From experiencing Adirondack fall foliage from the seat of a helicopter to an adrenaline-packed “escape” from a historic war fort, when the temps in Lake George cool down, the destination heats up.

October through January is the time when Lake George takes a collective breath to relax, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. This Adirondack destination is home to plenty – with not a long line in sight. Take in the beauty of the area through leaf peeping, snowshoeing, and all manner of events that get people outside enjoying the crisp northern air.

Activities & Attractions

Aerial of the Adirondacks in Autumn

Leaf Peep like Never Before

Driving down the winding routes of the Adirondacks is practically a national pastime come fall. And while there are plenty of gorgeous drives and hikes, consider leaf peeping from a new perspective: above. North Country Heli-flite out of Fort Ann (15 miles east of the southernmost tip of Lake George) offers two-hour tours above the Adirondacks that are rife with photography potential as you cruise over lakes and mountains from the safety and comfort of a Robinson R-44.

Head to a Haunt

Every Saturday and Sunday, from September 28 until October 27, Six Flags in Queensbury is taken over by ghouls and zombies for the annual Fright Fest. The park is broken down into three themed “scare zones” like Skull Manor, Carnevil, and Nightmare at Crackaxle Canyon. Actors in costumes roam the grounds, while the rides receive new season-appropriate branding with names like the Giant Wheel of Insect Infestation and the Condor Cthulhu Surprise.

Stroll Through a Christmas Scene

Glens Falls (10 miles south of the village of Lake George) becomes a vision of the North Pole every December during Hometown Holidays when the downtown is reimagined with sleigh rides taking over the streets. Shoppers float from shop to shop, taking in deals and sipping hot chocolate while rubbing elbows with carolers and costumed characters including Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their happy elf helpers.

Snowshoe Your Heart Out

Located just outside of Glens Falls, Cole’s Woods was home to the first lighted cross-country ski trails in North America, when they premiered in December of 1971. The historic site still boasts a full seven kilometers of trails that are lovingly maintained through volunteer efforts by Friends of Cole’s Woods and lead through woodlands and up hills to reveal excellent views of the Adirondacks and the nearly-frozen lakes below.

The Sagamore Resort Glacier Ice Bar

Sip on the Coolest Drinks Around

For two weekends each January, The Sagamore Resort transforms 18,000 pounds of crystal-clear ice into one of the hottest (and coolest) lounges in the Adirondacks. Aptly named the Glacier Ice Bar and Lounge, here, guests can sip on the coldest cocktails around in one of the most unique settings (in previous years, there was even a Volkswagen bus for visitors to get behind the wheel and take a spin). Dates for 2020 icy extravaganza are Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25, followed by Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1.

Festivals & Events

Which Oktoberfest is Best for You

Lake George Village Oktoberfest, 10/10–13

This three-day-long autumnal celebration features music, food, and a traditional Bier Garden schlepping local brews by Adirondack Brewery.

Fort By Firelight, 10/11

Lake George’s Fort William Henry Museum brings the escape room to a whole new level with this annual event. For one night only, groups are led through the fort in darkness and surrounded by the sound of cannon and musket fire. Groups try to evade invaders and escape the fort. There are only a limited number of spots, so register early!

Gore Mountain Harvest Fest, 10/12–13

In North Creek, just a half-hour drive from The Sagamore Resort, Gore Mountain is turned into a festive afternoon for the whole family. There is live music, guided hikes, and gondola rides up the mountain with spectacular views of the Adirondacks in full color. At the base of the mountain, find pony rides, a petting zoo, and a pumpkin patch full of family-friendly games as well as a birds-of-prey demonstration.

LARAC Fall Arts Festival, November (exact date still to be determined)

Right down the road in Queensbury, 75 artists come together for this arts festival to display and sell their photography, paintings, pottery, woodworking, and more.

New Year’s 12/31–1/1

Begin the celebration with a party at King Neptune’s and fireworks over Lake George as the ball drops in New York City. The next morning, start the new year right with an hour-and-a-half brunch cruise around the lake.

Funky Ice Fest

Funky Ice Fest 1/24–25 & 1/31–2/1

This frozen fest takes over two weekends at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery in the village of Lake George with a funky gallery of hand-carved and interactive ice sculptures.

Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort