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October 2000

Adirondacks High Peaks: Timing Is Everything

When leaves turn the colors on a painter's palette, head to the Adirondack's High Peaks Wilderness.


DRIVE TIME: The trailhead near Long Lake is about 120 miles (2 = hours) north of Albany and 158 miles (3 hours) northeast of Syracuse.

THE WAY: From the village of Long Lake (on NY 30), drive east on NY 28N for 1.5 miles. Turn left on Tarbell Road and proceed 0.7 miles to the trailhead (the Northville-Placid Trail crosses the road here). The trail ends at Averyville Road, a few miles south of Lake Placid.

TRAILS: The entire Northville-Placid Trail stretches 133 miles from Upper Benson to Lake Placid. This section, from Long Lake to Averyville Road, runs 37 miles. Take care to follow the blue trail markers (stay northeast at Duck Hole), because the path crosses private land.

ELEVATION: This section of the Northville-Placid Trail is primarily a lowland path, with elevations from 1,600 to 2,400 feet. Still, there are enough ups and downs to keep your leg muscles working.

CAN’T MISS: Big Eddy. Allow time for a swim in this refreshing natural pool.

CROWD CONTROL: Though the Adirondacks are a popular fall destination, this section of trail is relatively remote. During my September trip, I didn’t encounter a single hiker after Cold River.

GUIDES: You’ll need the Guide to Adirondack Trails: Northville-Placid Trail, by Bruce Wadsworth ($16.95), and the Trails of the Northville-Placid Region map ($5.95), both of which are available from the Adirondack Mountain Club, (800) 395-8080;

WALK SOFTLY: Carefully hang all food, since black bears and other critters are common. Avoid making fires, because downed wood is scarce.

CONTACT: Adirondack Mountain Club, (800) 395-8080;

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