Experience One of the Historic Great Camps in the Adirondack Wilderness
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Travel Back to the Era of the Great Camps at This Adirondack Lodge

This New York retreat captures the best parts of nostalgic Adirondack camps.

Written by Karen Marley

Photo: Courtesy Garnet Hill Lodge
There are camps and then there are Great Camps. The former invokes visions of campfires and sleeping bags against a soundtrack of crickets, streams, and animals scuttling in the dark. As minimalistic affairs, they remove you from the pressures of modern life. Great Camps, however, are another breed.
From the late 1800s through the 1930s, New York’s wealthiest families built extravagant compounds along desirable and remote Adirondack lake shorelines as places to find repose, entertain their fellow socialites, and enjoy the wilderness … all without leaving the comforts of a lavish lifestyle. These places came to be known as the Great Camps and defined a distinct, glittering era in the Adirondacks.
Not all Great Camps were built for private families. Mountain clubs and hotels had their own versions. This is where Garnet Hill Lodge enters the scene.
Built in 1936 near a garnet mine, Garnet Hill Lodge’s original intent was to serve as a camp retreat for artists. Its construction is dated just outside the celebrated era of Great Camps, but Garnet Hill embodies everything about these remarkable and desirable places.

Photo: Courtesy Garnet Hill Lodge

Camp Design

 Great Camps shared a distinct style: a sort of hybrid between mountain chalet and Arts and Crafts simplicity but constructed with and by local materials and craftsman. Garnet Hill follows suit with its mix of full log construction, live-edged siding, and elongated porch with traditional rustic log railings and upper-level balconies.
Inside, two gorgeous features compete for attention. On one side, a sweeping view of the pristine Thirteenth Lake. On the other, a massive stone fireplace with monolithic stones quarried from the original garnet mine. Look closely and you’ll notice embedded garnet shimmering in the firelight.

Photo: Courtesy Garnet Hill Lodge

Camp Experience

Garnet Hill is a true four-season resort. Winter sparkles with 55 km of groomed Nordic ski trails. When the snow melts, mountain biking takes over and single tracks also become available. The Outdoor Center oversees all skiing and biking needs. A private beach with kayaks and canoes provides a quintessential day at the lake.
Venture a little further away and you’ll find white water rafting, a garnet mine tour, downhill skiing, historic sites, and museums.
The onsite restaurant serves wholesome meals that are made from scratch and emphasize local ingredients. Don’t miss Mary Jane’s locally famous onion pie!
Among its ample rustic luxury, Garnet Hill possesses a rare asset: empty wilderness. Surrounded by an Adirondack Forest Preserve, moose, bears, and deer are common. Loons call at all hours. Late at night you may even hear a wolf’s howl drift across the water.
 Photo: Courtesy Garnet Hill Lodge

Plan Ahead

The main lodge houses 16 rooms. Nine additional rooms are available, located in two smaller buildings called “The Birches” and “Tea House.” Rates include breakfast, ski passes, and use of mountain bikes, canoes, and kayaks. Visit their site for more details.

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