Cool Things to do in the Adirondacks in Winter (Getaway Guide + Map)

view from the top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks New York in the winter

Looking for the icy and cool things to do in the Adirondacks in winter for a perfect winter getaway? We got you! This is one of our absolute favorite places to visit Upstate New York, especially this time of year!

This scenic mountain region in Upstate New York hosted not one, but two winter Olympic games making it not only approved as a winter destination worthy of the best athletes in the world but also because there is a plethora of activities to enjoy, enough to make an entire Adirondack winter vacation out of!

So next time you’re looking for a place to beat the winter blues, pack your bags and head to one of the magical luxury resorts or a cozy intimate cabin and enjoy all the best things to do in the Adirondacks in winter, one of our favorite winter getaways in Upstate New York!

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Fun Adirondacks Winter Activities 

Hit the Slopes

Scott snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid New York in the Adirondacks in Winter

One of the best ways things to do in the Adirondacks in winter is skiing, snowboarding, or whatever your preferred sport is on the slopes. Given the mountainous terrain, it only makes sense that there are a ton of popular ski resorts in the Adirondacks.

There are a few different ski resorts in the Adirondacks to choose from, the most famous being Whiteface Mountain since this mountain has ties to the Olympic Winter Games!

For the East Coast, the Adirondacks in winter have some of the best conditions being further north Upstate in New York. The amount of snowfall varies from year to year depending on the winter season, sadly during our visit in the winter of 2023 was very mild and the conditions weren’t great. But that is just what happens sometimes and with global warming, the winters are less predictable.

On average, the Adirondacks in winter as a region can exceed over 100 inches of snow! Which is ideal for winter and snowy activities! The ski season can be as early as late November and as late into April if it’s a good season.

Okay, now let’s talk about the actual ski resorts in the Adirondacks.

The mac daddy of ski resorts in the Adirondacks is Whiteface Mountain which is located near the town of Lake Placid. This is where both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games were held and where you can ski and snowboard on the same slopes as many of the world’s best winter athletes!

Next up, is the largest ski resort in the state of New York! Gore Mountain with its extensive skiable terrain with 14 lifts and 108 trails spanning 42 miles and 7 mountain areas!

Titus Mountain is another option in the Northern Adirondacks closer to the Canadian border just a 2-hour drive from Montreal, another great winter destination! This is considered a great family-friendly ski resort in the Adirondacks spanning 3 mountain areas.

If you’re looking for a more family-friendly ski resort that has more than skiing and snowboarding (plus other fun things to do in the Adirondacks in winter like snow tubing) you’ll want to check out Dynamite Hill Recreation Area near the popular resort town of Lake George.

Just as the name suggests, it’s more of a hill than a mountain and great for those intimidated by the larger mountains as they have more activities than just skiing or snowboarding!

The Adirondacks are home to some of the best ski resorts in New York and the East Coast! It’s no wonder the winter Olympics came here more than once and one of the reasons why we come back year after year!

Visit the Winter Olympic Sites

Olympic Museum and shops in downtown Lake Placid New York in the Adirondacks

An Adirondacks winter vacation will not be complete without a visit to the famous Lake Placid Olympic sites. In fact, this is one of the most quintessential things to do in the Adirondacks in winter as so much history is tied to these sites and it’s woven into the cultural fabric of this region, especially in the winter.

The Olympic sites, which were initially built in 1932 for the Winter Olympics and were home to the 1980 Winter Olympics as well, have evolved into four unique tourist locations. These include the Olympic Center, Whiteface Mountain, The Olympic Jumping Complex, and Mount Van Hovenburg.

Some fun Lake Placid winter activities available for guests are:

The Cliffside Coaster is the longest mountain coaster in the country. This mountain coaster ride allows you the opportunity to observe the 1980 Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Track along with panoramic views of the Adirondack High Peaks as you speed down the 1.4 mile long track!

If you want a real adrenaline rush, one of the best things to do in the Adirondacks in winter, and only available during the winter months is the Bobsled Experience! Like the Cliffside Coaster, this is located at Mt Van Hovenberg from December through early February.

Visitors can take a ride on a real bobsled with a trained driver, experiencing the twists, turns, and high speeds of an Olympic bobsled run. This definitely provides a unique opportunity for adventure-seekers to feel the excitement of this high-speed sport and get a taste of the Olympic legacy in Lake Placid.

Mt Van Hovenberg also offers an Olympic Legacy Tour where you’ll get to visit Olympic sites with a guide that shares stories about the elite athletes, takes visitors to the actual sites of events, and combines both walking and getting on a bus to get around to the different sites.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is another great spot and educational center featuring several exhibitions and displays of Olympic memorabilia. It is an excellent experience for both kids and adults.

Ice Skating at the Olympic Oval is one of the most fun things to do in the Adirondacks in winter also located in Lake Placid! This massive ice skating rink is an Olympic Speed Skating rink and one of the few outdoor Olympic rinks still in operation!

A fun fact, Eric Heiden won 5 Olympic gold medals for the US during the 1980 Olympics at this rink.

Winter Hikes & Snowshoeing

visiting ausable chasm in winter adirondcks in upstate new york

This is another popular Adirondacks winter activity that attracts visitors into this region every winter. We love snowshoeing or going on winter hikes with crampons you can add on to your snowboots easily.

We find having crampons are super convenient on winter trips as they are compact and can easily be thrown in a backpack or bag if you need them and you can just take them on and off.

We love snowshoeing too, but we don’t own our own snowshoes (maybe that should change as I bought my mom a pair for Christmas a few years back and she uses them all the time and loves them in the winter).

During the Adirondacks in winter, there are plenty of snowshoeing and winter hiking opportunities!

Ausable Chasm is one of the most popular attractions to visit in the Adirondacks with its trails through the scenic gorge of dramatic cliffs and waterfalls. In the winter, you can rent crampons, unless you have your own, and head on the Rim Trail which is open for self-guided adventures, and the Inner Sanctum Trail with a guide on a tour.

The Rim Trail is cool, but the Inner Sanctum really is where you’re going to get more dramatic views. So if the conditions are permitting and you’re able to book a guided tour of the Inner Sanctum, we recommend that. Either way though, this is one of our favorite things to do in the Adirondacks in winter and we’ve done it a few times now!

The Adirondack Club’s Cascade Ski Center in Lake Placid has a few cool snowshoeing spots along a 12-mile network of groomed trails that cross country skiers also love. And if you don’t have your own gear, they have rentals here too.

Another awesome spot for snowshoeing in the Adirondacks in winter is Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center which has separate groomed trails for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!



I love having an opportunity to snowmobile as I grew up with a father who LOVED this winter sport and we owned a few snowmobiles to play on whenever we wanted. It’s one of those things you don’t realize until you’re older how fun that was to have access to as a kid and Scott loves to snowmobile too!

Great news, this is another one of the most popular things to do in the Adirondacks in winter! There are several groomed networks of snowmobile trails in the region along with snowmobile rentals!

One of the popular snowmobile tours in the Adirondacks is C+C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours in Chestertown. They also offer experienced guides who will guide you through beautiful wooded trails and an overlook with a breathtaking view. They have well-maintained, high-quality machines for rent and are very family-friendly.

Adirondack Snowmobiles in Lake Placid offer guided tours around the area with someone who has been doing this for nearly four decades and knows the area really well. If you’re feeling confident and adventurous enough to go on your own, they also offer snowmobile rentals so you can do some exploring on your own!

Another great option in Old Forge is renting one of the awesome sleds from ADK Snowmobile Outfitters. Their fleet includes all types of sleds depending on what you’re looking for, and if you’re not sure they can help guide you in the right direction. They also offer guided tours if that’s an option you want as well.

We advise that you make reservations ahead of time to ensure that you get the best tours.

Dog Sledding

bonding with the dog sled dogs in winter

It may come as a surprise that dog sledding is a very popular Adirondacks winter activity. Take advantage of your Adirondack winter vacation to enjoy this exhilarating experience.

One of the best locations to enjoy dog sledding in the Adirondacks is Mirror Lake in Lake Placid. There, you can find several dog sled tours such as Mike Arnold Dog Sled Rides (first come, first serve) and Lake Placid Dog Sledding Team.

Another location to experience dog sledding is The Golden Arrow. Each ride is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and an independent operator runs the rides.

Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm rainbow falls in new york in the adirondacks

Although Ausable Chasm is a popular vacation destination in warmer months, it may come as a surprise that this is a great addition to your Adirondack winter vacation too. 

Its winter tours offer a tranquil and serene experience that feel straight out of Narnia. If you are looking to escape the summer crowds, this is the perfect time to explore the famous Ausable Chasm, a scenic natural canyon formed over thousands of years with dramatic waterfalls and cliffs.

In the summer months, this is a popular spot for hiking, tubing, white water rafting, and more. In the winter months, two trails are open for hiking along the waterfalls.

Guests will be able to see gigantic icicles, some towering up to 150 feet above the Ausable River. If the weather is right, you might also get to see a chasm of pristine, blanketed snow.

A closer view of the rock and ice formations along the Inner Sanctum Trail can be seen when you descend into the chasm in winter and can only be accessed with a guide only during this time of year.

Each Adirondacks winter tour lasts about 2 hours and is led by an experienced guide except the Rim Trail which is available for self-exploration. Ensure to book your reservations ahead of time to guarantee an entry into the chasm.

Ice shoes are compulsory and can be rented on arrival unless you have your own.

Toboggan & Sledding

You have not experienced the traditional winter fun if you have not experienced an Adirondack Mountains winter tobogganing and sledding experience! Kick your Adirondacks winter vacation up a notch with the hometown Lake Placid toboggan chute, sliding down the frozen lake into Mirror Lake.

Another popular toboggan and sledding location is Kiwanis Teddy Bear Park. Located on Elm Street, Lake Placid, the hill in this pack is perfect for little children. It is open during daylight hours and is only a walking distance from Main Street.

You do have to bring your own equipment, though, which if you’re traveling and have limited space we recommend getting a fun inflatable winter tube for sledding as it packs up easier than a traditional sled.

Brewery Hopping


The Adirondacks is home to several microbreweries, wineries, and distilleries and guests always come to this region to enjoy great meals and refreshing drinks. What better thing to do after enjoying exhilarating outdoor activities on a crisp winter day?

Explore the different craft breweries in the region offering their own small-batch brews in a tasting flight or grab a growler or growler to go to take back home or your cabin/lodge during your Adirondacks winter vacation.

Here are a few of the breweries worth checking out during your Adirondack Mountain winter getaway:

Great Adirondack Brewing Company is located in the heart of downtown Lake Placid and offers a full steakhouse menu alongside their craft brews, flights, and take home beer. If you find yourself coming back over and over again on your Adirondack winter vacation consider joining their mug club for discounts.

Adirondack Pub and Brewery is a rustic, cabin-inspired pub in Lake George offers a wide range of Adirondack-themed beers. Two of their better-known and famed brews include Bear Naked Ale, the crisp Bobcat Blonde Lager, and the American-style Iroquois Pale Ale. They also serve a menu of American-fare to pair with their brews.

Lake George Distilling Company is located at the heart of Lake George, this distillery prides itself in producing handcrafted, quality artisan spirits made from special local grains. Feel free to stop by the distillery and try out any of their unique, delicious spirits or take some to go with you.

Racquette River Brewing is located in Tupper Lake and is another brewery worth checking out offering a large tasting room where you can order a flight of their beers to try, eat, or grab drinks to go for your lodging or to take home with you.

Oval Craft Brewing is located in a historic, 1890s building in Plattsburgh along Lake Champlain, this brewery is another great option for beer tasting in the region and a great way to warm up on a cold Adirondack winter day. The building was originally used as a carriage house for horse-drawn fire carts used by the Army. The Oval Craft still retains its historic features along with pictures from the “Plattsburgh Idea” and past Army officers. 

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in summer and spring is a super fun activity, but it’s also a great Adirondack winter activity for visitors looking to explore the outdoors. The beauty of the Adirondacks mountains in winter combined with the crisp winter air on your face makes for a very interesting experience.

Enjoy horseback riding on Lake Placid during your Adirondack winter vacation. Lake Placid Horse offers an amazing horseback riding experience with skilled guides and well-trained horses.

If the weather is permitting, you can enjoy up to one and a half-hour of recreational horseback riding through the woods with great views of Saranac Lake, Adirondack High Peaks, and Whiteface Mountain.

You can opt for either private horseback riding or group horseback rides. Either way, be sure that you are properly dressed for the weather. Pack gloves, hats, insulated ski pants, and warm coats.

For a full, more immersive experience, you can sign up for an instructional half-day ride. This ride is exclusive and lasts about 3 hours. It includes a thorough ground lesson along with a review quiz before mounting.

Guests who sign up for this ride will get SEI approved helmets along with warm, spicy meals and hot beverages. To enjoy easy access to this experience, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.

Visit the North Pole

Santas Workshop at the North Pole New York in the Adirondacks

Yep, that’s right everyone, you can visit Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole, NY during your Adirondack winter vacation! Located near Whiteface Mountain, the popular ski resort, you can have breakfast with Santa, visit the Christmas Village and see Santa, check out the holiday lights, and all the other fun things to do and see in this whimsical holiday village amusement park!

Be sure to visit their website as there are events that take place every season, but the best, in my opinion, would be to visit around the holidays for the ultimate Santa and North Pole workshop experience!

Take a Scenic Drive

Jay Covered Bridge in Adirondacks New York

One of our favorite things to do in the Adirondacks in winter and pretty much any season we visit is just drive from one town to the next and that’s where you find random stops in small towns that have cool local general stores, fun signs, antique shops, and even some of the best-covered bridges in New York!

There are multiple scenic byways that offer some of the region’s best views. Some of the best include Route 86 between Wilmington and Lake Placid, Route 3 from Saranac Lake to Saranac, Route 8 to Ticonderoga, Route 9N along Lake George, and Route 28.

We recommend bringing an AWD or 4WD car during your visit to the Adirondacks in winter, while roads are well maintained, you will want the extra features to keep you safe when there are icy conditions and if you book a remote cabin getaway, some of the backroads are not maintained like the busier roads.

See our top picks for the best towns in the Adirondacks to visit!

Adirondack Winter Accommodation Options

Pretty a Frame Cabin Airbnb in New York adirondacks
A Frame Cabin in Jay, NY

Planning a stay for your Adirondack Mountains winter getaway offers many options for where to stay, from cozy New York cabins to ski resorts and other luxury lodging options – it can be overwhelming to choose, so we’ve picked a few of our favorites to help you narrow down your choices!

Cozy Cabins for an Adirondacks Winter Getaway

This fun A-Frame cabin, the A-frame photographed above, is located in Jay which is a short drive to Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain where you can find many of your Adirondacks winter activities and just a short drive from Ausable Chasm. This cabin can sleep up to 6 individuals and comes with board games!

Another great cabin for larger groups in Jay is this Rustic Ski Treehouse Cabin! We actually stayed here (by accident because it was just the two of us and it can sleep up to 12) and loved it! Not only is the cabin spacious and gorgeous, but there’s a fireplace, sauna, and hot tub to enjoy on the coldest of winter days.

Another great cabin perfect for 2-4 guests is the Ruby Hill Cabins in Wells on Lake Algonquin which is just a short drive to many of the beautiful winter outdoor activities and not too far of a drive to Lake George.

Another dreamy cabin perfect for your getaway to the Adirondacks in winter is this cabin and property at Camp Garoda that also has a fireplace and a jacuzzi to warm up to on those chilly winter evenings with a great location next to Caroga Lake that comfortably sleeps up to 4 guests.

Resorts & Lodges for an Adirondacks Winter Getaway

Lake George in the Adirondacks New York in winter
Lake George in winter

The Sagamore Hotel

One of the most famous places to stay in the Adirondacks any season is located on an island in Lake George. The luxurious and famous Sagamore Hotel is a premier destination and property was named by Architectural Digest as being one of the most beautiful hotels in the Adirondacks as well as being an official AAA Four Diamond recipient.

This hotel dates back to the 1880s and is designated as a National Register of Historic Places. Stay in one of their condos, standard rooms, luxury suites, or a private lodge overlooking the gorgeous Lake George. Book here.

Whiteface Lodge

One of the best places to stay during an Adirondack winter vacation if you plan on doing any skiing or snowboarding is at the world-famous Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid. They have several styles of rooms to choose from, a spa, heated indoor/outdoor pool area, and other great amenities for guests at this 4.5-star resort not to mention a great location. Book here.

Mirror Lake Inn

Another great, AAA Four-Diamond hotel and member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World located in Lake Placid, and a great base for exploring the Adirondacks in winter, is the Mirror Lake Inn. Get a gorgeous room with a balcony overlooking the mountains and Mirror Lake with a cracking fireplace to cozy up to at nights.

There’s a luxury spa on site and you can walk to all the attractions and things to do in Lake Placid right from this resort which is just a short, 10-minute drive to Whiteface Mountain if you are also hoping to hit the slopes. Book here.

Adirondacks Winter Vacation Map

How cold are the Adirondacks in winter?

Winter temperatures in the Adirondacks can be cold, ranging from an average low of around 0°F (-18°C) to highs of about 30°F (-1°C). In higher elevations, temperatures can drop further, creating a chilly and snowy winter environment.

Is Lake Placid fun in the winter?

Yes, Lake Placid is incredibly fun in winter. It offers a range of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, ice skating on Mirror Lake, and the unique experience of the Olympic venues like bobsledding, making it a delightful winter destination.

Do the Adirondacks get alot of snow?

Yes, the Adirondacks receive a significant amount of snow, especially in winter. With higher elevations and a northern climate, the region experiences substantial snowfall, creating a winter wonderland and providing ample opportunities for winter sports and recreation.

What’s the biggest skiing mountain in New York?

Gore Mountain is often considered the biggest skiing mountain in New York. With diverse terrain, numerous trails, and a substantial vertical drop, it attracts winter sports enthusiasts seeking a variety of experiences on the slopes.

What part of the Adirondacks get the most snow?

The western and northern parts of the Adirondacks, including areas around Tug Hill, often receive the most snow. The region’s proximity to the Great Lakes and prevailing weather patterns contribute to significant snowfall, creating ideal conditions for winter activities.

What are the temperatures in the Adirondacks in winter?

Winter temperatures in the Adirondacks can range from an average low of around 0°F (-18°C) to highs of about 30°F (-1°C). In higher elevations, temperatures can drop lower, creating a cold and snowy winter climate.

If you’re looking for another dreamy Upstate getaway, check out our guide to the Catskills in winter for more inspiration.

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