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Adirondack Moose Facts & Where to Spot One

Huge, majestic, and mysterious, moose are one of the Adirondacks' most popular animals. But where can you find them? For a better chance of spotting a moose, visit one of the five top locations where Adirondack moose sightings are reported. If you're lucky, you might just have a moose experience of your own!

Adirondack moose in water

Moose are the unicorns of the Adirondacks – awe-inspiring and highly sought after, but rarely seen. Unlike their mystical counterparts, however, moose are very real and do live throughout the region. In fact, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that approximately 400 moose live in the Adirondacks. That means a sighting might not be as rare as you think – you just need to know where to look!

While location is important, there are some other factors to take into account when planning your moose "hunt" (actual hunting for moose is illegal in N.Y.). The greater your knowledge of moose, the better chances you have of spotting one in the wild. Keep these helpful facts in mind to increase your chances of a sighting.

Facts About Adirondack Moose

  • Moose are more active at dawn and dusk.
  • They are most active in the fall during their mating season, or "rut."
  • Water plants, such as pond lilies, contain significant amounts of sodium essential to a moose's diet. Moose can often be seen partially or entirely submerged in water grazing on these plants. Wetlands that contain an abundance of these plants are ideal for spotting a moose.
  • Despite their enormous size, moose actually move very quietly and gracefully through forests, and camouflage well into surrounding trees. That said, they do still favor wide trails, access roads, and wild fields where they have more freedom to move around. These locations also make it easier for you to spot them!
Adirondack moose

Best Places to See an Adirondack Moose

Moose can be found throughout the Adirondacks, but they do seem to like some areas more than others. If you're done leaving your moose-spotting chances to fate, head to one of these five Adirondack places, where moose sightings are frequently reported.

1. Vermontville (Route 3)

As you drive Route 3 from Saranac Lake to Plattsburgh, you will notice an influx of moose crossing signs. They're not kidding! Moose are frequently spotted by motorists along this stretch of road. Much of the drive runs parallel to the Saranac River and passes a number of wide open fields and grassy wetlands, all perfect habitats for a moose. To increase your chances of a sighting, and to keep yourself busy while you wait, try fishing on the river in the early morning hours.

2. Meacham Lake (Route 30)

Eight miles north of Paul Smith's on Route 30 is Meacham Lake, a popular destination for boaters, campers, and moose as well! While they are often spotted from the road, the experience will seem more authentic if you actually get into the wilderness. Plus, the longer you stay, the higher your chances of seeing one of these incredible creatures. Spend the day canoeing or kayaking on the lake, or make it a multi-day endeavor by staying overnight at the Meacham Lake State Campground.

3. Saranac Lake

Imagine a moose walking through your backyard. For many citizens of Saranac Lake, that dream has become a reality! Saranac Lake is located just off the shores of Lake Flower, the last in a larger chain of lakes that includes Kiwassa Lake, Oseetah Lake, and the Lower, Middle, and Upper Saranac Lakes. Surrounding these bodies of water are thousands of acres of wild forests. Connecting them are shallow channels filled with lily pads and lake grasses – a moose's favorite meal. Grab one of the island campsites along the Saranac Lake Chain and don't be surprised if you see a moose wandering through your site on its way to a tasty treat!

4. The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road

Part of the aptly named Moose River Plains, this backwoods road is a hot spot for moose sightings. At 23 miles long, extending from the Limekiln Gate near Inlet to the Wakely Dam Gate near Indian Lake, this tract of land is prime moose real estate. Due to the road's remote nature, moose in this region have room to roam without worrying about human encounters. That said, the road provides ample adventure opportunities for people hoping to encounter a moose. Take advantage of the Camping Corridor or paddle one of the easily accessible waterways, such as Helldiver pond, and your chances of seeing a moose will increase exponentially!

5. Lake Lila

Miles from any main road, Lake Lila is one of the more remote Adirondack lakes. Surrounded by the William C. Whitney Wilderness, NE-Ha-Sa-NE, and the expansive Five Ponds Wilderness, Lake Lila is a safe haven for all sorts of wild creatures. Motor use is prohibited on the lake, so both you and the moose can enjoy this beautiful oasis in total silence – only the sounds of fish splashing, bullfrogs croaking, and the wind rustling the trees will break the quiet. Unless, of course, the moose calls, in which case you will have experienced one of the most enchanting moments the Adirondacks has to offer.

close up on an Adirondack Moose

What to Do if You See a Moose

Congratulations! Encountering a moose is, for many, a once in a lifetime experience. They are as mysterious as they are majestic, which makes them incredibly intriguing. It is important to remember though, that these gentle giants are wild animals and they command respect. If you encounter a moose, be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure a positive experience for both you and the animal:

  • Don't approach the moose – keep a respectful distance. If the moose appears to be nervous, back further away. As big as they are, moose still scare easily.
  • Should the moose charge, don't stand your ground. They want distance, so give it to them by running away quickly. Once it no longer feels danger, the moose will stop charging. It doesn't want to hurt you, it just wants to be left alone.
  • Soak in the moment! While grabbing tons of pictures and video is very tempting, this may be your only chance to witness this incredible creature. Snap a quick shot, but then put the camera down and just appreciate the moment.
  • Share your experience. Whether you take to social media or spread the news via word of mouth, share your Adirondack moose sighting spot so others can increase their chances of seeing one too!
Adirondack moose eating in water