Lonely Planet Writer

Nature’s answer to the High Line is proving popular in Upstate New York

For a thoroughly uplifting experience that doesn’t require the ability to climb trees or fly, head to the Adirondacks. Nature’s answer to New York City’s High Line, the Wild Center’s Wild Walk is an elevated pathway perched 40 feet above the ground in the middle of the miles of pristine mountains and forest.

A High Line for the nature set in Upstate New York. Image by The Wild Center

Situated in the heart of Upstate New York’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park on an 81-acre campus, the Wild Center is a natural history museum and science center that’s dedicated to helping people understand and explore the surrounding environment. In late 2015, the center unveiled the Wild Walk, a trail with over 1200 feet of bridges and observation decks that allows visitors to get a totally unique view from the treetops of the forest to the surrounding wildlife. “Wild Walk takes the walls and ceiling off of a traditional museum and interprets what’s right in front of you,” says Tracey Legat, Communications Manager for the Wild Center. “It changes your perspective on nature and shows how different species live when they’re not on the ground.”

Visitors get a different perspective on nature from above. Image by The Wild Center

There are several points along the trail to stop and take it all in. A four-story snag (based on a towering white pine tree) is fitted with a winding staircase that allows for an up-close examination of the tiny creatures inside. Crawl across the Spider’s Web — a massive mesh and rope net suspended high above the ground, or climb inside a giant bird’s nest, perched at the highest point of the Wild Walk, and keep your eyes peeled for a bald eagle.

The Spider’s Web. Image by The Wild Center

The Wild Center also has an expansive indoor facility with a theatre, exhibits that focus on plants and animals indigenous to the area, and over 900 live animals, including otters, porcupines, turtles, and more. Outside, visitors can take canoe or stand up paddleboard trips on the Raquette River, or check out the new iForest sound installation, where music is piped through a series of 24 hidden speakers to accompany a 1000-foot nature walk through a wooded loop.

The highest point of the trail has a giant bird’s nest. Image by The Wild Center

The Wild Center is open year round, and the Wild Walk is opened from late May to late fall.

Discover why the Adirondacks  was named number 7 in Lonely Planet’s Best in US 2017.