The Five Towns area of the Adirondacks contains some of the most wild and beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers in the eastern U.S. And that means it contains some of the most wild and beautiful places in the world.
The Five Towns include the area within the legal boundaries of North Hudson, Long Lake, Indian Lake, Minerva, and Newcomb, which, combined, contain thousands of acres of state-protected Forest Preserve lands. Within those lands lie many of the High Peaks, some of the most famous lakes in the Adirondacks, and quaint, picturesque villages.
From hiking and skiing and camping and paddling to historic areas and lakefront retreats, the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub has everything an adventurous family could want.
With the headwaters of one of the world’s most famous rivers - the Hudson River - nestled neatly in the Five Towns, you might think this is a paddler’s paradise. And it is! But there is so much more to do and see as well.
Hikers are likely already familiar with the limitless trails, which lead to some of the state’s tallest mountains, as well as historic fire towers, scenic ponds, backcountry campsites, and along remote stretches of river.
Paddlers can ply the flat waters of some of the Adirondacks’ most beloved lakes, from the aptly-named Long Lake to the legendarily beautiful Boreas Ponds. There’s also plenty of whitewater, where kayakers can take on steep drops and families can take guided rafting trips. And the Five Towns are not just for paddlers! There are beautiful beaches and islands that dot many of the larger lakes and are great for all kinds of boating - whether you’d like to fish, waterski, sail, or just take a pleasure cruise.
In the winter, the lands of the Five Towns do not go dormant. That’s when ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and winter celebrations abound. Anglers can take part in fishing derbies and snowmobilers and skiers can explore hundreds of miles of trails.
Sportsmen and women will also love the Five Towns. Carry on the great Adirondack tradition of harvesting wild game, with game animals from brook trout to turkey to deer to bear to be found. Hire a local guide and search for a large rack or spend the morning flushing game birds. The Upper Hudson Recreation Hub has tens of thousands of acres of public land that remains trail-less - true wilderness - where man is little more than a visitor, and wildlife thrive.
The mighty Hudson River that meets the Atlantic Ocean in New York City and serves as a vital commercial and recreational vein through much of New York state starts right here as little more than a bubbling mountain stream.
The highest source of the Hudson River - Lake Tear of the Clouds - is typically reached by hiking via the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub. Feldspar Brook flows out of Lake Tear of the Clouds and makes its way to Henderson Lake, and the Hudson River is born as it begins its more than 300-mile journey to the city so nice they named it twice.
This is also where then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was staying when he received word that President McKinley was dying in Buffalo. Roosevelt set off on his famous midnight ride, and along state Route 28N, right here in the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, Roosevelt unofficially became President of the United States.
Luckily, some of the places along Roosevelt’s route have been preserved, and there are interpretive trails that delineate the rich industrial and mining history of the area. These features from eras past provide plenty for local historians to catalogue, and history buffs of all stripes will be enthralled with the ghost towns, interpretive signs, and celebration of the Five Towns’ deep history.
Camping and lodging
Regardless of the number of people in your group or how long you want to stay or how close to civilization you want to be, the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub has the perfect lodging option.
From remote, hike-in backcountry campsites to elegant lakefront lodges and roadside motels, the Five Towns has rentals, lodges, rooms, and campgrounds that can accommodate any size party. There’s even horse-friendly camping for the equestrian crowd.
So regardless of the type of adventure you're looking for - be it land-based or water-based, the Five Towns has what you need for an epic vacation.