New York - Nature and Scientific Wonders | Travel | Smithsonian
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New York - Nature and Scientific Wonders

New York - Nature and Scientific Wonders

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The largest protected area in the contiguous United States, the Adirondack Park covers 6 million acres of forested mountains with over 3,000 lakes and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. Lake George is a popular summer vacation destination—the northern end is less crowded—and the resort town of Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, offers prime cross country and downhill skiing in the winter. For climbers seeking a challenge, Mt. Marcy, the tallest mountain in the Adirondack range, is 5,344 feet high.

The Finger Lakes region, in Western New York, was landscaped by retreating glaciers. Deep gorges running through forests drain rivers into the lakes, and many feature waterfalls. Taughannock Falls, in Taughannock State Park, is one of the highest in the Eastern U.S., dropping 215 feet.

Perhaps the most famous waterfall in the world, Niagara Falls has been the site of many daredevil stunts: at least seven people have gone over the falls in specially-designed barrels and at least nine have gone over them on a tight rope. But visitors can take in the views—without risking their lives—from the Rainbow Bridge or the parks along the river.

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