Where to stay and play in Upstate New York.
Late August heralds the arrival of that short-lived season in New York's Adirondacks with neither snow nor black flies as the area's number one feature. In early fall, the miles of trails and waterways that wind through the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the Adirondack's northwest foothills are the main event, with good reason.
Five Ponds has mostly been left alone for the last hundred years, bouncing back from logging to be a truly wild area off-limits to most motorized vehicles. Foot trails here are clear enough to follow but definitely give nature the right of way. Likewise, nature maintains the streams, giving paddlers rapids to enjoy and bends to explore. Some routes are served by recently renovated lean-tos. (Not exactly 4-star, but this is the wilderness.)
If you're not quite ready to go it alone, Packbasket Adventures' Lodge and Guide Service is the perfect introduction to the area. They've got anything and everything you'll need: equipment rentals, eco-tours, wilderness guides and meals, packed or served family style in their newly constructed lodge. And though the guides are all state-licensed experts, that doesn't mean they aren't a hell of a bunch of characters to have around a campfire with you.
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