From the melodic trickle of a stream, to the thundering rapids of the Hudson River Gorge - it's impossible to escape sound of rushing water in the Adirondacks. "Forever Wild," the Adirondacks offer unparalleled outdoor recreation and adventure at each turn. From the only canoe wilderness area in New York State, to placid lakes glittering in mountain valleys - the best way to explore the Adirondacks is on the water.
Adirondack Paddling and Island Camping
The Adirondack Lakes Region is one of the most unique areas in New York State, offering a staggering number of waterways to explore. Paddle the Saranac Lakes, and then pitch your tent on an island for a truly unique Adirondack camping experience. Watch the sun set over glittering waves and deep green forests.
The St. Regis Canoe Wilderness is the largest canoe area in the state, winding for 18 miles from northeast Tupper Lake to Paul Smiths. Closed to motor boats and aircraft, paddlers can expect to explore unimpeded by the outside world. Glimpse Blue Herons, Beaver and even Moose as you canoe or kayak the 58 bodies of water that make up this unique paddler's paradise. One of the most popular expeditions is the Seven Carries, a route that travels from Little Clear Pond to Lower St. Regis Lake, passing through several smaller ponds and incorporating seven over-land carries. Adirondack hiking trails can be accessed along the way - and backcountry campsites provide a perfect place to stop after a day on the water.
The tradition of guiding and paddling was born more than a century ago in the Adirondacks as New York guides escorted city visitors through the woods and waters of the upstate wildernerness in the early 1800s. Today's guides are required to do more than just escort paddlers down a meandering stream. Guides are historians, storytellers, explorers, adventurers, ecologists and chefs who utilize today's gear and technology to help visitors plan and experience the ultimate Adirondack adventure.
The Adirondacks have a steady supply of knowledgeable guides that specialize in guiding thanks to local schools and colleges such as Plattsburgh State and Paul Smiths College. The New York State Outdoor Guide Association calls the Adirondack Mountains home.
Lake Champlain Sea Kayaking
Canoe and kayak rentals are available at outfitters throughout the Adirondacks. Organized sea kayaking trips, like the one to Valcour Island in Lake Champlain, showcase the scenic Adirondack coastline. For 120 miles, the Lake travels from Canada to the southern Adirondack Mountains. Explore its scenic shores and keep a lookout for Crown Point State Historic Site, a military stronghold dating back to the American Revolutionary War.
Adirondack Wilderness Paddling
Known for its incredibly vast expanses of wilderness, the Adirondack Wild Region sits in the center of the Adirondack Park. Kayak Long Lake's 14 miles of shoreline, and glimpse charming towns and villages along the way. From Raquette Lake to Blue Mountain Lake - the Adirondack Wild offers a backcountry paddling experience in storied tradition. Adirondack guide boats, famed for their durable yet beautiful craftsmanship, can still be seen on the region's lakes and rivers. Home to the best rapids east of the Rockies, go Hudson River rafting in the spring when melting snow and ice create Class IV-V rapids.
Chart your Adirondack paddling adventure with our FREE Adirondack Waterways Guide to find the best paddling routes. Find maps, descriptions so you know what to expect, camping spots and the best attractions along the way.
Featured Canoe and Kayak Trips
Whitewater paddling and steep creaking adventures are available for seasoned kayakers who are looking for a rush of adrenaline to accompany their journey through the Adirondacks.
Kayakers can challenge themselves on whitewater rapids on the Hudson River Gorge, the Black River, Moose River, parts of the Grass River and the Sacandaga River. The rapids vary according to spring runoff, water levels and whether or not they are dam-released rivers, such as the Sacandaga. Extreme kayakers can jump falls on any of the Grass River's eight waterfalls and Essex County offers the most waterfalls in the Adirondacks.
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