Home of the High Peaks, Keene is a mecca for hikers and other visitors who wish to experience the unspoiled beauty of the Adirondack Mountains. There are hundreds of trails, not the least of which leads to the summit of Mount Marcy, the highest mountain in New York state at 5,344 feet. Camping, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are among the winter activities. In summer, the incredible Ausable River provides great trout fishing, secluded swimming holes and spectacular waterfalls. In the winter, ice skating is available at the Keene Community Center.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
The 2013 Adirondack International Mountainfest will be held Jan. 18-20 at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley.
(Enterprise file photo —Mike Lynch)
For those who enjoy the outdoors in the winter, the Lake Road to Ausable Lakes Trail provides a wonderful skiing experience. For the more adventurous, the High Peaks trails can be accessed by snowshoes and backcountry skis.
Rock and ice climbing
The Keene/Keene Valley region is well known for its variety of rock and ice climbing opportunities. Favorite crags include the Spider's Web, and the popular Beer Walls. Climbers can pick up a copy of Don Mellor's "Guidebook to Climbing in the Adirondacks" at any nearby outdoor store, and they can hire a New York state licensed guide to show them some of the best rock climbing in the Northeast.
Adirondack International Mountainfest
The annual Adirondack Mountaineering Festival is usually held on a weekend in January in Keene Valley. Hosted by the Mountaineer on Route 73, the event is a celebration of mountaineering that includes a variety of ice climbing and mountaineering clinics, slide shows and demos. For more information, contact the Mountaineer at (518) 576-2281 or online at www.mountaineer.com. Call for times and dates.
Adirondack Backcountry Skifest
The annual Adirondack Backcountry Skifest is usually held the first weekend in March. For more information, including times and dates, contact the Mountaineer at (518) 576-2281 or online at www.mountaineer.com.
Jackrabbit Ski Trail
Along the 24-mile section from Saranac Lake to Keene, the Jackrabbit Trail traverses a railroad right of way, 18 separate parcels of private land, one municipally owned golf course and six separate parcels of Forest Preserve in two different classifications.
Of the 18 private landowners, one is a private foundation, two are clubs, five are tourist-related businesses, two are real estate developments and the rest are individual residential lots - most with homes on the lot.
To ski the trail, one need only find a map of the Jackrabbit Trail (available at area chambers of commerce and sport shops) and pick an appropriate section to ski.
On private land sections one cannot assume that it is permissible to leave the route of the trail. In addition to maintaining the Jackrabbit Trail, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council also provides up-to-date ski conditions via phone at (518) 523-1365 and on the Internet in the cross-country skiing section of the www.lakeplacid.com Web site.
Those who would like to help with maintaining the Jackrabbit Trail are encouraged to join ASTC. Members receive regular newsletters reporting on the progress of trail construction along with notices of volunteer opportunities to work on the trail.
Further information is available at the above number or can be obtained by writing ASTC at: P.O. Box 834, Lake Placid, NY 12946.