America's Best Trail Towns: Keene, NY

Get a tour of the best that the Adirondacks have to offer in this upstate destination.
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Get a tour of the best that the Adirondacks have to offer in this upstate destination.
trail towns

Owl's Head outside Keene. Photo by James Schwabel/Age Fotostock

You could access the High Peaks region somewhere other than this sleepy outpost, but why would you? Keene, with its charming historic inns, farm-to-table food trucks, and backyard gateway to Adirondack 46ers, is just right.

On the Trail Like your 360-degree Adirondack views with a side of swimming holes and waterfalls? This 27.4-mile, three-day semi-loop tags two 46ers (4,960-foot Mt. Haystack and 4,240-foot Big Slide Mountain) by way of lush forest trails rife with watery layovers. Take the Phelps Trail to camp at Slant Rock lean-to (mile 6.8). Then connect the State Range and Mt. Haystack Trails to hoof it up the first peak. Backtrack and take the Shorey Shortcut back to the Bushnell Falls lean-tos, steps from a swimmable grotto. Day three, link the Klondike Notch and ADK Big Slide Trails to hit Big Slide, then take the Brothers Trail back to your car. Trailhead Garden Permit $7 daily parking permit

On the Town

PERK “SubAlpine Coffee does a really awesome latte,” says Lisa Godfrey, local photographer, self-proclaimed coffee snob, and President of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Keene Valley chapter. 1767 NY-73

PUB It’s Friday, you say? Make tracks to the Brew Castle’s Tacos & Tastings events, where the specialty beer store samples its suds and the Poco Más food truck slings tacos. 10918 NY-9N

SEEExplore locals’ top cure for a sizzling day: the swimming holes on the Boquet River. To reach the best pools (clear and cold and deep enough for jumping), park at the stone bridge on Route 73 (7 miles south of Keene Valley) and follow a social trail along the Boquet’s south bank.