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The Best Scenic Drives in the Adirondacks That No One Knows About

For mountain views, deep dark forested paths, and lakeside drives, the Adirondacks offer countless scenic drives – perfect for those long summer Sundays or dazzling fall days. Avoid the crowds and check out some of our favorite scenic drives that no one really knows about.

Published: 08/14/2020

Lake Placid to Long Lake

100 miles roundtrip

  • Take NY 3 W to NY 30 S on this 100-mile roundtrip scenic drive, passing through the Village of Saranac Lake, offering a charming downtown with art studios and boutique shops.
  • From Saranac Lake, you'll follow Route 3 to Route 30 into Tupper Lake, home of the Wild Center. Stop here for a uniquely Adirondack experience and explore Wild Walk.
  • Continue south, passing around Tupper Lake before winding through pristine forests.
  • In Long Lake, the vast expanse of water greets you, offering ample opportunity for watersports and scenic floatplane rides. Don't miss a stop at Hoss's Country Corner. This one-of-a-kind Adirondack shop is a must-visit. Offering everything from books about Adirondack history to wool coats, and ice cream to bait, Hoss's is an Adirondack landmark.
  • Arrive back in Lake Placid just in time for dinner at Dancing Bears.

Lake Placid to Malone

106 miles roundtrip

  • From Lake Placid, head toward Saranac Lake. Stop for a stroll downtown or grab a snack for the road from Nori's Village Market before continuing on Route 30 N toward Malone.
  • You'll pass through Paul Smith's, home of the Paul Smith's College Visitor's Interpretive Center. This quiet corner of the Adirondacks offers hiking and nature trails, as well as wildlife spotting and bird watching.
  • Continue on, passing by Meacham Lake and the Deer River Flow. Keep your eyes peeled for moose while driving through this marshy habitat.
  • In Malone, visit the Almanzo Wilder Homestead. This is where famed author Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband grew up, and is the setting for her book Farmer Boy, which is based on his childhood. Book a tour by calling ahead and reserving your spot.

Lake Placid to Ausable Chasm

86 miles roundtrip

  • From Lake Placid, head East on Route 86 toward Wilmington, home of Whiteface Mountain. Stop for a ride up the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the summit of Little Whiteface and get a birds-eye-view of Lake Placid below. Continuing on, you'll pass by the famous West Branch of the Ausable River, a fly-fishing mecca.
  • In Upper Jay, turn onto Route 9N toward Ausable Forks. You'll wind through rolling hills and along streams before entering the town of Keeseville. This historic settlement is home to the Adirondack Architectural Heritage organization, which preserves Adirondack Great Camps and places of historical importance.
  • Finally, you'll arrive at Ausable Chasm, one of the Adirondack Region's gems. Walk along maintained trails to see the thundering chasm drift into quieter eddies as you descend deeper into the chasm.

Discover the wonderful history, abundant beauty, and hidden gems of the Adirondacks on these not-so-well-known scenic drives.