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Once completed, the Adirondack Rail-Trail will connect the Adirondacks Region with 34 miles of recreational rail-trail from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake and 56 miles in between Tupper Lake and Old Forge through the Adirondack Wilderness either accessible through rougher and more rural snowmobile trails or summer-only passenger rail service operated through the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society.
The first 10 miles of the rail-trail, which first opened Dec. 1, 2023, connects the towns of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. Starting at the trail's easternmost endpoint in Lake Placid, the home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, the trail travels west from the Lake Placid Train Depot along a crushed-stone surface. From here, the trail dips into the Adirondack Wilderness, skirting alongside Ray Brook and traveling through the woods for most of its route before reaching Saranac Lake. Before heading north into the Village of Saranac Lake, the rail-trail crosscuts the lake for Scarface Mountain, a popular hike in the region.
The 2.5 miles of the trail within the village of Saranac Lake are paved and pass by Lake Flower and downtown Saranac Lake, filled with restaurants, souvenir shops and other worthwhile excursions before meeting its current western trailhead at the Saranac Lake Train Depot.
A short, 0.5-mile paved, section of the route in Saranac Lake is also known as the Saranac Lake Recreational Path.
The New York Central Line Railroad, along which the Adirondack Rail Trail was constructed, was originally built in 1892 by William Seward Webb. This passenger rail service originally carried users from Utica all the way north to Lake Placid through the scenic and wild Adirondack Mountains.
After many periods of abandonment and disuse, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad opened in 2000 with excursions between Lake Placid & Saranac Lake, Thendara and Carter Station/Moose River, and Utica to Thendara. In 2014, it was officially decided that the route between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid would be converted into a rail-trail and passenger rail-service would resume between Tupper Lake and Old Forge.
There is available parking at the Saranac Lake Train Depot at 28 Depot St. and the Lake Placid Train Depot at 242 Station St.
Additional parking can be found just outside of Saranac Lake along NY-86 at Fowler's Crossing.
See TrailLink Map for more detailed directions.
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