Swimming in the Adirondacks

Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, New York

The warm Adirondack summer is a special treat for outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all ilk. A special treat because this year’s unusually warm summer sun has  done a great job heating up the normally chilly Adirondack lakes to a perfect, yet still refreshing, swimming temperature. As a result, swimming has been delightful.

There is almost nothing more sublime than an invigorating swim in a crisp Adirondack mountain lake after a pine and mossy trail run through the woods. A dip in one of the more than 3,000 Adirondack lakes and ponds after a nice road bike ride also hits the spot, as does a few laps taken after a jump from a canoe or motor boat.

Swimming in the AdirondacksFrom the solitude and quiet reward of remote ponds accessible only after hiking a few miles, to the beautiful public beach at Mirror Lake, there  are plenty of splendid, refreshing and clean places to swim in the Adirondacks.

Swimming in the Adirondacks

Swimming solitude in the Adirondack Mountains.

If you are in the market for a distance swim, the Ironman swim course on Mirror Lake provides a perfect opportunity for a fitness swim, timed or not.

Ironman hopefuls train in Mirror Lake

Ironman hopefuls train in Mirror Lake


Upper Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks

For swimmers who prefer a quieter and less busy workout location, Upper Cascade Lake on State Route 73, between Lake Placid and Keene, is known for its brisk, cold water and long swims. Even in the middle of a hot summer’s day, a plunge into Upper Cascade Lake is an invigorating if not an awakening experience. The Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes are long, narrow, deep lakes, formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. The steep cliffs rising on either side of the lakes keep them shaded most of the day.

Lower Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks

When the water temperature cooperates, a nice destination is a large rock located on the opposite shoreline from the parking area at the Upper Cascade Lake; an easy 700-foot swim.  A swim across the lake is rewarded by a rest on a rock conveniently warmed by the late afternoon’s sun.


  1. Debra pearlman

    I so miss swimming around Mirror Lake, chatting as we swam the distance. The hiking in the Daks is something I miss too. Thanks for the lovely reminder of the beauty of upstate New York.

  2. Donna Gallagher

    I want to do something memorable and something I enjoy. I would like to swim across as many lakes as possible in the Adirondacks. The lakes would have to be open to swimmers and allow a kayak to accompany the swimmer/s. If anyone has suggestions as to which lakes would be good for this I would love to hear from them. So far on my list is Lake Titus and Mirror Lake.

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