We come from different cities, backgrounds, educations, and professions. The Adirondacks, our love of nature, and a desire to make the outdoors central to our everyday lives brought us together. Sharing that love and sense of place with others inspired the creation of this business.
Guide ADK offers a wide range of guided outdoor experiences for people of all skill levels. Based in New York’s Adirondack region, we guide hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, paddling, mountaineering, skiing and ice climbing for everyone seeking an adventure, from beginners to experienced outdoors people. In addition to active outdoor trips, Guide ADK offers educational and instruction-based services, including Leave No Trace Trainer and Awareness Courses, school and youth group programming, corporate leadership and team-building outings, and wilderness skills education. Whether you are a resident of the Adirondacks or a first-time visitor, we look forward to guiding you through an unforgettable experience in this remarkable setting we call home.
Our mission at Guide ADK is to provide top-tier guiding services that raise the standard for what a guided experience should be. Our guides are certified and educated beyond the basic requirements of the NYS licensed guide program. We are, at a minimum, Wilderness First Aid certified and are trained in Leave No Trace™ to ensure we can lead ethical and sustainable outings.
We believe the joys of nature should be accessible to all who wish to experience them, and are eager to use our privilege and expertise to expand opportunities for others. We find that our own mental health and confidence benefits from time spent in nature and hope to create space for our clients to experience the same.
The Adirondacks is a region of northern New York made up of nearly 6 million acres of managed land. Approximately half is private land while the other half (roughly 2.6 million acres) is publicly held by the State of New York. This land, protected under Article 14 of the State Constitution as Forest Preserve, is generally referred to as the Adirondack Park. The invisible border surrounding the Adirondacks is often called the “blue line.”
At nearly five times the size of Grand Canyon National Park, the Adirondacks is the largest area of managed, protected land in the contiguous 48 states. Vast and unique, it is among the best-protected wilderness areas in the country, if not the world, and it’s public lands are free for the enjoyment of all New Yorkers and visitors to the region.
In addition to large tracts of wild lands, the Adirondacks is home to over 130,000 people living in vibrant communities, towns and villages, and even small cities. Use of all land within the Adirondacks, even that held by private citizens, is overseen by the Adirondack Park Agency.
Perhaps best known for its 46 High Peaks, the Adirondacks is home to so much more, too. There are countless smaller peaks with equally-stunning views, thousands of lakes and ponds, over 1,500 miles of river, diverse plant and animal species – some of which are rare or endangered – and forests worthy of a John Muir quote.
The public lands of the Adirondacks are often referred to as “forever wild.” This stems from Article 14 of the New York State Constitution, which states “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.”
The collective Forest Preserve is broken into many smaller units. Each unit is given a classification such as Wilderness, Wild Forest, Intensive Use, etc. These classifications provide a framework for the activities that are and are not permitted within that unit.
Not all lands used for recreation in the Adirondacks are owned by the State. Some trails and use areas are privately owned with limited public access granted through legal agreements with the State of New York known as Conservation Easements.
The Adirondacks has a long and rich history. From historic Great Camps to entire towns dedicated to curing Tuberculosis, the region has attracted visitors from near and far for centuries. Today, the Adirondacks hosts upwards of 12.4 million visitors each year.
The Adirondacks is not a National Park. It isn’t technically a State Park either. As such, it lacks the formal infrastructure that many have come to expect from managed lands. There is no entrance gate or fee, no open or close times. Few trailheads have flush toilets or even trash cans. Trails are not maintained daily and most are primitive in nature. Some of the most popular hikes don’t even have designated trails.
While use of public lands in the Adirondack is monetarily free, it is not a free-for-all. There are enforceable regulations that dictate acceptable activity on Forest Preserve. These regulations help manage everything from group size to drone use and exist to protect the incredible resources we all share.
The areas where we operate are the ancestral lands of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people and, specifically, the Kahniakehaka (Mohawk) tribe. We at Guide ADK work to acknowledge and respect the traditions of land stewardship that have been practiced on this land for many generations. We also acknowledge the violence, hardship, and marginalization that many Haudenosaunee communities and individuals have experienced and still experience to this day as well as the resilience, skill, and wisdom residing in those communities and individuals. Learn more.