Lakes & Ponds
Lake life is the good life. Luckily, the Adirondacks boasts many lakes to explore! Join countless others who have paddled before you on well-known waterbodies like Lake George, Raquette Lake, Long Lake, or Lake Placid. Enjoy a mixed view of pristine wildlife and architectural elegance when you paddle the Saranac Lakes. Start on Upper Saranac and you can paddle all the way to Lake Flower in Saranac Lake, passing through the hand-operated locks between Middle Saranac and Lower Saranac along your way. Schroon Lake also offers excellent paddling supplemented by beautiful mountain views. With a charming town nearby, complete with a public sand beach, it’s the perfect place to escape to during the summer months.
When you think of ponds, you might imagine small pools in backyards. While the Adirondacks has plenty of those, it also has some large ponds with lots of paddling intrigue. Osgood Pond near Paul Smith’s combines open waters and lily-pad dense channels for a perfectly balanced canoe or kayak adventure, and it offers a close-up view of White Pine Camp, a historic Adirondack Great Camp that President Calvin Coolidge used as his summer White House. In Tupper Lake, not far from the Wild Center, lies Simon Pond. A flood plain of the Raquette River, it can be reached by paddling through a grassy span between Big Simon Pond and Tupper Lake. While much of the shoreline is private land, it is a prime spot for water-based birding.
If you want to escape the wake of passing motorboats and jet skis, consider a remote backcountry paddle. There are plenty of wild places where you can drop in a canoe or kayak. In fact, the Adirondacks are home to New York State's only designated canoe wilderness area, the St. Regis Canoe Area. Spanning 18,400 acres, St. Regis encompasses an intricate network of lakes and ponds where you can spend a day or retreat for longer canoe camping trips. Stick to the interconnected waterways or portage to reach new areas of opportunity. Scattered throughout St. Regis are 75 primitive tent sites and three lean-tos where you can relax for a spell or spend the night.
Other top paddling destinations in the backcountry include the Essex Chain Lakes, complete with 18 waterbodies that range in size from three-acre ponds to 216-acre lakes. Wedged between sections of the Hudson River and Cedar River, it is a hidden gem brimming with beauty and wildlife. Moose River Plains, just outside Inlet, NY, is another great place to put in, and Helldiver Pond is a popular place to spot – you guessed it – moose!