Finding the right campgrounds or hotels is crucial for a smooth hiking experience in the ADK’s. Depending on your budget and desired comfort level, there’s plenty of options for you. This list is aimed at the budget minded with some low-cost options, but there’s a bit for everyone.
Lodges and Campsites
If you’ve ever looked up the cost of staying in a shelter ran by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), you’ll realize why hikers often call them the Appalachian Money Club. The AMC doesn’t run any of the lodges in the ADKs, but you would think they did for the cost of accommodation.
Heart Lake is the prime location to start a climb. The trailhead to many, many climbs starts at the far end of its parking lot, including the quickest way to Mount Marcy. The Loj is a simple accommodation, that’s much more like a bunkhouse than a lodge, but you wouldn’t guess that from the cost:
Private Room: $170.00
6-8 person bunkhouse: $70.00
12 person loft $60.00
The Loj also offers breakfast and lunch for about $10.00 and dinner for about $20.00
Yes, these are overpriced too. You really are paying for proximity here; it’s a three minute stroll to the trailhead.
Tentsites: $40 in summer, $20 in winter (Nov-April)
Unlike Heart Lake, which you can drive directly to, Johns Brook is much more of a wilderness lodge. It requires a 3.5 mile hike into the middle of nowhere to access, and is also a central hiking point for many peaks in the Great Range. The prices are much more reasonable as well.
Bunkhouse + Meals $75-92
There’s too many of these to name. They’re CHEAP, all of them being less than $22 a night. For your cash you get a warm shower and a shady site for your tent or camper. Their only real downfall is that they only operate from Mid-May to Mid-October, not ideal for winter and spring hikers.
My favorites are Meadowbrook and Wilmington Notch. The Later for being close to trail heads, the former for being right next door to Tail of the Pup, an excessively mediocre BBQ joint that miraculously tastes amazing after a long hike.
Hotels and Motels
Trip Advisor and Yelp can direct you to the tourist friendly chains, but we’re hikers after all, so here’s some budget friendly options that fly under the radar.
Named after Olympic Skier, AD is a cheap and uber comfortable option year round. I’ve gotten rooms as cheap as $65 in the winter and $90 at the peak of summer. The best rooms have balconies overlooking the gorgeous high peaks.
Northway is so off the tourist map that it doesn’t even have its own website. I stumbled on this place when the entire town, including most campsites, were booked for the Ironman competition that is held annually at lake placid. Even with the whole town booked and being a walk-in, we got a room for $80.00.