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Upstate New York Is A Snowmobiler’s Paradise

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2021-01-06 07:16:00

It’s no exaggeration to say that in the winter, Upstate New York becomes one of the snowiest playgrounds you’ll find in the country, outside Alaska. Thanks to winter air blowing across the Great Lakes, much of the Western and Central regions of the state, as well as the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau, can see snow totals that make even other Northeastern states look downright tropical in comparison. For some, this brings on a serious case of cabin fever. But Upstate New York is a cold-weather paradise for those who enjoy playing in the powder—and those who want to don their winter gear and hop aboard a snowmobile to do so have long come from hundreds of miles away to take advantage of this winter wonderland.

There are thousands of miles of snowmobile trails across Upstate New York, but two of the most popular areas are Tug Hill and the Adirondacks. The Central Adirondack town of Old Forge routinely gets upwards of 170 inches of the white stuff in a winter—that’s more than 14 feet—earning it the title of “Snowmobile Capital of the Northeast.” The Old Forge area is home to a whopping 500 miles of snowmobile trails, and a team of dedicated trail groomers goes out twice a day during peak season to make sure they’re in prime condition. The nearby Moose River Plains Wilderness Area and Mitchell Ponds are also approved for snowmobiling. In case all that is somehow not enough, they also loop into other trail systems to connect all across Upstate New York and even into Canada. And if you don’t have a sled but want to ride anyway, don’t worry: You can rent one at various places around and outside of town. Local hotels, motels and vacation rentals provide a great place to rest for the night; bars, restaurants, and other watering holes offer a chance to come in out of the cold and warm up; and visiting the local art center, the historic movie theater, or shopping along the quaint and historic main street is also a good off-trail bet to fill an afternoon.

Just a little further to the west, between the Adirondacks, Central New York, and the Great Lakes, lies the Tug Hill Plateau, which can see even more powder in the winter than Old Forge. The area is famous for regularly having of the heaviest snowfall in the state—on average, more than 200 inches per winter-- and frequently is one of the snowiest areas in the country, thanks to its proximity to Lake Ontario and the lake effect snow bands that billow off of it throughout the season. The area is wooded and wild in places, open and expansive in others, but one thing is for sure: snowmobilers love it. That’s because Tug Hill is home to thousands of miles of snowmobile trails, with dedicated groomers and plenty of sled enthusiasts who make it their personal mission to document trail conditions and spread the word on where the good powder is. There are tons of small villages and towns dotted throughout the Tug Hill Plateau, which spans across parts of four Upstate counties, and many have restaurants, lodging and other amenities for traveling snowmobilers this time of year.

Whichever area you decide to explore first, just be sure to ride safely and have a great time blasting through the winter wonderlands of Upstate New York this season!

Snowmobiling at sunset photo credit creative commons
Cross lake view photo credit David Kosmayer
Snowmobiling uphill photo credit Timo Newton Sims
View from snowmobile seat photo credit David Kosmayer

posted at: 2021-01-06 07:16:00, last updated: 2021-04-06 15:59:30

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