Best Snowshoes for Hiking the Adirondacks in New York

The Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York are home to some of the most challenging and rewarding hikes within the Northeastern United States.

Some of the most scenic destinations and communities such as Lake Placid and Lake George are located within the Adirondacks. Winter is a prime season to visit the region and partake in cold-weather sports, such as snowshoeing.

The terrain of the Adirondack Mountains should not be considered lightly. In fact, New York even has state requirements for using snowshoes in certain areas.

For serious winter hikers, snowshoes are a critical safety item. Mountaineering snowshoes work best for ascents up the higher peaks of the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Mountains also offers recreational activities for all levels and interests. More casual snowshoers can take in the scenic backdrops with abundant options for less grueling hikes.

Our recommendation for best snowshoes for the Adirondacks include the following:

  1. MSR Lightning Ascent
  2. Tubbs Mountaineer
  3. Dion 164 QuickFit Binding/Ice Cleat
  4. Bonus – NeviTREK Adirondack Series

Considerations for Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing in the Adirondacks

High Peaks of the Adirondacks

There are hundreds of peaks within the Adirondack mountain range, but the highest and most challenging form a group known as the “Adirondack 46ers“.

To add an additional challenge, there is a subset of the group called the “Winter Forty-Sixers” who complete hiking all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks during the winter season, defined between December 21 and March 21.

Climbing the high peaks in wintertime is not recommended for beginners. Even intermediate hikers should take care to plan ahead and ensure they have proper safety equipment and knowledge.

Finally, always check local weather conditions before embarking on a snowshoeing adventure.

The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness when snow depths exceed 8 inches.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Some of the noteworthy hikes of the Adirondack High Peaks include Mount Marcy, the highest point in the state of New York at 5,344 feet in elevation.

Mount Skylight is another challenging hike that rewards hikers with stunning views of many other surrounding mountains.

Recreational Snowshoeing within the Adirondacks

Lake Placid has a prominent history as a picturesque winter village. The former site of the Winter Olympic Games promises easy access to winter sports including alpine skiing, snowboarding, and even a bobsled experience.

The community also offers a local guide and trail suggestions nearby the village. Outside of Lake Placid, a great resource is the Visit Adirondacks Snowshoeing Page that has information about other Nordic ski centers and trail systems that snowshoers can utilize in the region.

Best Snowshoes for the Adirondacks

MSR Lightning Ascent

Mountain Safety Research (MSR) is a leading company for quality hiking and mountaineering equipment, including mountaineering snowshoes.

The MSR Lightning Ascent is one of the most recommended snowshoes for winter hikers looking to tackle rugged terrain like the Adirondack 46ers. This product is durable, adjustab and capable of providing traction on the steepest and iciest mountain trails.

As one of the premiere models in the industry, the Lightning Ascent also carries a steeper price tag than many pairs of snowshoes at $349.95. This includes a pair of Modular Flotation tails that can be added for providing more surface area for traversing fresh, light snowfall.

An alternative mountaineeing snowshoe by MSR is the Evo Ascent, which doesn’t include as many features as the Ligthning Ascent but is less expesnive.

Tubbs Mountaineer

Tubbs has a long history as one of the leading U.S. snowshoe brands, and they make a range of products for various conditions.

The Tubbs Mountaineer in particular is well suited for mountain terrain and the backcountry. This snowshoe includes an alumnium frame and carbon steel crampons on the toe and heel.

Climbing uphill and descending downhill are no worry using the Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes.

The Mountaineer retails at $279.95 MSRP.

Dion 164

For those looking to support local business, Dion-NeviTREK is a snowshoe company with products Made in the USA. The company formed as a merger between the Vermont-based Dion brand and the New York-based NeviTREK snowshoes.

Dion, based out of Pownal, VT, is most known for their support and popularity of the snowshoe racing scene. Their Model 164 w/ QuickFit Binding & Ice Cleat snowshoes are another solid option for mountain hiking.

At $240, the Model 164 is a great value. One of the best features of these snowshoes is a heel cleat that can handle the terrain of the Adirondacks. This cleat is Teflon-hardcoated to prevent ice and snow from sticking within the cleat.

NeviTREK has a workshop in Delanson, New York, which is a small village in Schenectady County just outside the Adirondacks. NeviTREK snowshoes are more suited for recreational snowshoeing and trail walking, and are availabe at a lower price point such as the $155 Adirondack Series.