Beyond Long Island’s beaches and forests (and shopping malls), there are plenty of natural wonders in the upstate – some challenging, some just plain thrilling – to add to your to-do list. To do. Here are five spots that will get your adrenaline pumping and enjoy the great outdoors.
CLIMB IT: CONQUEST COURSE AT THE TYROLINE PARK
A high ropes course experience located on top of a mountain, Mountain Ridge Adventure has seven courses, and some of the obstacles you will encounter are not what one might expect to see when navigating such aerial paths – such as a grand piano hoisted 50 feet off the ground or a 50 foot obstacle long. The intention is to create an invigorating getaway, but there are options for guests of all skill levels. The facility also includes a zipline park, which includes a zipline trip over a 500-foot-long gorge. A $55 “Treetop Pass” (must be at least 10 years old and over 54 inches tall) includes three hours of access to the treetop courses and zipline park; two hours of ziplining just (must also be at least 10 and over 54 inches) is $50, and kids 6 and up (at least 48 inches tall) can try the $40 “Starter Pass,” which includes two hours on two of the park’s aerial trails (minors 11 and under must be accompanied by an adult).
NEWS 300 Weatherwax Road, Schenectady; 518-227-1058, mountainridgeadventure.com
SPELUNK IT: EXPLORE NEW YORK’S FAMOUS CAVE
Considered the largest natural cave in the Northeast and the second most visited natural attraction in NYS (after Niagara Falls), Howe Caverns requires no additional equipment to visit its depths, which lie 156 feet underground. The company behind the caves will focus on their traditional 90-minute guided tour, which actually takes place on a boat gliding along an underground lake. A candle-lit lantern tour for two is also available on Saturdays; offer includes one night for two at the on-site cavern motel (price from April 1 to June 16 starts at $172). Traditional tours are $25, ages 5-12 $15, children 4 and under are free.
NEWS 255 Discovery Drive, Howes Cave; 518-296-8900, howecaverns.com
RIDE IT: TAKE A SWIRL AND RAPIDS
the Niagara Gorge is a canyon created by the Niagara River, which runs along the Canada-US border and flows at over 40 mph in some places. Also located in the throat are the Niagara Tourbillon – which is usually as deep as 125 feet – and the Devil’s Hole Rapids, said to be rated Class V or “expert” on the International Scale of River Difficulty (americanwhitewater.org). Definitely not a place for an average paddle, but Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours offer a pair of 45-minute round-trip Niagara Gorge excursions that pass through Class V rapids at Devil’s Hole and then Niagara Whirlpool. Guests can ride the “Wet Jet” – an open boat in which everyone gets totally soaked – or the “Freedom Jet”, an enclosed vessel that keeps passengers dry. Scheduled to open its season May 1 (subject to change due to weather and ice flow), rates are $64.95, children ages 6-12 are $39.95 $, but keep in mind that there is a minimum height requirement of 40 inches for the covered boat and 44 inches for the Wet Jet.
NEWS 115 S. Water Street, Lewiston; 1-888-438-4444, whirlpooljet.com.
HIKING: CLIMBING TO THE HIGHEST POINT IN NYS
At 5,344 feet above sea level, Mount Marcy is the highest point in New York State – and it’s also one of the 46 mountains in Adirondack Park (visitadirondacks.com). the High Peaks Mountain Guides company, based in Lake Placid, offers guided hikes. Participants bring the proper gear, which ranges from appropriate clothing to suggestions like insect repellent and even swimsuits (if you come across a swimming hole). Prices for a guided Mount Marcy hike start at $500 for 1-2 people.
NEWS 2733 Main Street, Lake Placid; 518-523-3764, hpmountainguides.com
FISH IT: CATCHING A FISH ON A BIG LAKE
To explore lake ontario, a great place to fish, as trout and salmon are among the possibilities. At 300 km long and 85 km wide, it is a large body of water, and you can find fishing charters offering excursions. One option would be Cohomotion charters, and his boat, the Coho Motion. Based in Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario, it is equipped with fish tracking technology to capture a catch, and all necessary fishing gear is provided. free fish cleaning is offered. (Anglers must have a NYS fishing license to participate and bring necessary or preferred food, drink and weather protection.) Current rates start at $750 per person for two people for two trips of seven hours over two days; per person rates drop for larger groups. Cruises around Sodus Bay are also available for $250 per couple, $350 for two couples, $300 for three people.
NEWS 6615 Lake Bluff Road, North Rose; 585-704-8765, cohomotion.com