There are two ways to tackle the Northeast's most spectacular hike, the Great Range of the Adirondacks. The most reasonable method is to park in Keene Valley, hike four-plus miles to the Bushnell Falls lean-to, and set up camp. The next morning, climb New York's highest peak, Mount Marcy – gaining some 2,300 feet in elevation on your trip to the windy summit – before hiking Haystack, Basin, and Saddleback. The next day hike Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw, and Lower Wolf Jaw. "You're exposed to the elements, hiking the ridge above tree line," says Wes Lampman, director of field programs for the Adirondack Mountain Club. "You have a 360-degree view of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks." The other way to take on the Great Range? Fill your pack with PowerBars, leave before sunrise, and do the whole thing – all 25 miles and eight peaks – in one fell swoop, starting with Lower Wolf Jaw and ending at Marcy's 5,344-foot peak. Then curl into the fetal position and roll down the mountain.

More information: Crash at Johns Brook Lodge, the only full-service backcountry lodge in the high peaks (adk.org).