Lake Placid is beautiful year round. I’ve been during the summer and fall and loved both. If you’re into outdoorsy activities, like hiking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, summer is the time to go. But if you prefer a chillier hike (30˚F-50˚F), or just chillier weather while you sip Manhattans from a heated outdoor bar patio [see below], then fall is your time to shine.
Another reason I’m pushing you to visit in the fall… The crowds are much lighter. Lake Placid gets busy on the weekends no matter the season, but there are far fewer folks there during the fall. And on fall weekdays, it almost feels like a ghost town [my favorite kind of town].
WHERE TO STAY
High Peaks Resort. Wiff and I have stayed here twice, once in summer and once in fall. Both times were great. It’s not the fanciest resort in all the land, but the price point is perfect ($200-$300/night). We stayed in the Lake House, which offers very nice views of the lake—go figure.
Where to eat
Top Of The Park. Wiff and I tend to be creatures of habit. Once we find a restaurant we like, we’ll go back over and over. And most of the time we’ll order the same things.
Which is why I can really only recommend one place: Top of the Park. The food is on par with what you’d find in NYC. The drinks were outstanding. They didn’t bat an eye when we went off their menu and ordered Negronis and Vespers. They know their drinks.
Sit on the deck if you can. because they have FIREPLACES INSIDE EACH TABLE. Go early, even during the week the deck starts filling up around 4pm.
Giant’s Nubble. This hike was short but steep. I started the hike before dawn when it was 30˚F out, but ten minutes in I was drenched with sweat. The view is SUPER rewarding.
About a third of the way up, I stopped to catch my breath at the Giant Washbowl. [I also happened to be lost, since my GPS on my phone was taking its sweet time to update.] I didn’t know it until after I’d taken the picture that this was Giant Washbowl, the little pond that would become the focal point of the view from the top.
Giant Washbowl (Click to enlarge)
I have an acrylic print of Giant’s Washbowl hanging on my wall.
If you continue onward, and if you’re hiking early enough to catch the good light—LIKE I KNOW YOU ARE—you might be treated to a sweet sweet view like this:
View from the Top (Click to enlarge)
That is, until the fog clears. At which point you’ll be treated to a view like THIS:
Not bad, but not great.
And then you’ll have realized that you overshot the best view! So, if you’re seeing this, head back a hundred yards or so to a little outcropping, and catch THIS view:
Not bad, right? (Click to enlarge)
Mount Jo Loop Trail. Another short and steep hike. There are two routes, the Short Trail and the Long Trail. They’re almost equidistant so it won’t matter too much which route you pick. I went up the Short Trail and down the Long Trail. The Short Trail felt steeper—it was straight uphill the entire way—but that could have been only because it was on the way up.
The Mount Jo Loop Trail hike provides views of Heart Lake.