Nature up close: Welcome to the VIC!
When you visit the Paul Smith's College VIC, a world of outdoor recreation opens before you. And if you want to learn more about Adirondack forests and wetlands, you can take advantage of the VIC’s educational components, which are woven throughout the 3,000-acre property. To get a sense of this, stop by the visitor center’s nature museum and learn a few things about Adirondack ecosystems. You can also ask staff about trail recommendations — they range from wide and easy to narrow and steep — and check out the art gallery and butterfly house before your adventure.
Just past the visitor center, a 25-mile trail network begins. Follow the wide, easy path down to Heron Marsh and relax or birdwatch from one of the viewing platforms. From there, a host of options awaits. Straight leads to a boardwalk over the marsh, while right follows Barnum Brook to the Boreal Life trail, where another boardwalk winds past pitcher plants and bog rosemary to a viewing platform overlooking Barnum Pond.
Longer treks include a loop around Black Pond and a hike up Jenkins Mountain. The former provides a feeling of solitude, the latter ends with an unforgettable view of water and mountains.
Winter at the VIC
All VIC trails are free to use in the summer, but in winter the property becomes a cross-country ski center. For a small day pass fee (season passes are also available), visitors can use snowshoe, backcountry, and groomed cross-country trails. The groomed trails are maintained for both classic and skate skiing, and they take skiers through the variety of habitats on VIC’s property.
The VIC is open daily in summer, and closed Mondays and Tuesdays in winter. Call or check the website for more information.
For more information and opportunities at the VIC click here.
Getting to the VIC
From Tupper Lake, take Route 3 into Saranac Lake, then turn left to follow it as it goes through downtown. At the three-way stop sign, continue straight to take Route 86 west toward Paul Smiths. At the intersection with Route 30, turn right on Route 30 and look for the VIC entrance on the left after about a mile. Parking is just down the road.
Heron Marsh Trail: A 3-mile loop with plenty of viewing platforms and vistas along the way.
Jenkins Mountain Trail: Follow the path for 4.5 miles as it climbs 900 feet to the summit, where outstanding views await.
Woods and Waters Trail: A 3-mile-long trail, one way, over gently rolling terrain and a floating bridge on Heron Marsh.
Boreal Life Trail: An easy, 1-mile loop through a bog-like habitat that includes a long boardwalk.