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Old Forge, NY: The Perfect Getaway

Old Forge, NY is a town in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s home to many beautiful parks, lakes, and state forests. If you’re looking for peace and relaxation, this is the perfect place for you!

In all seasons, Old Forge has something to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Whitewater rafting in the spring, hiking and paddling in the summer, stunning fall foliage in the fall, and snowmobiling and skiing in winter.

This town in the Central Adirondacks has a lot to enjoy whether it’s having fun with family or friends or trying out a new experience for yourself!

There are many more things you can do in Old Forge so you should really consider going!

In this blog post, we will share some ideas about what to do while visiting Old Forge.

Paddling

Known as the paddling capital of the Adirondacks, Old Forge is home to the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The chain begins near Old Forge and ends before it reaches Raquette Lake, but you could easily spend your whole vacation exploring these waters!

The lakes are named for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, who proposed connecting them to create an Adirondack canal. The chain was originally meant as an irrigation system for farmers but ended up being used as recreational water instead.

The eight bodies of water that make up the Fulton Chain are Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Lakes; Seventh Lake (Chub Lake); Eighth Lake; Moose River. The chain begins near Old Forge and ends before it reaches Raquette Lake. It is known as the paddling capital of the Adirondacks because there are so many different places to put in.

If you don’t have your own canoes you can rent all types of paddling equipment from Mountainman Outdoor Supply. They will even give you a shuttle ride to the river. (link)

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s (NFCT) southern terminus is in Old Forge, NY. The NFCT is over 700 miles connecting the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine comprising different levels of water including flat water, swift water, and whitewater.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting on the Moose River in Old Forge is very exciting, especially in April when the snow melts turn the river into a class V thrill experience.

For three weeks each spring only the best guides are allowed to take rafters down this 13 mile stretch of class V rapids, which features massive drops and icy cold water. After a long winter of waiting, it’s an exhilarating time for anyone who loves outdoor adventure activities.

After April and throughout the summer, the water drops to slow-moving Class III rapids making it ideal for families. Slower moving waters allow more time for relaxing and some water horsing around! Also, enjoy the beautiful scenery within this 100 ft deep canyon that you’ve never seen before in your life!

Hiking

Hiking in Old Forge New York can be enjoyed by everyone. There are all levels of hikes from easy hikes that you can do with your kids to challenges that only the avid hiker should consider.

The most famous hike in Old Forge is Bald Mountain Fire Tower. It’s an intermediate 30-minute hike to the fire tower. You can climb the tower for beautiful views (the very top is closed). It is a great way to get some fresh air, take in the spectacular views of the Adirondacks.

For more hiking in Old Forge as well as other areas in the Central Adirondacksincluding Inlet and Raquette Lake, see our blog post Hiking the Central Adirondacks.

Snowmobiling

If you’re looking to experience the best snowmobiling New York has to offer, then check out Old Forge! The trails are perfectly groomed daily for your safety and there are over 240 miles of them.

Snowmobilers love this place because it connects with all major trail systems in Central and Upstate New York giving access to hundreds of more miles of trails.

You will need a permit for the Town of Webb to ride the trails in the area. This permit can be obtained online at Old Forge NY (link). Permits cost $80 per snowmobile. Trail maps are available at the visitor’s center.

Skiing in Old Forge

Come play in the snow at the Old Forge’s ski resort of McCauley Mountain. With great skiing for all levels of skiers, there is something here for everyone. Whether you are looking to ski with the family or take on challenging terrain with friends, McCauley has it all!

There are 21 trails available for your skiing pleasure with vertical drops of a little over 600 feet. For your convenience, there is a double chairlift, rope tows, and T-bar tows.

With an average snowfall of over 250+ inches and snowmaking on about 65% of its trails, McCauley is a “big mountain” ski resort without those long lift lines & high ticket prices.

Bicycling

There is 2 major area to bike in Old Forge. For easy biking, there is the TOBIE Trail and if you are looking for a mountain biking experience McCauley Mountain Ski Resort has you covered.

TOBIE Trail

The TOBIE trail is 16 miles long (one way) and runs from Thendara to Inlet going through the towns of Thendara, Old Forge, Big Moose, Inlet, and Eagle Bay. It is a multi-use recreation path that can be used by cyclists, runners, or walkers.

The trail is a perfect trail for biking if you are looking to get in some exercise and experience the beauty of Old Forge. It goes through wooded areas, follows rivers, ponds, and has spectacular views throughout the ride. The TOBIE Trail can be accessed from several points including:

Thendara – Adirondack Scenic Railroad Station

Big Moose – Big Moose Station

Old Forge – North Street at the Village Green

Inlet – Arrowhead Park

Eagle Bay Welcome Center

McCauley Mountain Biking

McCauley Mountain offers over 15 miles of mountain biking trails for all skill levels.

There are single tracks, some of which are narrow and rocky, as well as technical, machine-built flow trails with large berms, rollers and jumps for intermediate and advanced riders. There are also multi-use (hike/bike) trails. These trails have a total descent of about 2100 ft and vertical drops up to 600 ft.

Must-See Attractions in Old Forge

Enchanted Forest/Water Safari

New York’s largest water park is right here in the Central Adirondacks in Old Forge NY. Enchanted Forest has over 50 rides including water and amusement park rides. There are also shows and exhibits to enjoy with your family, friends or even by yourself!

The Water Safari features over 20 water rides that attract thrill-seekers from all around including the Amazon which is a family tube ride through the jungle, numerous slide rides, wave pools, lazy rivers, kiddie play areas & so much more.

If you’re not into water rides, the amusement park has more than enough rides for you to enjoy. Try your hand at some bumper cars, round-up, the train, or even a ride on the Ferris wheel!

Calypso’s Cover

Calypso Cove is fun for the whole family. They have go-karts and they even sponsor an annual charity go-cart race every September. There are several courses for adults (age 13+) which have hills, bridges, and places where you can go fast. There is also a kiddie go-cart track for children 12 and under.

If you want the thrill of ziplining, Calypso Cove has you covered. You can go up to 21 mph on their 300 ft course. You can even race your friends!

If mini-golf course, batting cages, rock-climbing wall or bumper boats are more you style you can also do that too.

McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift

photo courtesy of experience Old Forge.com

The McCauley Mountain Scenic Chairlift is a seasonal attraction in the village of Old Forge in Herkimer County, New York. The chairlift is a fun and exciting way to see all that Old Forge has to offer without hiking up mountains or walking down trails. It’s also perfect for those who have young children or anyone else who may not be able to hike through rough terrain but still want this unique experience.

On a clear day, you will be able to see Whiteface Mountain and Mount Marcy.

It runs from late June until Columbus Day every year so there is plenty of time for you and your family to enjoy. Ticket prices are $6 for adults, juniors (6 10 16), and seniors and active military $5. Children 6 and under are free.

Adirondacks Scenic Railroad

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is a fun and scenic excursion. The train takes you through the beautiful Adirondacks wilderness, along rivers, over trestles, and past beaver ponds. You will see vegetation that changes with the seasons as well as bears in their natural habitat.

The trip is about 90 minutes long, which includes a 15 minute stop in the quaint village of Big Moose. The train runs from May to October every year and tickets are around $19 for adults, seniors (62+) & military are $17. Children 3 to 12 are $13 and 2 and under are free. are free.

Railbikes are the new thing and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad offers railbike tours along the scenic rail line north of the Thendara station. Experience this newest adventure of pedaling at your own pace on the railroad tracks. Tickets sell out fast and go on sale on March 1st. Trips begin at the beginning of May and go through October.

View Art & Cultural Center

The View has been a performing art center for over 50 years located in a 28000 building. Its mission is to provide a community center for all to enjoy the arts, culture, and outdoor activities. They have art galleries, music venues, and workshops available year-round.

Check out their schedule online to see their latest exhibits and performances.

Goodsell Museum

Want to learn about the history of the Adirondacks, the Goodsell Museum has exhibits and photos describing the life of the early Adirondacks period. They also provide historic walking tours and you can learn about the local traditions and history of the area.

The Forest Industries Exhibit Hall

Want to learn all about wood from the forest what is made from it, well visit the Forest Industries Exhibit Hall, Here you can find out all about forest management as well as see over 5000 products made out of wood.

Moose River Farm

The Moose River Farm is owned by an Old Forge school teacher who has written several books about farming. They are famous for their llama treks that are 45 minutes long and come with a tour of the farm. The total tour takes 1.5 hours and costs $25 per person. Tours must be arranged in advance and usually sell out 4 to 6 weeks in advance, so book early.

Llama treks are not recommended for kids under 8 but you can do a shorten llama trek for the kids and also includes a farm tour for $15.

The Strand Theater, Old Forge, NY

The Strand Theater, located in the heart of downtown Old Forge, is one of the last independent movie theaters in New York. It features an eclectic mix of new and old films as well as first-run movies not yet shown elsewhere. The theater has been a vital part of this community for over 60 years and continues to thrive thanks to the dedication of its volunteer board and the support of local patrons.

Fulton Chain Craft Brewery

One of the best things to do in Old Forge is visiting the Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. Originally, this brewery was located in Northville, New York but when they outgrew their space and needed more room for expansion, they moved right into town at The Pointe. They have 12 unique beers on tap with a few guest taps from other breweries. They also have a large number of cans and bottles for sale, as well as kombucha!

Fulton Chain Craft Brewery is the perfect place to stop after visiting the Fulton chain or hiking in one of its many forests. The brewery has an on-site restaurant with delicious food that will make you glad you stopped at their pub!

Check out Fulton Chain Craft Brewery on Main Street for a great time in Old Forge!

The Old Forge General Store 

photo courtesy of flickr.com

For over 100 years and owned by 4 generations, the Old Forge General Stone is a must-see when visiting Old Forge. With 3 floors of merchandise and everything that you can imagine is in this store. Its old fashion charm lives on today from the moment you step into the store.

From the fishing and camping department to canning and locally made Adirondack food products and well as chairs you won’t be disappointed. Stop by and pick up a souvenir and take a look around. I promise you you will find the thing that you are looking for.

Festivals & Annual Events in Old Forge, NY

Annual Winter Carnival Weekend (2nd weekend in February)

Old Forge is a winter paradise and this festival celebrates winter with cardboard sled races, ski derby, live music a parade on Main Street. End your night with diner and dancing as well as a fireworks display over the mountain.

Snofest (First full weekend in March)

Sponsored by CCA this event gives you an opportunity to preview next year’s snowmobile s and gear. There is entertainment, raffles, and more.

Annual St. Paddy’s Parade (Friday before St Patrick’s Day)

This is a much different parade than you will see in NYC and is fun and unusual as it features synchronized snowplows, wacky grocery carts, and homemade floats.

Paddlefest (Mid May)

This is a big festival in the area as it’s New York State’s largest on-water canoe and kayak expo. The event consists of boat demos, lectures, and actual testing of these boats by you if you desire. This event is sponsored by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company.

Old Forge Pond

Memorial Day Celebration (Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend)

Sponsored by CAA, this event has a kids fishing derby at the town lake as well as fishing seminars, instructions, and awards. There is live music at the lake as well as a fireworks display at night.

Annual Classic Car Parade & Show (Saturday of Father’s Day Weekend)

This is a fun day looking at all the classic cars. The event also has a swap meeting addition to other kinds of vendors. Prizes are given for best in show and more.

Annual Father’s Day Frog Jumping Contest (Sunday of Father;’s Day Weekend)

A different kind of Father’s Day fun at the lakefront. Children get to bring their frogs and win prizes for longest jumping and other prizes and fathers get to wear their favorite outrageous and funny ties.

Fourth of July Celebration (July 4th)

Fireworks and live music at Old Forge Pond. There is also the Forge Festival of Arts & Crafts on July 4th. This event takes place at the Adirondack Bank parking lot every year.

Antique Wooden Boat Show & Fulton Chain Rendezvousm (2nd Saturday in July)

Bring your wooden boat this event is sponsored by the Adirondack Chapter of Antique & Classic Boat Society and the CAA.

Annual Antique Show (Forth Weekend in July)

The Old Forge Antiques Show is a popular event that takes place in July at the Arts Center, located in Old Forge New York. Hundreds of visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region flock here for antique furniture, porcelain pottery china, and glass as well as antiques lighting rugs sterling memorabilia ephemera – you won’t want to miss it!

Old Forge Half/Full Marathon & 5K

The weekend after labor day is marathon weekend in Old Forge. Sponsored by the Willow Heath Center.

Old Forge Labor Day Celebration & Car Raffle (Labor Day Weeknd)

The town of Old Forge has an annual fundraiser this weekend with a raffle with cash prizes and a new car. The day ends with a fireworks display over the pond in the center of town.

Annual 90 Mile Canoe Classis

Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge, NY

The second weekend in September is the canoe classic where you will be able to participate or watch the canoe races with people coming from all over. The race is 3 days and begins in Old Forge on Friday, starts at Long Lake on Saturday, and ends at Saranac Lake on Sunday. I’ve been there canoe weekend and it’s fun to watch as they take the canoes from lake to lake.

Adirondack Mountain Bike Festival (1st weekend in October)

This is another fun festival in Old Forge where there are all levels of mountain bike races as well as vendors, food, and live musical entertainment.

Hallowed Forge Pumpkin Party (weekend before Halloween)

Halloween and fall-themed activities throughout the Old Forge Community are fun for all ages.

Adirondack Christmas on Main Street (Thanksgiving Weekend)

Christmas event in the Adirondacks with shopping, horse and carriage rides, a Christmas parade, and tree lighting along with a visit from Santa. Fun for the whole family.

Snodeo (1st Weekend after Hunting Season ends)

A huge snowmobile event where there are snowmobile races, raffles, and all the latest equipment and gear is available to see and purchase.

Restaurants in Old Forge, New York

The town of Old Forge offers a number of dining options, including:

photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com

Billy’s Italian American Restaurant, 3047 State Highway 28, Old Forge, NY

Billy’s is an Italian food restaurant in Old Forge. They also have a menu that includes American cuisine. The prices are reasonable, and the food is filling. I would recommend anyone who likes Italian to come to check this place out.

At the present time, Billy’s is only open for take-out and only on certain days of the week due to staff issues. Please call 315-369-2001 for information.

Stickers, 3132 Main Street, Old Forge, NY

Stickers specialize in sandwiches, pizza, and burgers with a full bar. The food is good and it’s worth a visit when visiting Old Forge.

Walt’s Diner, 3047 Main Street, Old Forge, NY

Walt’s serves breakfast (6 am to noon) and lunch (noon to 3 pm) every day except Tuesday (closed). They are also open from 4 to 8 pm on Fridays serving a limited menu but is known for their famous fish fry.

At Walt’s, you have a choice of eating inside or outside or everything is available for take-out. Just call 315-369-2582 and place your order for the time you want to pick it up.

Adirondacks Hot Dogs, 3169 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

Serving the best hot dogs in the Adirondacks but they also have burgers, chicken, and wraps. Opens daily in summer and Friday to Mondays the rest of the year.

Tony Harper’s Pizza and Clam Snack, 3062 Main Street, Old Forge, NY

Opened 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm serving a full menu and a full bar including micro-brews. It’s the best homemade pizza in town but also known for its clams, wings, and cheesesteak.

Mountainside Smokehouse & Grill, 5074 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

This family-run restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as take-out. Smoking their meat fresh for you with homemade BBQ sauces. Call to see when they are open since times and days vary (315-357-4371).

Come in for Sunday brunch weekly from 10 am to 2 pm. Check for their daily specials too.

Places to Stay in Old Forge, NY

There are plenty of places to stay in Old Forge whether you’re looking for a cabin or want to rent a condo on Main Street or get more secluded at one of our many lakeside resorts, we have options that will meet all needs! If it’s peace and quiet that you want, there are plenty of places to hide away–even in the summer. If it’s camping that sounds good to you, we have an abundance of options for those too! Here are some favorites:

Old Forge Family Campground & RV Park, 3347 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

If you’re looking for a family campground that offers plenty of activities for kids then this one’s perfect. There are many on-site activities that are exciting for everyone of all ages. They have room for large groups too so bring the whole family!

The campground, which is one of my favorites, has 400 sites including tent sites and RV sites with full hookups. They also offer 1 room camping cabins as well as 2 bedroom cottages with full kitchens and baths. In addition, you can also have rental trailers if you want to experience what camping is all about without owning your own trailer.

The campground is located on Lake Serene and there are paddle boats and canoes to rent. You will totally enjoy all 130 acres of this campground. In season they have a free shuttle bus to Enchanted Forest Water Safari. There is also a camp store and Camp Cafe, wifi, propane and gas, camping kitchens for tenters, and bathrooms and shower houses as well as 4 laundry facilities.

Nicks Lake Camping, 278 Bisbt Road, Old Forge, NY

Nicks Lake Campground offers 112 sites located in the Black River Wild Forest. It has a large beach with lifeguards and more than 5 miles of hiking trails. The lake is shallow and great for paddling as well as fishing, so don’t forget your fishing poles. (NYS license required).

Pine Knoll Lodge & Cabins, 123 S. Shore Road, Old Forge, NY

Pine Knoll is a hidden gem in the Adirondacks. It’s not the closest to many of the activities and attractions of Old Forge but it’s close enough and offers an escape from the hustle and bustle. The nicest time of year to visit Pine Knoll Lodge & Cabins is when you can enjoy all their amenities including heated pools, sauna, hot tubs, outdoor pool, tennis courts, fitness center, BBQ/picnic areas, summer entertainment program with live music Thursdays through Sundays in July and August.

The downstairs efficiency cabins are perfect for families with children since they have bunk beds in each cabin.

Adirondacks Vacation Homes, 2973 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

Want to rent a vacation home for your next trip to Old Forge, Adirondacks Vacation Homes offer over 100 units for rent. With over 30 years of experience in the area, they will find the perfect place to fit your needs and budget.

Great Pines, 4920 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

Located right on Fourth Lake, this quaint lodge is not only overlooking the lake but also the mountains. You can stay in the courtyard rooms which have sliding glass doors walking out to the pool. There is fine and casual dining and they also cater weddings.

Adirondacks Lodge Old Forge, 2752 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

Rustic lodge (rooms) located near Enchanted Water Safari and McCauley Mountain offering an indoor pool, hot tub and has BBQs for your convenience. Breakfast is also included with your stay.

Clark’s Beach Motel, 3124 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY

This affordable hotel is clean and right on the Old Forge Pond in the center of town. It offers simple rooms and an indoor pool. It’s the perfect place to stay on a budget. It’s close enough to all of our great shops, restaurants, and attractions that you won’t have any problem at all finding something fun to do!

Moose River House Bed & Breakfast, 124 Birch Street, Old Forge, NY

Bed and Breakfast right on the Moose River with views of the river and mountains. Beautiful setting that will make your vacation feel like a dream. Also comes with comfortable beds and a delicious breakfast. What more can you want for your Adirondacks stay.

Conclusion

The Adirondacks offer something for everyone, from adventure seekers to families with kids. With the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge makes a great vacation for paddlers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts including great white water rafting as well as mountain biking. In winter there is skiing and snowmobiling.

Let’s not forget about the family entertainment of Enchanted Forest Water Safari and Calypso’s Cove as well as a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad you will not run out of things to do while visiting Old Forge, New York.

In addition to great places to stay and many restaurants and festivals to choose from this is a must-do place to visit for an unforgettable vacation!

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