Aerial view of Cascade Lake Road in the Adirondacks. Image credit majicphotos via Shutterstock.

11 Most Scenic Road Trips To Take In The Adirondack Mountains

The picture-perfect Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York provide a haven for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and road-trippers. With their majestic, often snow-covered peaks, serene lakes, and magnificent evergreen forests, the Adirondacks offer plenty of scenic and unforgettable road trip opportunities. Embarking on a journey through these mountains is like stepping into another world. Discover the most awe-inspiring road trips that will take travelers on a mesmerizing tour of the heart of the Adirondack Mountains.

Lake Placid Olympic Region Loop

A view of Lake Placid on a sunny autumn day as seen by looking south west from the summit of Whiteface Mountain in Adirondack National Park, Upper New York
View of Lake Placid from Whiteface Mountain in Adirondack National Park. Image credit Bob Pool via Shutterstock.

Kick off the road-tripping adventure in the gorgeous town of Lake Placid, nestled amidst the High Peaks region. The loop takes you drivers on a 90-mile trip through the wilderness and breathtaking landscapes. Drive along Route 73, where the towering Adirondack peaks await, before stopping at Cascade Lake to admire the reflection of the mountains in the water.

Take in the scenery around Saranac Lake and stop for a picnic before venturing to the iconic Whiteface Mountain. Here, visitors can hop in a gondola to experience the panoramic vistas. If looking for a breathtaking water feature, continue onward through Keene Valley with its cascading waterfalls. Keene Valley offers stunning hiking trails, one of which will lead to Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State. It is also home to the beautiful Ausable Lakes within the Adirondack Mountain Reserve.

End off the loop road trip by driving to the shores of Lake Champlain, which is home to the War of 1812 Museum, opportunities for boat tours, and the location of the Ausable Chasm—The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks! This road trip is arguably the best introduction to the natural wonder that is the Adirondacks.

Ausable Chasm And Whiteface Mountain Drive

View of Ausable Chasm - Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks Bridge
Ausable Chasm - Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks Bridge. Image credit Miss Nephew via Shutterstock.

If wanting to infuse more adrenaline into an Adirondacks road trip, embark on a journey along the Ausable Chasm and Whiteface Mountain Drive. Start in Keeseville and drive along Route 9N, following the Ausable River. After gaping at the grandeur of the Ausable Chasm, known as the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks, with its sheer cliffs and waterfalls, proceed toward Wilmington and Whiteface Mountain.

While ascending Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway, scenic views will unfold at every turn. Upon reaching the summit, the picturesque views of the surrounding peaks and the distant Lake Champlain are sure to drop jaws.

High Peaks Scenic Byway

Lower Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks Park from highway
Lower Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks Park from byway. Image credit Mark L. Davidson via Shutterstock.

The High Peaks Scenic Byway passes through Adirondack Park. It is a 28-mile stretch of Route 73 winding lazily through the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks region. Start this road trip in Keene, where lush forests and sparkling rivers pepper the route along the way. Traverse the byway and be immersed in the views of the splendid Giant Mountain and Cascade Mountain. Do not forget to take a breather at Chapel Pond, Johns Brook, and the Cascade Lakes!

While traveling along this byway, keep an eye out for deer, moose, and colorful bird species. This often underappreciated road trip promises a one-of-a-kind encounter with the best the Adirondacks have to offer.

Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake Drive

Cabin coastline on Saranac Lake in upstate New York bathed in the morning sunrise. The colored cabins are reflected in the water
Cabin coastline on Saranac Lake. Image credit Rebecca Lambertsen via Shutterstock.

For those gunning to leave the stress of daily life behind and embark on a road trip that soothes the soul, there is no better place to go than the Saranac and Tupper Lake region. Set off from Saranac Lake, following Route 3 to Tupper Lake. While driving along this route, the tranquil Saranac River and the forests of the Adirondacks are sure to please the eyes.

One of the best stops on this road trip is the Saranac Lake Chain of Lakes – a series of interconnected lakes known for their clear waters and beautiful shores. From here, voyageurs can carry on toward Tupper Lake, where the Wild Center offers educational insight into the Adirondack ecosystem. If tourists are seeking serenity, this drive is the perfect short getaway.

Adirondack Coastline Drive

Aerial panorama of Plattsburgh in the northern part of New York State
Aerial panorama of Plattsburgh. Image credit Steve Heap via Shutterstock.

The Adirondacks region is not lacking in coastal views either. For a road trip during which travelers can enjoy mountainous landscapes and idyllic views over the ocean, the Adirondack Coastline Drive is simply magnificent. Start in Plattsburg, and follow Route 9N, which hugs the shores of Lake Champlain. Enjoy the sight of bright sailboats gliding across the water and the distant hulking outline of the Green Mountains of Vermont. Continuing this route, drivers will pass through the towns of Peru and Keeseville, where exquisite local cuisine is on offer and historic sites wait to be explored.

Moreover, the Bluff Point Lighthouse is a must-stop experience; whereafter visitors can soak in the ambiance of Cumberland Bay State Park. The unique perspective of mountain and coastal scenery provided by the coastline drive is unmatched.

Blue Mountain Lake to Indian Lake Drive

USA, New York, Adirondacks. Indian Lake, Fall foliage at overlook along Route 28
Overlook from Route 28 near Indian Lake. Image credit Danita Delimont via Shutterstock.

Another enchanting road trip that allows drivers to explore the Central Adirondacks is the route that stretches between Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake. Start at Blue Mountain Lake and drive along Route 28 as the dense forests and rolling hills careen through the car window. This journey will take visitors through Long Lake, where the shining waters snake between the mountains. Upon approaching Indian Lake, the striking views of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness will have tourists in awe of the region’s natural beauty.

This stunning drive will captivate tourists with its untouched wilderness of the Adirondacks and provides a connection to nature that few other places can replicate.

Fulton Chain of Lakes Scenic Byway

Reflections in the Eighth Lake in the Fulton Chain Lakes in the Adirondacks Mountains of New York
Reflection in the Eighth Lake in the Fulton Chain. Image credit Colin D. Young via Shutterstock.

The Fulton Chain route is 16 miles long and heavily traveled. The scenic byway is an adventurous road trip that winds through summer towns and lakes in the Western Adirondacks. This trip starts on Route 28, where the Fulton Chain of Lakes is on display in all its glory. Travel along the waters of First through Eight Lake and experience the charm and gorgeous views of each.

Take a detour to Moss Lake, with its spectacular hub of emerald forests. Continue the drive, and visitors will catch glimpses of the mountains that surround the area. The scenic byway showcases the hypnotizing allure of the western Adirondacks and is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Lake Champlain Byway

Sunset over the Adirondacks of upstate New York across Lake Champlain
Sunset over the Adirondacks across Lake Champlain. Image credit Josh Conover via Shutterstock.

The Lake Champlain byway spans two states and offers the opportunity to explore the landscapes around the lake. Starting in the village of Rouses Point, the byway winds along the shoreline where sailboats dot the water. The vast expanse of water framed by the outline of the Adirondack and Green Mountains makes for a gorgeous picture.

Stop by the Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area to discover the joys of bird watching. Afterward, travelers can explore charming lakeside towns, including Plattsburgh and Essex, both of which offer historical sites. The Lake Champlain Byway offers a blend of cultural heritage and magnificent natural beauty, making it a road trip experience to remember.

Southern Adirondacks Scenic Byway

Adirondack State Park, Great Sacandaga Reservoir (Lake) Conkling Ville Dam
Great Sacandaga Lake and the Conklingville Dam. Image credit Brenda L Kambeitz via Shutterstock.

To explore the southern Adirondacks, start in Fonda and follow Route 30, which will take you through deep green forests and provide views of the surrounding hills. While driving along the Great Sacandaga Lake, find friendly waterfront communities where tourists can enjoy a bite before continuing the adventure.

The small town of Northville offers access to the Great Sacandaga Lake, where travelers can have a picnic or take some photographs. This road trip also includes views of the rural beauty of the southern parts of the Adirondacks, such as farmlands. It is one of the best road trips to take if you want to get away from the crowds and reconnect with nature.

Raquette Lake and Long Lake Drive

Sunset over Highway 30 Crossing Long Lake at Adirondacks Park Upstate NY
Sunset over Highway 30 Crossing Long Lake at Adirondacks Park. Image credit Christopher Boswell via AdobeStock.

To enjoy the beauty of the central Adirondacks from another angle, take a road trip from Raquette Lake to Long Lake. Kick off the trip in the village of Raquette Lake on Route 28, and pass secluded coves and tranquil bays. Continue driving to Long Lake, which is an expansion of the Raquette River and is flanked by forests.

This remote wilderness area provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and is one of the many unspoiled places in the US where nature reigns supreme.

Keene Valley and Jay Mountain Road

View of Indian Head in the Keene Valley NY. Mountains and water stream.
View of Indian Head in Keene Valley. Image credit Khutchings333 via Shutterstock.

For some of the best hidden gems of the Adirondack Mountains, venture along Keene Valley and Jay Mountain Road. This road trip starts in Keene and takes travelers on Route 73, which passes through Keene Valley. The road continues along the Ausable River, where swimming holes beckon and waterfalls rush over the cliffs.

While driving on towards Jay Mountain Road, there are yet more forests and mountain views to enjoy. The Jay Mountain Wilderness Area offers hiking trails to the summit for sweeping views of the landscapes below. This road trip is highly popular because it combines the charm of small-town life with the rugged mountain beauty of the Adirondacks.

Each of these road trips offers a different perspective of the Adirondack Mountains’ breathtaking natural beauty. Unforgettable memories await in the wilderness here, and road-tripping offers the ability to meander at one’s own pace to ensure ample time for admiring the incredible scenery!


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