You don’t need to visit Colorado to summit mountains. In fact, the Northeast has its own high peaks and outdoor adventure, just outside the big cities. Discover what’s beyond the concrete jungle, explore the beauty of New England and get away from the bustle on this peak-to-peak road trip.
Starting Point: New York City
Okay, so we’ll start with some bustle, though with an unexpected twist. While you won’t find any mountains (or many hills) in New York City, you can, in fact, climb. Located in Long Island City, Queens, NYC Outward Bound offers climbing classes on the tallest outside rock wall in the boroughs — a relatively whopping 60 feet.
Or catch some air with a lesson at Trapeze School New York in Hudson River Park or Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
For something a little more horizontal, take the free ferry over to Staten Island — saying hello to the Statue of Liberty along the way — and trek the 12-mile (19-km) Greenbelt Blue Trail. The hike takes you through lush forest and over the 401-foot Todt Hill, one of the highest points between Maine and Florida.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Driving time: 3 hours, 15 min (165 mi)
Hop on the Taconic State Parkway and way goodbye to the big city. After making a pit stop at Storm King Art Center to see its rambling and magnificent sculpture garden, head north about three hours to Mount Greylock State Reservation in the mountainous Berkshires region of Massachusetts.
At nearly 3,500 feet Mount Greylock is the state’s highest point. A hike or drive to the top takes you through balsam fir and red spruce forest — more characteristic of Canada than New England. From the top you’ll be able to see for up to 90 miles in any direction.
Be sure to spend some time in the towns and hamlets of the Berkshires — shop for antiques, get inspired at the Norman Rockwell Museum, fill up on the Berkshire Cheese Trail, or kayak at Goose Pond Reservation.
North Conway, New Hampshire
Driving time: 4 hours (209 mi)
Next, take NH Route 9 N and enjoy lush forest scenery all the way to North Conway, New Hampshire. Grab your camera and explore the stunning Diana’s Baths Waterfalls and the Kancamagus Highway panoramic route.
Of course, the real gem here is Mount Washington — the Northeast’s highest peak at 6,288.2 feet. Whether you hike or drive to the summit, as you get closer to the top you’ll feel like you’re ascending into the sky. After your natural high, reward yourself with some sips at nearby White Mountain Winery. Just make sure you have a designated driver!
Driving time to Mount Mansfield: 3 hours, 30 min (143 mi)
Get those cameras back out. Your drive to Stowe, Vermont will take you through the gorgeous White Mountain National Forest. When you’re not snapping pics, fuel up for your adventure with stops at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory and Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
You’ll need that energy to climb up steep boulders and traverse dense, sunlit forest to Mount Mansfield’s 4,393-foot summit. For views without the sore feet, drive the Toll Road along the mountain’s summit ridge. From here the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain are in perfect view. Reward yourself with a beer from the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall or stroll through Stowe’s West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park.
Lake Placid, New York
Driving time: 2 hours, 30 min (94 mi)
The final leg of your Northeast road trip takes you back into the Empire State. Located west of Stowe, Lake Placid, New York is home to a rich Olympic history, best explored through attractions like the Olympic Museum and Olympic Center.
Wander the small town and indulge at Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery or Adirondack Chocolates before hiking up Mount Marcy. This peak is the tallest in New York at 5,343 feet. Waterproof shoes are a must as trickling streams often appear underfoot, making for a soothing hike soundtrack. The trees shrink as you approach the summit, where a stunning view of the neighboring peaks awaits.
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.