the road if you’re coming from Lake Placid. The river is really wide and shallow here. In front of you will be an abundance of trees towering over you, which leaves you feeling completely immersed in the fall foliage.
Stop 4 - High Falls Gorge
This pull off is unique in that it is a local attraction where you can view four waterfalls on a self-guided hike. I recently visited High Falls Gorge for the first time and loved it. There are walkways and bridges to cross to view the waterfalls. Pair that with the fall foliage, and you’ve got the ultimate fall experience. They also have dining on site if you get hungry!
Stop 5 - Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain is another local attraction, where you can hike or bike to the top, take a scenic gondola ride in the summer/early fall, or ski and ride in the winter. But, simply pulling over and enjoying the foliage from one of the Adironacks’ High Peaks is an amazing, colorful opportunity.
There are also a variety of hiking opportunities off of the Wilmington Notch. The Flume Trail System is 10.5 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. You can hike to Copperas Pond, which is also a popular swimming hole in the summer. Hike Whiteface Mountain itself, or hike to Whiteface Landing, which overlooks Lake Placid lake.
As you continue down this road into Wilmington, you will come across what I find to be one of the cutest Adirondack communities, full of fun local attractions, some of the best dining options, and quaint lodging where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy fall.