Plan a Hike in the Adirondack Mountains

Planning a hike in the Adirondack Mountain Peaks in New York requires careful consideration to ensure safety and an enjoyable experience. I've visited the Adirondacks area a couple times and summited five peaks and feel this is a good step-by-step guide to help you plan your Adirondack hiking adventure:

Research the 46 Peaks: Start by researching the 46 Adirondack high peaks and trails. Identify the high peaks you're interested in and gather information about their difficulty levels, elevation gains, trail lengths, and any specific features or challenges. Recommend visiting when starting your research.

Choose Your Peak: Based on your hiking experience, fitness level, and preferences, select a peak that suits your abilities. Beginners might start with easier peaks like Cascade or Giant, while more experienced hikers could consider tougher options like Algonquin or Marcy. Recommend when gauges difficulty.

Check Trail Conditions: Trail conditions can change due to weather, maintenance, or seasonal factors. Check websites, forums, or social media groups for up-to-date information on trail conditions, closures, or advisories. Recommend AllTrails for the latest conversation on a trail.

Select a Route: Choose a specific trail route to reach your chosen peak. There might be multiple trails leading to a peak, varying in difficulty and length. Consider loop trails if available.

Permits and Regulations: Some trails might require permits, especially during busy seasons. Check if you need any permits or passes to access the trailhead, and make the necessary arrangements.

Map and Guidebooks: Get hold of trail maps, guidebooks, or trail descriptions. These resources will provide detailed information about the trail, elevation profiles, landmarks, and potential hazards.

Plan Your Timing: Consider the time it takes to complete the hike, including breaks and time at the summit. Start early to allow ample daylight for hiking and to avoid crowds.

Pack Essentials: Prepare a hiking essentials checklist:


  1. Clothing: Dress in layers, wear moisture-wicking fabrics, and carry rain gear.
  2. Footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots with good ankle support.
  3. Backpack: Pack a comfortable and appropriately sized backpack.
  4. Navigation Tools: Bring a map, compass, and/or GPS device.
  5. Food and Water: Carry enough water and high-energy snacks.
  6. First Aid Kit: Include basic medical supplies and any personal medications.
  7. Emergency Gear: Carry a flashlight, whistle, multi-tool, and a small emergency shelter.
  8. Sun Protection: Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
  9. Communication: Have a fully charged cell phone, but don't rely solely on it for navigation.
  10. Notify Someone: Share your hiking plans with a friend or family member. Let them know your intended trail, peak, estimated start and end times, and when you'll check in with them.


Hike Responsibly: During the hike, follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Stay on marked trails, pack out all trash, and avoid disturbing wildlife.

Weather Monitoring: Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Be prepared for changing conditions and postpone your hike if severe weather is expected.

Stay Informed: Stay updated on trail conditions and any last-minute changes before you head out.

Remember that safety should always be your top priority. If you're new to hiking or uncertain about your abilities, consider hiking with a more experienced companion or hiring a local guide. Enjoy your hike in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains!

Back to blog