Backcountry guide Anne LaBastille lived in New York’s Adirondacks for 15 years before attempting the Northville-Placid Trail, a 133-mile route bisecting the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park from north to south (“Across the Adirondacks,” June 1977). The historic, lightly trod trail bypasses the park’s high summits, trading big views for deep solitude. The path connects one serene mountain lake after another—you’ll hear loons every night—and, in autumn, passes through an amber forest of innumerable birch and maple trees. The trail remains the same as LaBastille found it 33 years ago, offering real wilderness refuge and a diamond-spike of solitude just hours from the East’s most crowded cities.
Do it From Northville, the first 10 miles follow roads before tapering to a footpath and meandering past lakes to Piseco (a post office enables resupply). From there, the trail traverses the West Canada Lakes Wilderness, one of the park’s most remote, before continuing past Wakely Dam to Long Lake (where some hikers choose to begin; no northbound resupply is available). Then it’s 40 more miles through the High Peaks section, passing sidehike options to Mt. Marcy and Indian Pass, before finally arriving in Lake Placid.
Driving From Saratoga Springs, take NY 29 west for 23 miles, turn right on NY 30 and go 15 miles to Northville. Shuttle Northville Placid Shuttle (price varies, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Maps/book USGS quads Lake Pleasant, Piseco, West Canada Lakes, Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Long Lake, and Santanoni ($8 each, store.usgs.gov); Hiking New York, by Rhonda & George Ostertag ($19, falcon.com)