Adirondack Mountain Club Heart Lake Trailhead and Education Center

Crafting a Welcoming, Sustainable, Educational Center at Heart Lake

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and responsible recreational use of the New York State Forest Preserve, parks, and other wildlands and water in New York State.

ADK maintains Heart Lake, a 700-acre property that is visited by nearly 100,000 people per year, making it the busiest hiking trailhead in the state. In addition to providing a gateway trailhead to the Adirondack High Peaks, the Heart Lake facility provides infrastructure for overnight accommodations, educational programs, a High Peaks Information Center, a concession building, and parking for 200 day-use hikers. Over the years, the parking facilities, trailhead, and related pathways have become taxed due to high use and age.

Based on Master Plans prepared for the Heart Lake Facility, LaBella was hired to prepare a focused development plan and design development drawings to improve the trailhead facility in a manner that would reflect a design aesthetic offered by the National Park Service. The overarching objectives of the project were aimed at creating a welcome and arrival sequence, and a parking and site design inspired by the natural setting. Additionally, an educational center and ADK office building was proposed for the site.

Together, the site and architectural facilities are designed to create educational opportunities that will inspire stewardship and sustainable use of the protected landscapes and numerous trails that are accessed from this well-known Adirondack Park facility.