IntroductionThe Adirondack Mountains are located in Northern New York State near the Canadian Border. The Forest Preserve (Adirondack Park), which comprises most of the region, has over 6 million acres of land (9,375 square miles or 24,281 square kilometers) in its borders. It is the largest park in the lower 48 States, exceeding the area of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined. It is roughly the size of Vermont. If it were its own country, the Park would be the 149th largest country in the world, slightly larger than Djibouti (I was just looking for an excuse to say "Djibouti").
Only 2.5 million acres is state land, although the state buys more every year. That means that nearly 3.5 million acres is privately-owned land. This public/private relationship is more or less unique to the Park. Developement and use of Park lands is governed by the Adirondack Park Agency.
The Park is the headwaters of three major rivers: Hudson, Black, and Mohawk. According to The Adirondack Council, the surface waters of the Adirondack region include 2,800 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and an estimated 30,000 miles of brooks and streams. The combined volume of just four Adirondack Park lakes (Lake George, Great Sacandaga, Tupper Lake and Raquette Lake) exceeds 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) gallons. Unfortunately, many of these waters are negatively affected by acid rain, and several of the region's lakes are "dead" (Note: they still appear pristine, and are still usable for wading, canoeing, etc.).
Adirondack architecture - More to come. Examples
Adirondack style rustic furniture - More to come. Examples
Geology and Natural HistoryThe Adirondacks are part of the Canadian Shield, not the much younger Appalachian Range. The mountains of the Great Range are formed from metanorthosite, except for Armstrong, which is comprised syenite gneiss. The reason for this difference is linked to the origin of the Adirondack Mountains themselves.
Much of the rock that we see in the High Peaks and the Adirondacks in general was formed about 1 billion years ago as the basement rock to a very large mountain range that would rival the size of the Himalayas. The rock we see today was miles below the surface, where it was metamorphisized. Over time these mountains eroded away and other geologic events happened, such as the European plate colliding with the North American plate. These events cracked the bedrock forming faults. These faults didn’t necessarily follow the arrangement of ridges and valleys of the ancient mountain range. The faults were then filled by magma forming igneous rocks. Much of this rock lay dormant while other geological events were happening, such as the formation of the Appalachian Mountains.
The processes responsible for the mountain ranges we see today are being debated. One theory states that sometime in the Tertiary Period (approximately 30 million years ago) something caused uplift (perhaps a hot spot), which pushed the bedrock towards the surface, which is still happening. Over time, erosion (in particular glacial erosion) carved out the softer rock inside the faults leaving the harder metamorphic rock behind, which are the ranges we see today.
A competing theory states that the Himalaya-sized mountain range was so heavy, that it depressed the crust and mantle beneath. As these mountains eroded, they weighed less, and the current uplift is due to a rebounding effect of the crust and mantle beneath.
This website provides more geology info.
Also check out: Adirondack Park Agency Geology Page
Adirondack Park Agency Wildlife Page
Adirondack Park Agency Natural Communities Page
Climate and WeatherIn general, the area has a cool and wet climate. The Village of Speculator, for example has a mean annual temperature of 39.9*F (4.4*C) and an average annual precipitation of 57.8 inches (1.4 meters). Although these measurements meet Alaback's definition of a temperate rainforest, the area is not formally classified as such (please comment if you know why this is the case).
Both lake effect snows originating over Lake Ontario and "nor-easter" storms can have a significant effect on snowfall totals, which may widely vary depending upon the tracks of such storms. Hiking on top of 8 feet (2.5 meters) of snow is not uncommon. The adjancent Tug Hill Plateau (west) averages over 25 feet (7.5 meters) of snow per year.
Current Mountain Weather: >http://www.erh.noaa.gov/btv/mountain/point/
|Town (Elev. above sea level)||Jan.||Mar.||May||Jul.||Sept.||Nov.|
|Northville (800 ft.)||10-30||20-40||45-70||60-80||50-70||30-45|
|Lake Placid (1,880 ft.)||5-30||15-40||40-65||55-80||45-70||25-45|
High Peaks Area
The High Peaks Area contains several groups/ranges, including the:
List of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks Created by anita514
|Hurricane Mtn.||3,694 ft.|
|Mount Adams||3,520 ft.|
|Mt. Van Hovenberg||2,940|
|Mt. Jo||2,876 ft.|
|Rooster Comb||2,762 ft.|
Northern AreaSt.Regis Mountain
Villages in the Northern region include Plattsburgh, Malone, Potsdam, and Canton.
|Snowy Mountain||3,899 ft.|
|Chimney Mt.||2,721 ft.|
Villages in the Central region include Long Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Speculator, and Long Lake.
West CentralPharoah Mt.
|Black Mountain||2,665 ft.||Erebus||2,527 ft.|
|Buck Mountain||2,330 ft.|
Villages in the West Central region include Old Forge, Inlet, and Piseco.
Interactive aerial tour of the region.
SourcesIntroduction: About the Adirondack Park
History: Adirondack History
Adirondack History Trivia
History of the Adirondack Park
A Nice Timeline
Geology and Natural History: Submitted by lumberzac (Webshots Page) and WalksWithBlackflies
Books: 1) Goodwin, Tony. Guide to Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region. Lake George, NY, 2000.
2) Schlimmer, E. Thur Hiker's Guide to America.Camden, ME, 2005.
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