This summer, outdoor enthusiasts will be able to explore New York’s Adirondack Mountains on foot – without the hassle of hauling overnight gear along with them. 

Ausable Chasm, known as the Little Grand Canyon of East, in Keeseville, New York.
This summer, Hamlets to Huts will launch a network of hut-to-hut routes through the Adirondacks © ujjwalstha/Shutterstock

A diverse region covering more than six million acres, including the largest protected natural area in the Lower 48 states, the Adirondacks boast thousands of miles of trails and waterways, with the hiking, cycling, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities to match. But any multi-day itinerary currently requires travelers to bring along camping gear or reroute their trip if they want an off-trail overnight – a situation one local nonprofit is aiming to rectify with what it describes a “community-based hut-to-hut with routes that start, pass through, and finish in Adirondack communities.” 

As Backpacker reported in December, Hamlets to Huts is on track to launch routes in summer 2020 that will link lakes, trails, and towns for a seamless backcountry experience, meaning travelers will be able to hike, bike, paddle, snowshoe, or ski from community to community, with easy options for accommodations in each locale. 

Rock Island, in the middle of Blue Mountain Lake, clear water and misty clouds
The Adirondacks region has thousands of miles of trails and waterways, with the hiking, cycling, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities to match © Patty Barker/500px

Such systems are common in other countries – England’s Cotswolds region, for example, features a network of public-use pathways that wind through private and public terrain alike, where non-backpackers can even have their luggage ported from one town to the next as they make their way on foot – but outside of states like Colorado and Utah, they’re less popular in the US. 

Hamlets to Huts is hoping to change all that. According to Backpacker, its aim is “to develop multi-day routes with accommodations such as yurts, cabins, and B&Bs; customized maps with navigational, cultural, and historical information for each route; shuttle transportation; and a reservation system linking everything together.”

A stream in the Adirondacks in autumn colors, New York.
The self-guided routes will link lakes, trails, and towns for a seamless backcountry experience © Thomas Roche/Getty Images

Incorporated in 2016 and officially granted nonprofit status in 2017, the organization is now accepting registrations for a spring pilot trip that will take participants from Old Forge to Inlet and Raquette Lake before looping back to the starting point. (Though the routes will eventually be self-guided, the pilot trips are led by Hamlets to Huts founders Joe Dadey and Jack Drury, both experienced Adirondacks guides.) 

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