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Tips for Hiker Parking at the Heart Lake Program Center

Tips for Hiker Parking at the Heart Lake Program Center

Updated January 2024

  1. Get Here Early!

We expect many parking areas to fill quickly this summer, including the one here at the Heart Lake Program Center. In summers past, our lots typically filled up before 7 a.m. on weekends and before 9 a.m. on weekdays. We strongly recommend arriving early if you want to park at the trailhead here on our property.

Due to the volume of traffic, we do not allow buses, waiting for a spot to open up, or driving in to look for a spot. Our hardworking staff are constantly checking the parking lots for available spaces. Parking is only permitted on our property in the lots located next to the High Peaks Information Center.

  1. Need a Bear Can or Microspikes?

Bear canisters and Microspikes are available for rent at the High Peaks Information Center. If you arrive and parking is full, you can utilize our temporary parking spots (see #4 below) in order to stop inside for rentals.

  1. Support the Trails

The Adirondack Mountain Club charges $18 per day to park anytime before 1 p.m. This fee helps us with trail maintenance and backcountry education, so thank you for your support! Only planning to go on a short hike like Mt. Jo? We charge a half-day parking fee of $10 anytime after 1 p.m. and there is a chance of some parking spots opening up throughout the afternoon.

Members of the Adirondack Mountain Club get a discounted parking rate at our property: $10 per day, and $5 per half day. They also have the option to purchase a member parking pass that is valid for the entire year for a one-time fee of $60 if purchased Jan. 1 – June 30. July 1-Sept. 30 the pass costs $40, and after October 1, it’s $30 for the rest of the year. Not a member? Read about the benefits of membership here.

  1. Temporary Parking

If our parking lots are full when you arrive, we do allow temporary parking (15 minutes or less) in the snow plow turnaround across from the parking booth. We will allow temporary parking for equipment rentals, trail questions, purchases, and use of our restrooms. You will then need to move your vehicle to the overflow parking area or an alternative trailhead.

  1. Overflow Parking

Due to safety concerns and inaccessibility for emergency vehicles, “No Parking” signs are on both sides of Adirondack Loj Rd between the parking booth and Meadows Lane. If you park in these areas you will get a ticket. For all overflow parking, please park on Meadows Lane or on the right side (on your way out of the Heart Lake Program Center) of Adirondack Loj Rd. from Meadows Lane out to Rt. 73. This will add about a mile each way to your hike, so please plan accordingly and be careful of cars if you decide to walk along Adirondack Loj Rd to reach our trailhead.

Hiking through Marcy Dam? There is an alternative trail known as the “Marcy Dam Truck Trail” starting near the end of Meadows Lane. Just be sure to stop by Cascade Welcome Center or the High Peaks Information Center first to discuss local rules & regulations and to buy or rent any necessary equipment for your adventure.

  1. Be Flexible!

Heart Lake is not the only trailhead in the Adirondacks and there are a lot of other great places to hike and explore outside of the High Peaks that might not be as crowded. Stop by Cascade Welcome Center (4833 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid) or visit the High Peaks Information Center to discuss alternative hikes and trailheads. You can also call Cascade Welcome Center at 518-523-3441, or the High Peaks Information Center at 518-523-3441, ext. 121 to learn more.

Bonus Tip:

Check out Love Your ADK before you head to the Adirondacks. This is a place you can check for the latest alerts and news related to outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks. Updates will be posted by ROOST as quickly as possible in order to provide the latest conditions for residents and travelers to the Adirondack region.


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