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An Affordable Place to Stay in Lake Placid: A Review of TMax -n- Topo's Hostel in the Adirondacks

Updated on June 15, 2012
One of the bunk rooms
One of the bunk rooms | Source

An Inexpensive Place to Stay in the Adirondacks

If you are looking far a fun and inexpensive place to stay as you play in Lake Placid, check out TMax -n-Topo's Hostel.

Located on Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, the hostel offers solace from a hard day hiking, skiing, or climbing. With comfortable bunks, warm showers, and a relaxing environment, this is just the place for outdoor folks.

Sure, you could book a room at the Lake Placid Best Western with a private room isolating you from the Adirondack experience. Or you could try to find a place that imbues the look and attitude of the long history of the 'Dacks.

Enter the hostel, the place for outdoor lovers to stay.

So if you are planning on visiting the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and looking for a different experience, heed my review of TMax-n-Topo's Hostel in the Heart of the High Peaks.

Little touches like multiple hooks to hang drying gear abound.
Little touches like multiple hooks to hang drying gear abound. | Source

Staying at a Hostel

When I use the word "hostel" sometimes people get confused thinking with the homonym (for many Americans) "hostile." I can see the gears turning in their head, wondering why I seem to like staying in hostile places. And for those people who have never had dreams of backpacking Europe, maybe they don't know the word.

Of course for fans of the horror genre, the movie Hostel probably hasn't done the lodging industry any favors.

The first time I stayed in a hostel was during my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. Hostels abound along the trail, offering hikers solace for the rigors of long-distance hiking. It was always nice to find a place in a town every couple weeks to grab a shower, do your laundry, and dry out your gear.

Most hostels include bunks, cooking facilities, showers, and a common room for gathering after a tough day of hiking.

Many people staying at a hostel for the first time are surprised by their stunning lack of structure, a departure from the motel industry. Yes, there are rules - but the rules are based on courtesy to your hosts and your fellow lodgers. Be nice and respect each other and most likely you are following the mores of hostel culture.

The hiker's common room
The hiker's common room | Source

Your Hosts are Hikers

The innkeepers and hoteliers of the Lake Placid region are no doubt committed to customer service, but how many are 46ers? The hosts of the hostel, 46ers TMax and Topofgothics (Terri and David) are accomplished hikers. The two of them have been backpacking in the High Peaks and around the country for years.

The two of them possess a wealth of hiking knowledge and are up to date on current hiking conditions and can offer suggestions if you need them. This is especially handy when climbing new slides or bushwhacking untrailed mountains.

The duo took over the ailing Jackrabbit Hostel a few years ago, turning it around and making it an enjoyable and affordable place to stay. For those of you that have visited Lake Placid, you know that affordable is an adjective not often attributed to local lodging.

A few of the hostel's kitchen facilities.
A few of the hostel's kitchen facilities. | Source

My Review of TMax -n-Topo's Hostel

Over the years, I have grown to detest the seven hour drive from Buffalo to the High Peaks, which was often accompanied by a cramped night sleeping in my car near some trail head. The back seat of my car isn't as comfortable as it use to be, but I did what I had to in order to support my hiking addiction.

I was turned on to staying at the hostel a few years ago by a friend and have stayed there multiple times during my forays to the Adirondacks, especially when I do multiple trips in one drive. For example, I'll hike for an overnight or two- then I'll retreat to the hostel to warm up, shower, and dry gear. After a comfy night, I'll venture back out for a couple days more. It is a great system for anyone working on climbing their 46 High Peaks.

I've stayed on busy weekends when every bunk is booked and in solitude during midweek sojourns. However, hostels are best experienced when shared with others, it is a great communal experience. Whether you are hikers, ice climbers, skiers, or paddlers your shared passion for the outdoors binds you together and even converts introverted people like myself into a conversationalist.

From the knotty pine walls to the inspiring hiking pictures that hang on them, staying at the hostel is a truly Adirondack experience. Even the bunks are named for the various High Peaks; I like sleeping on the bunk named for the peak I just hiked.

Of course, everyone always wants to know if it is clean. Not that I am a germaphobe, but I've stayed in some hostels over the years where I couldn't wait to get back out in the woods to use a clean bathroom (outhouse). Despite the range of travelers staying at TMax-n-Topo's Hostel, the place is clean - even after a youth outing group visits. It is certainly cleaner than the backseat of my Taurus.

Though most things move pretty slowly in the Adirondacks, the hostel has made many improvements over the last few years. From the new picnic table outside to structural changes on the inside, I'm always surprised what new things there are to discover.

Unlike the institutional coldness of a chain hotel, this hostel feels oddly like home. I can make coffee, munch down a pop tart and watch cable news as I'm packing by bag for a day of hiking. Just remember to ask if anyone else wants coffee before brewing a pot for one.

Map to the hostel

5046 Cascade Road Lake Placid, NY 12946:
5046 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA

get directions

TMax-n-Topo's Hostel

Features of the Hostel

This hostel has three levels, on the ground level you are greeted by a common area, dining room, a bathroom, and full kitchen for your use. The four bunkrooms are located in the floor below along with two bathrooms and showers. The upper level of the building contains two private motel rooms, which can sleep up to six people.

Never staying in the private rooms upstairs, I can't vouch for their comfort ; however, I have taken a peek or two at their layout. It looks like the ideal place to stay with a small group that prefers their privacy.

  • Four bunk rooms for a total of 22 beds. (33 when you count upstairs private rooms)
  • Two large private motel rooms - sleeps 6 and 5.
  • Large kitchen- cook your own meals and save on food costs.
  • Common Room: complete with Cable TV, board games, and books.
  • Wifi access and cable television
  • Bedding provided
  • Fresh towels and soap provided too

Link to the Official Website

Check out TMax-n-Topo's Hostel website for rates, more pictures, and reservation information.

TMax -n- Topo's Hostel Tmax-n-Topo's Jackrabbit Hostel in Lake Placid features a clean friendly place to stay. Owned and Operated By Terri & David.

This page © Copyright 2012, Daniel Human


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