When you visit Fort Ticonderoga, you are immersing yourself in a place where America made history. Between the fort, the exhibits, and the gardens, you are able to become a part of multiple layers of history. And for you outdoor enthusiasts, our site has even more to offer. Nestled between the Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains, Fort Ticonderoga is a dynamic landscape, ready for exploration! Here is a list of some of the Top Outdoor Activities for you to endeavor on during your visit to our museum campus:
- Explore the Champlain! Canoe or kayak in Lake Champlain, and get an entirely new perspective of the Fort walls and the surrounding landscape. Don’t have your own boat? No problem! You can rent a canoe from us for a day or half-day from May 23 – October 12, 2015. We can give you a brochure that highlights both historical and natural features as you paddle on this beautiful body of water. Explore the shoreline and the mouth of the La Chute River nearby.
*Want a challenge? If you’re an experienced whitewater paddler, bring your kayak to the shoreline of the northern tip of Lake George where it enters into the La Chute River. Continue along the La Chute for 3.5 miles and experience class II-V+ of whitewater until you reach Lake Champlain, just southwest of Fort Ticonderoga. And if you want to take a break, halfway in you will find yourself right in the heart of the town of Ticonderoga, where you can stop for a bite at Libby’s bakery, or at any of the surrounding cuisines. Whitewater rafting and kayaking spots in New York are harder than the national norm, so if you’re not from around here don’t forget that many of the rivers are not very forgiving! Be sure to plan diligently, taking notice to weather conditions and water levels.
*Want a more relaxing experience? Embark on an adventure that you and your family will never forget when you take a boat tour on Lake Champlain aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s touring boat. The 60-foot, 49-passenger tour boat Carillon offers daily tours around the Ticonderoga Peninsula. In 90 minutes you can enjoy centuries of stories that floated across this ancient lake. Set between the Green and Adirondack Mountains, tours on the Carillon explore not only the epic 18th-century military stories, but also the maritime heritage of the 19th and 20th century. From the 1777 American bridge piers to remains of railroads, side-scanning sonar will allow you to literally get a picture of the archaeological wealth that surrounds Ticonderoga.
- Take a hike! Fort Ticonderoga covers nearly 2,000 acres of pristine land in the gateway to the Adirondacks. Trails allow visitors to experience the natural and historic diversity of the landscape. Exploring the site on foot allows for a unique and intimate appreciation for how the land was shaped by the generations who passed before.
*The Carillon Battlefield Trail offers a 1.7 mile loop through one of the most important battlefields in North America. Pick up a trail guide at the Log House and explore where empires clashed to decide the destiny of a continent. The trail begins and ends outside the Log House Welcome Center picnic area. Be sure to pick up a hiking trail guide and Archaeology Quest Scavenger Game card at the Guest Services Desk. Can you find all the clues along the trail? Opening in 2015, the 1756 trail will allow visitors to once again explore the land immediately south of the fort itself. Winding through what once was a small village supporting the fortress above interpretive signage will highlight how this land was used by the French army in 1756. This lightly forested land once held the camp of thousands of French soldiers, militiamen, and Native Americans as well as a veritable factory of brickyards, lime kilns, and bakeries.
*Want a change of scenery? Visit Mount Defiance to witness a birds-eye view of Fort Ticonderoga’s epic military landscape and discover how this summit shaped America’s history! “Mount Defiance: Witness to History” Tour is offered each day at 4pm. The picnic pavilion located at the summit is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy one of America’s most historic landscapes. Whether you hike up the mountain in the historic footsteps of General Burgoyne’s troops or make the easy drive to the top in your car, you’ll savor the spectacular beauty of this remarkable and historic view. A visit to this breathtaking summit is a great way to begin or end your day at Fort Ticonderoga!
*Looking to make your muscles sore? Look to your left then look to your right. We’re surrounded! Take your pick between New York’s majestic Adirondack Mountains or their beautiful neighbors—the Green Mountains of Vermont. If you’re not looking for a long drive, check out Cook Mountain, right in Ticonderoga. The summit of the mountain offers views of Lake George, the Champlain Valley, and Vermont’s Green Mountains. The waterfront offers an entirely other type of terrain for migrating waterfowl.
- Reel ‘em in! Ticonderoga is surrounded by bodies of water, whether you prefer lakes, streams, or ponds. So get your fly fishing gear, bait-casting setup, trolling equipment, or spin casting gear out and find your new favorite fishing spot near our site. Rain or shine, water or ice! Ticonderoga is the chosen destination on Lake Champlain for the best bass fishing around! The Bassmasters chose Lake Champlain as their “Champion’s Choice” site for one of their 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series bass fishing tournaments. The pros know what we’ve known for a long time and that’s that Southern Lake Champlain is a great fishery.
- Turn the wheels! We welcome cyclists here at Fort Ticonderoga. Enjoy a historical experience as you bike through the diverse landscape of our site. But be sure to take a break for an interpretative tour and a bite to eat at America’s Fort Café, located at the Log House Welcome Center!
*Want an extra dose of sweat and history? Take the 17 mile Fort to Fort bike tour that follows the Champlain Bikeway between Crown Point State Historic Site (right before the bridge to Vermont) and Fort Ticonderoga. Traffic is generally minimal. A recommended start/end point is at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center at the bridge. Food, lodging, and parking are available in both Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
*Still not tired?! Cyclists who ride in the Champlain Valley know it has all the right ingredients for a premier bicycle touring destination. The Lake Champlain Bikeways offer a 1,300+ mile network of bicycle routes in the Lake Champlain Valley of Vermont, New York, and Quebec. The network includes a total of 35 loops and tours ranging from 10 to 60 miles in length. For more information on routes, check out the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce web page.
- Take a look at our feathery friends! While a visit to Fort Ticonderoga is usually aimed at understanding American history, the site’s grounds can be excellent for birding. Scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and Baltimore orioles breed in the forests and field edges, as well as a variety of other species. The area is best during spring and fall migration when the brushy edges of the fields and woods can hold large mixed flocks of migrating warblers and other songbirds. Be sure to also keep an eye open for migrating raptors moving through the area in spring and fall. In the southern viewshed of Fort Ticonderoga lies Carillon Point, a 28-acre peninsula rising out of the marshy La Chute River delta. Listed as one of the top bird-watching areas in the Adirondacks by the National Audubon Society, Fort Ticonderoga Marsh provides habitat for more than a dozen species of nesting and migratory birds. So don’t forget your binoculars!
- Get your floaties out! After you’ve spent the day exploring Fort Ticonderoga and indulged in a yummy meal at the Log House Welcome Center, what better way to finish it off than a couple of hours getting some sun at the Ticonderoga beach. Located at the northern end of Lake George, Ticonderoga’s Black Point Public Beach is known for its “million dollar view”. The beach offers a spectacular view of Rogers Rock and the lake. Its natural sand bottom provides a comfortable step, free of rocks, perfect for children and adults alike. And unlike other beaches on Lake George, Black Point Beach offers free, unrestricted parking and beach use.
- Play in the snow! During the winter, Fort Ticonderoga has a variety of engaging workshops, seminars, re-enactments, and other special events to be a part of. As you can imagine, the winter also comes along with quite a bit of snow here. Plan your weekend around one of our exciting events by checking out our calendar, but don’t forget to take advantage of your location! Whether you prefer cross-country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, or ice skating, we’ve got you covered!
*Want to stay local? The Bicentennial Park right here in Ticonderoga is a favorite place for lighted cross country skiing, skating, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. Or, drive a few miles south of Ticonderoga to the town of Hague where you can enjoy 10 km of groomed cross-country trails at Rogers Rock Campground, the perfect place to reminisce on the 1758 Battle on Snowshoes. If you don’t get there until the evening, not a problem! The south loop (approximately 3.2 miles) is lit for night skiing until 10 pm.
- Go vertical! There are well over 250 climbing areas in the Adirondacks, all of which deal a very unique experience from the next. Areas such as Keene Valley and the Cascade Lakes Region offer the largest variety of climbing, allowing a climber to sample massive multi-pitch slab adventures and desperate single-pitch test-pieces within minutes of the parking lot. There are also numerous back-country crags such as Wallface, Gothics, Big Slide, and The Cranberry Lake Region that test climbers’ fortitude, patience, stamina and route-finding skills.