Skip to main content

Most Adirondack challenges involve doing one activity, usually hiking, over and over. If you happen to like the activity, trying to earn the corresponding patch really becomes a checklist of cool places to visit, and the bragging rights aren't bad either.

Now, forget what you know about those other challenges, because the Experience Newcomb Patches are different! The four patches range in difficulty from casual to extreme, with each requiring different activities to complete. Sure, there's hiking (this is the Adirondacks, after all), but there is also paddling, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Our suggestion: start at the easy end of the challenge and work your way through them for the best results.

Check out the official Experience Newcomb Patches guide and registration form for more info. Happy exploring!


The Challenger Patch is friendly to people of all abilities, and it offers some interesting ways to see the Adirondacks. The completion of one activity is all that’s required to earn the patch.

Choose from these adventures

  1. An overnight camping trip at the AED campsite in the 19,600 acre Essex Chain Lakes Complex, a region with more than a dozen lakes and ponds. 
  2. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride to Great Camp Santanoni, with access to the beautiful Newcomb Lake. This service is provided by Newcomb Farm, and qualified persons with disabilities can ride for free. Call (518) 480-1743 for more info.
  3. Take a drive into the former site of the mining town Adirondac and visit the MacIntyre Blast Furnace at Upper Works, then picnic at the Town Beach on Lake Harris.


Pursuing the Explorer Patch is a great introduction to the Adirondacks. To earn the patch, explorers must complete six of thirteen activities. Options range from the easy, 1-mile hike to Woodruff Pond to more serious endeavors like the 4.5-mile round-trip hike, snowshoe, or ski to the summit of Goodnow Mountain. There are also some paddles thrown in, so if you haven’t spent time on the water in the Adirondacks, rent a canoe or kayak and get out there! 

All of the locations listed are well worth the trip. To ease into it, start with some of the first options and work toward the Goodnow hike.

Choose from these adventures

  1. A half-mile walk to Woodruff Pond, located behind Newcomb Central School.
  2. A 1-mile walk to Santanoni Farm.
  3. A 0.8-mile hike to the Octopus Tree (you’ll know it when you see it) on Goodnow Mountain.
  4. Complete the Adirondack Interpretive Center’s Sucker Brook Trail, about a 1 mile round trip. Be sure to check out the AIC’s museum and programs while you’re there!
  5. Walk to Lake Henderson, which is only a quarter-mile round trip.
  6. Walk through the now-defunct village of Adirondac, and check out the iconic blast furnace there.
  7. Complete the 3-mile round trip Campsite Trail.
  8. Do the 2.5 mile hike to the Blue Ledges on the Hudson.
  9. Walk the Essex Chain Road north to the Hudson River.
  10. Paddle to Campsite Bridge from the Route 28N bridge.
  11. Paddle to Ann’s Island from the Route 28N bridge.
  12. Hike the Upper Works River Trail.
  13. Hike, snowshoe, or ski to the top of Goodnow Mountain, where there’s a gorgeous view from the fire tower. This is 4.5 miles round trip.


Completing one biking, one paddling, and two hiking activities are what it takes to earn the Intermediate Patch! 

Choose from these adventures

  1. Hike, snowshoe, or ski to two of the three fire towers: Goodnow Mountain, Mount Adams, and Vanderwhacker Mountain.
  2. Hike, bike, snowshoe, or ski to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake.
  3. Paddle from Rich Lake to the Route 28N bridge. This 5-mile route features one portage and three rapids.
  4. Being in the Deer Pond parking area and paddling through Seventh Lake in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex.
  5. Paddle Lake Henderson and enjoy views of Indian Pass!
  6. Paddle Fishing Brook from Rich Lake to Stone Bridge
  7. Bike, ski, or snowshoe to Cedar River from the Deer Pond parking area.
  8. Complete the 14-mile round-trip hike, snowshoe, or ski to Moose Pond.


Unless you are an experienced biker, hiker, and paddler, it is best to earn the Explorer and Intermediate patches before attempting the Extreme Patch. To go extreme, all three of the following activities must be completed, and you only have a day to do each!

Complete the following adventures

  1. Hike, snowshoe, or ski all three fire towers in one day: Goodnow Mountain, Mount Adams, and Vanderwhacker Mountain.
  2. Bike the entire 20-mile road system in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex in one day.
  3. Paddle the perimeter of Deer Pond, and paddle across First through Seventh lakes and Grassy Pond, all in one day.

Use the Newcomb Patches as your introduction to the Adirondack Hub, then start planning your own paddling, biking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing adventure! 

This week in ADK news:

Stargazer's Guide to Tupper Lake

Paddle the Saranac River

Lake Placid Brunch

Hamilton County Fall Events Lineup

Lean-to Life

Eight Things you Need to Know about the Malone Golf Club

Leaf Peeping on Two Wheels

There's More to Explore

Recipe for the Ultimate ADK Ski Trip

There's no fun like ski trip fun

Winter is a special time in the Adirondacks, and while there are tons of activities and events happening throughout the region, there's nothing quite like a ski trip. What makes a ski vacation special?

There's More to Explore

Handlebarley: Where Gravel Riding Dreams Come True with BikeADK

The Adirondack Hub region is a cyclist's dream, with scenic byways, gravel forest roads, and breathtaking vistas.

There's More to Explore

Introducing the Schroon Paddle Challenge

I bet you came to the Adirondacks to spend your precious vacation days sitting around in a motel room, watching reruns of old TV shows and scrolling through apps on your phone.

There's More to Explore

A Walk Through History

Let’s take a walk. A walk through the woods, a walk along the river, a walk through history. Plenty of Adirondack towns have years and years of history but in my opinion none as fascinating and evolving as that of the Upper Works.