It’s no wonder the Adirondacks are renowned for peakbagging. Just four hours from the Big Apple, there’s a 6-million-acre forest preserve that’s home to hundreds—hundreds—of mountains, including 46 taller than 4,000 feet.
You can land top-of-the-world vistas throughout the Adirondacks, but 1,956-foot Cat Mountain may offer the best crash course, says reader Jonathan Mager. The approach is easy by Adirondacks’ standards, and the view from its bald summit opens east over Lake George to the Tongue Range, which is shrouded in fall-perfect hardwoods. To get there, link the Thomas Mountain and Cat Mountain Trails 3.4 miles. From there, either retrace your steps, or circle back on the blue-blazed Richard Hayes Phillips Trail for an 8-mile loop. This ridge trail is more strenuous (and less maintained) than the way you came, but it takes you across the top of Thomas at some 1,800 feet, and in the Adirondacks, there’s always room for another peak in the bag.