I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been much of a snowmobiler. Sure, I rode occasionally growing up, but it was never my #1 choice for a winter day. However, a few years ago, my now husband bought a sled and started to show me the world. Having explored the Adirondack woods on skis, winter trails were no stranger to me, but there was something out there on those snowmobile trails that sang a little different tune. In Tupper Lake, snowmobiling is fantastic, so I recently asked my husband what snowmobilers would want to read in a story about snowmobiling here. He said three things: where to get gas, where to get food along the way, and how to get from Point A to Point B. To be clear, I can write about all those things, but snowmobiling in Tupper Lake is so much more. This is not your average snowmobile town.
*Snowmobile trails are currently closed for the 2021/2022 season due to lack of snow and unsafe conditions. Please check with local snowmobile clubs for updated trail conditions.
Okay, okay. We can cover the basics. Whether the snow is here and the riding is good or you're planning your next winter vacation as you sit poolside, here's what you need to know about snowmobiling in Tupper Lake.
Fuel is understandably important, so much so that I’m covering it first. After all, how are you supposed to ride without gas!? There are 4 main gas stations conveniently located near trails: Stewart’s and Mobil in Tupper Lake; Seveys Point in Childwold; and Charlie’s Inn in Lake Clear. The trail network in and around Tupper Lake is extensive, but you don’t need to worry, because the gas stations located near the trails allow you to spend more time out riding instead of searching for fuel.
Speaking of the trail network, it’s possible to ride just about anywhere in the Adirondacks using Tupper Lake as a home base. Recently, the old railroad tracks were removed on C7, a primary snowmobile corridor that traverses the region. This means that it’s smooth sailing from Tupper Lake all the way to Lake Placid! Branching off of C7 are many, many other routes: S70, near Upper Saranac Lake; a secondary trail that goes right through town; S88, which connects trails to those near Cranberry Lake; and S79, a direct route from Tupper Lake to the popular pitstop at Seveys Point. Head north out of Tupper and you’ll find Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Malone. Head southwest, you’ll find Cranberry Lake, Childwold, Colton, and could even reach Old Forge or Tug Hill if you wanted. (My favorite is the trail through Massawepie.)
Your snowmobiling trip from Tupper Lake can be as long or short as you’d like, and there will always be new terrain to explore. Just like you don’t have to worry about finding fuel, food stops are plentiful. The Thirsty Moose is a must-stop if you’re riding through (or it could even be your entire destination!). Main Street Restaurant is right at the intersection of C7 and Main Street, and is a perfect spot to start your day with a hearty breakfast.
Smooth and groomed
There’s a reason the snowmobiling is so good in the Tupper Lake area! That reason is grooming.
Grooming may seem like a trivial job, but it’s incredibly important to maintain the integrity of the trails. The purpose of grooming is twofold: to provide a smooth surface for all riders to enjoy and to help compact snow to create a firm base able to withstand snowmobile traffic/extend snowmobiling opportunities. Decreasing moguls is a top priority. It’s actually a fine art. Just ask anyone from the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club. Creating such a fine trail system involves understanding how the temperature, snow conditions, grooming equipment, and users can all work together. Most grooming is done at night because there is lower traffic and temperatures. If you see a groomer out on the trail, give a friendly wave and yield; groomers have the right of way. They are a dedicated group of volunteers who stay up all night to groom so you can ride smooth trails during the day.
The most effective grooming is adaptable, always adjusting to needs and conditions. In the Tupper Lake area, there are different volunteer groups that maintain trails for us all to enjoy, through trail maintenance and/or grooming. The Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club is one. The Childwold Sno Packers is another. Also in the vicinity of Tupper Lake are: Tri-Lakes Snowmobilers, Cranberry Lake Mountaineers Snowmobile Club, and Sno-Skippers. The respective clubs update their Facebook pages throughout the season to keep riders current on trail conditions and happenings. They are great resources if you are riding in the area or planning a trip!
Plan it out
To better help you plan your trips, download the Adirondacks, USA Snowmobile App. With an interactive map and all the information you need to know to navigate snowy trails and find gas stations, stores, restaurants, and lodging properties, this app is your "one-stop shop" for all things snowmobile! Download the app today on the App Store or get it on Google Play. You can even download information so it can be accessed "offline," something very useful in remote parts of the Adirondacks. Preparation and safety are key. Please remember to ride safe, ride right all winter long. That means watching speeds, being aware of others on the trails, and staying on marked trails.
So, whether you’re going to hit the trails tomorrow or next winter, be sure to ride in Tupper Lake! You’ll find a vast network of trail connections, and when you’re ready to lay off the throttle, comfortable lodging and, best of all (aside from great conditions), a good meal will be waiting for you in town!