The Adirondack Mountain Range is located in northeastern New York State. It is spread out over Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Saint Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.
Mountains: The 8,000 square miles of mountain peaks and summits in the Adirondacks are in no particular order. They are not connected like the Rockies. The Adirondack Mountains are actually a natural dome that has been eroded to make up over a hundred peaks.
They range in elevation from 1200 to 5000 feet plus. In the eastern part of the range, Mount Marcy is the highest peak at 5,344 feet high followed by Algonquin Peak at 5114 feet, Haystack; 4960 feet, Skylight at 4926 feet, Whiteface at 4867 at feet, Dix at 4857 feet and Giant at 4627 feet.
“The 46” as they are called are the 46 highest peaks and are sought after by avid mountain climbers. Two brothers, Robert and George Marshall climbed all 46 peaks between the years 1918 to 1923. This mountain range also is utilized as a drainage divide for the Great Lakes Basin and Hudson watershed.
During the ice age, The Adirondacks were covered by the Laurentian Glacier which helped to form over 2,300 lakes and ponds that still exist today. The rock that makes up the mountain range is almost a billion years old, but the uplift that formed the Adirondack dome is only 5 million years old and continues to rise and shift to the present day.
The Adirondack Mountains were given their name by Ebenezer Emmons who anglicized it from the Mohawk word, “Ratirontaks.” Ratirontaks means “They eat trees” or “Bark Eater” in the Mohawk language. The Mohawks used it to describe their neighbors, the Algonquians in a negative way because of the way they ate bark and buds from trees. Both tribes hunted and crossed through the Adirondack Mountains but never settled there.
Samuel de Champlain was the first European to discover the Adirondacks. French trappers worked the region starting around 1642 along with Jesuit missionaries trying to convert the neighboring native populations.
After rich iron deposits were discovered in Champlain valley, a period of mining ensued, bringing with it settlers and industry. By 1885 congress created the Adirondack Forest Preserve which protected millions of acres of land for future generations. This was followed by the founding of the Adirondack Park in 1892 with over six million acres.
Nowadays, the area is used extensively for recreation.
There are numerous hotels, hunting lodges and vacation cabins scattered throughout the area along with cities and towns. The major resort areas include the areas of Schroon Lake, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Lake George and St. Regis Lakes.
The Adirondacks are a wild place, but you don’t have to be into hiking or the outdoors to enjoy this six million acre wilderness. World-renowned museums and performing arts centers are the soul of our communities, offering an incredible experience no matter the occasion or event. Float down the ancient Ausable Chasm or take the whole family for a nature walk along High Falls Gorge. Add an bit of adventure to the everyday Adirondack family vacation. Bring the outdoors in and enjoy the fresh scent of balsam with a signature spa treatment, or take advantage of unique shopping opportunities. Golfers will love the scenic mountain courses designed by world class golfers.