Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information.               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile
Adirondack North Country Trip Suggestions

Adirondack North Country

With thousands of miles of waterways, the Adirondack North Country is sure to have something for every paddler, beginners and experts alike. The hard part isn't deciding to go, it's deciding where to go. And that's why we're here. To help you sift through the some of the possibilities, and to introduce you to what's on offer.

This is only a ampling of North Country waters. These destinations were chosen in large measure because of their proximity to public campgrounds or public lands where camping is allowed. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many ponds, lakes and rivers which deserve your consideration. As you get to know the Adirondacks, you'll soon discover how much there is to explore.

Brief summaries like these are no subsitute for a good guidebook, of course. You'll also need a road atlas to help you find access points and campgrounds, and one or more large-scale topographic maps. To help you get started, we've listed some of the guidebooks describing each waterway below. You'll probably find others.

Current information about public access, fees (if any), changes in rules, and the like can be got by contacting the authorities identified in individual listings. In most cases, a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Office will be the primary contact. A hotlink to the appropriate Regional Office is included for each destination. The DEC also has many pamphlets on using public lands, fishing regulations, paddling routes, and hiking trails. These are always worth reading.

Since many paddling trips in the North Country begin at public boat launches, you many want to check out the comprehensive list of launching Sites. Addresses and phone numbers for public campgrounds are provided below where applicable. More detailed information about state campgrounds can be found at Reserve America. They handle all site reservations for the state of New York. Also check out our Adirondack Guide's Rules and Regulations page.

CAUTION This is NOT a detailed guide to any river or lake. Paddlers must know their abilities and take responsibility for their own safety. To insure that you always have a good day on the water, be sure to get up-to-date information about the places you intend to paddle, carry maps and a compass, outfit yourself properly, and wear a PFD whenever you're afloat. Remember, too, that waterways, access points, and public land boundaries change. If you think that's happened, or if you find any errors on this or any other page of the Adirondack Guide, please let us know.


Paddling on Quiet Water

Though the destinations listed here include some slow-moving rivers, these waters should be suitable for beginning paddlers who've achieved basic competence and are capable of making sound judgements. In some cases these waterways provide access to more difficult waters. Know your limits and choose your water accordingly.


Cedar River Flow

NYSDEC Region 5
County Hamilton
Location 13 miles southwest of Indian Lake
Class Remote lake
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boat(s) Anything goes, but canoeists may be happier
Minimum competence Beginner
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow, Alec Proskine; Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes and Alex Wilson; Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing, Barbara McMartin

Notes Wetlands, forests and mountains frame this wild and remote flow, located in the Moose River Recreation Area and completely surrounded by public lands. Campsites can be found near the put-in at Wakely Dam (on the Northville-Lake Placid Trail) and around the perimeter of the 'Flow, which is three miles long and about half a mile wide at its widest point.


Higley Flow (and other Raquette River Reservoirs)
Higley Flow State Park, 442 Cold Brook Drive, Colton NY 13625
Phone: 315-262-2880

NYSDEC Region 6
County St. Lawrence
Location South Colton, 14 miles south of Potsdam
Class Impoundment
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boat(s) Anything goes
Minimum competence Beginner
Guidebooks Raquette River (DEC); brochures published by Niagara Mohawk (Phone: 1-800-NIAGARA); Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson and onald Morrison (NB impoundments inside the Adirondack Park only)

Notes Located in the northern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, Higley Flow is one of many impoundments on the Raquette River. There is a state campground located on the southwestern arm.


Lakeview Pond and Environs
Southwick Beach State Park, 8119 Southwicks Place, Henderson NY 13650
Phone: 315-846-5338

NYSDEC Region 6
County Jefferson
Location Off NY Rte 3, 3 miles west of Ellisburg, 20 miles southwest of Watertown
Class Sheltered flatwater, slow streams (flow into Lake Ontario)
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Anything goes, but sea kayaks are best on Lake Ontario
Minimum competence Beginner (NB Experienced ONLY on Lake Ontario)
Guidebook Canoeing Central New York, William P. Ehling (out of print)

Special Regulations govern the use of the natural beach at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area.

Notes Lakeview Pond and the adjacent complex of interconnecting streams, channels, marshes, and ponds make up part of the 3,461-acre Lakeview Wildlife Management Area.


Piseco Lake
Old Piseco Road, Piseco NY 12139
Phone: 518-548-8031 or 518-863-4545

NYSDEC Region 5
County Hamilton
Location On NY Rte 8, 9 miles west of Speculator
Class Lake (including inlet and outlet)
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boat(s) Anything goes
Minimum competence Beginner
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow, Alec Proskine; Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing, Barbara McMartin

Notes Piseco Lake—almost five miles long and one mile wide—is accessible. With three state campgrounds, it's a good base for further explorations in the area.


Rich and Harris Lakes
Lake Harris Campground, Campsite Road, Newcomb NY 12852
Phone: 518-582-2503 or 518-897-1310

Also: Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Center, Newcomb NY 12852
Phone: 518-582-2000

NYSDEC Region 5
County Essex
Location Newcomb
Class Lakes
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Anything goes
Minimum competence Beginner
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters: South and West Flow, Paul Jamieson & Donald Morrison; Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes and Alex Wilson

Notes With a public campground at the eastern end of Harris Lake, trails to hike, a fire tower to climb (on Goodnow Mountain), and the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Center to visit, this is a great place to spend several days.


Taylor Pond
Taylor Pond Campground, Star Route 1, Box 144, Ausable Forks NY 12912
Phone: 518-647-5250 or 518-897-1310

NYSDEC Region 5
County Clinton
Location 8 miles northwest of Ausable Forks
Class Lake
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boat(s) Anything goes
Minimum competence Beginner
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson & Donald Morrison; Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes and Alex Wilson.

Notes Taylor Pond is a good destination for beginners and families who'd like to give canoe or kayak camping a try. The entrance to Taylor Pond Campground is found on the northeastern arm of the 3.5-mile-long lake. The campground has no flush toilets or showers. Designated campsites can be found at various locations around the lake. Certain restrictions apply: contact the campground authorities in advance.


Paddling on Larger Lakes

Large lakes demand respect. Winds can kick up big waves, and paddlers must be able to control their boats under difficult conditions. Boats should also be outfitted with float-bags and self-rescue gear. Long open-water crossings should be attempted only by groups of skilled, experienced, and well-equipped paddlers.


Lake Ontario (from Lakeview Pond)
Southwick Beach State Park, 8119 Southwicks Place, Henderson NY 13650
Phone: 315-846-5338

NYSDEC Region 6
County Jefferson
Location Off NY Rte 3, 3 miles west of Ellisburg, 20 miles southwest of Watertown
Class Large lake with wind-swept shore; also sheltered flatwater, slow streams
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Sea kayaks and big, well-outfitted canoes
Minimum competence Experienced open-water paddlers ONLY
Guidebook Canoeing Central New York, William P. Ehling (out of print)

Special Regulations govern the use of the natural beach at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area

Notes See earlier description of Lakeview Pond and surroundings. Experienced open-water paddlers, suitably outfitted, will find several routes out onto Lake Ontario after putting in at Lakeview Pond.


Valcour Island, Lake Champlain
Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area, Route 86, PO Box 296, Ray Brook NY 12977
Phone: 518-897-1291

Cumberland Bay State Park, 152 Cumberland Head Rd, Plattsburgh NY 12901
Phone: 518-563-5240

NYSDEC Region 5
County Clinton
Location 4 miles south of Plattsburgh
Class Large lake with wind-swept shores
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boat(s) Sea kayaks and big, well-outfitted canoes
Minimum competence Experienced open-water paddlers ONLY
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson and Donald Morrison (for Valcour Island and Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area); Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes & Alex Wilson (for the Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area); Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing by Barbara McMartin (for Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area)

Notes The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War took place on Lake Champlain, in the strait between Valcour Island and mainland. The island has now been acquired by the state and is open for camping (designated sites only). Campers must register with a DEC ranger who patrols daily and issues free permits.


William C. Whitney Area (Little Tupper Lake)
NYS DEC, Forest Preserve Information, Box 458, Northville, NY 12134
Phone: 518-863-4545

NYSDEC Region 5
County Hamilton
Location 16 miles south of Tupper Lake, 11 miles north of Long Lake
Class Wind-swept lake; streams
Duration Day trips and overnights
Best Boats Seaworthy canoes and kayaks
Minimum competence Novice
Guidebook William C. Whitney Area: Adirondack Forest Preserve Map and Guide, NYSDEC. This information is also available on- line.

Spe cial Regulations govern the use of the Whitney Area

Notes Windswept, shallow Little Tupper Lake—six miles long and up to one mile wide—is the gateway to the connecting waterways of the Whitney Area. The lake is home to a unique "heritage strain" of brook trout. Live bait is not permitted and catch-and-release is the law.


Paddling on Moving Water

Moving water predominates on the waterways in this section. Portages (often called "carries" in the Adirondacks) may be necessary. Paddlers should be certain of their ability to control their boats in moving water and easy (Class I) rapids. Multi-day voyages will require camping skills.

Black River—Lyons Falls to Carthage dam
Whetstone Gulf State Park, RD#2, Lowville NY 13367
Phone: 315-376-6630

NYSDEC Region 6
County Lewis County
Location Lyons Falls is about 14 miles southeast of Lowville
Class Class I
Duration Day trips along 35-mile stretch of river
Best Boat(s) Anything goes
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow by Alec Proskine; Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes & Alex Wilson

Notes The Black is a major stream, draining the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondack Mountains. On this stretch, however, it can be paddled by boaters who are at home in Class I water—so long as it's not in flood!


Chubb River
Meadowbrook Public Campground, Rte 86, Box 296, Raybrook NY 12977
Phone: 518-891-4351 or 518-897-1310

NYSDEC Region 5
County Essex
Location 1.5 miles from Lake Placid
Class Class I (beaver dams and deadfalls, one portage)
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Canoes
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson and Donald Morrison; Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing, Barbara McMartin

Notes A wild waterway whose headwater swamps ensure adequate flow in all but the driest summers, the Chubb River is reached by a short portage and requires paddling upstream.


Kunjamuk River
Moffit Beach Campground, Page Street, Speculator NY 12164
Phone: 518-548-7102 or 518-863-4545

Sacandaga Campground, HC-01, Star Rte 30, Box 104, Northville NY 12134
Phone: 518-924-4121 or 518-863-4545

NYSDEC Region 5
County Hamilton
Location 2 miles east of Speculator
Class Class I (beaver dams)
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Canoes
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebooks Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow, Alec Proskine; Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing, Barbara McMartin

Notes The Kunjamuk River is a deep, meandering waterway with a reliable year-round flow. Paddlers can camp at the Sacandaga and Moffit Beach Campgrounds.


Oswegatchie River—Round Trip from Inlet
Cranberry Lake Campground, 243 Lone Pine Road, Cranberry Lake NY 12927
Phone: 315-848-2315 or 315-265-3090

NYSDEC Region 6
County St. Lawrence and Herkimer
Location 14 miles southwest of Cranberry Lake
Water Conditions Class I (beaver dams and sweepers)
Duration 3 day, 40-mile round trip
Best Boat(s) Canoes
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebook Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson and Donald Morrison

Notes The Oswegatchie takes paddlers into the heart of the most remote wild forests in the Adirondacks. This area was swept by a July 1995 windstorm, with the loss of many of the celebrated old-growth white pines.


Oswegatchie River—Elmdale to Richville
Eel Weir State Park, PO Box 380, Morristown NY 13664
Phone: 315-393-1138

NYSDEC Region 6
County St. Lawrence
Location Put-in is 6 miles from Governeur
Water Conditions Class I
Duration Day trips (shuttle required)
Best Boat(s) Canoes and kayaks
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebook Fishing and Canoeing the Oswegatchie River: Newton Falls to Ogdensburg, DEC

Notes The Elmsdale to Richville Bridge Road section of the Oswegatchie is negotiable by novice paddlers with some experience in moving water. Releases from upstream dams can cause sudden water fluctuations, however, and caution is advised. Paddlers may camp at Eel Weir State Park.


Schroon River—North Hudson to Schroon Lake
Paradox Lake Campground, Rte 74, Severance NY 12872
Phone: 518-532-7451 518-897-1310

NYSDEC Region 5
County Essex
Location 9 miles from Schroon Lake village
Class Class I (one portage)
Duration Day trips—15 miles
Best Boat(s) Canoes and kayaks
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebook Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow, Alec Proskine

Description Though the Schroon River parallels Interstate 87 and NY Route 9, dense shoreline vegetation and abundant wildlife give this section the feel of a wild river.. Half-way through the trip, four-foot Schroon Falls requires a portage of 100 feet.


West Branch Sacandaga River—Arietta to Shaker Place
Point Comfort Campground, Little Sand Point and Poplar Point Campgrounds, Old Piseco Road, Piseco NY 12139
Phone: 518-548-8031 or 518-863-4545
NYSDEC Region 5
County Hamilton
Location 12 miles south of Piseco Lake
Water Conditions Class I (beaver dams)
Duration Day trips
Best Boat(s) Canoes
Minimum competence Novice (experience on moving water REQURED)
Guidebook Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow, Alec Proskine

Description A pleasant and accessable trip, this portion of the West Branch can be paddled upriver as well as down, so a car shuttle is not needed.. Paddlers might wish to spend the night at one of the campgrounds at Piseco Lake and get an early start on the river. Also see the discussion of Piseco Lake above.



Adirondack Home | Adirondacks Overview | Weather | Wildlife | Fishing | Rules | Planning | Bookstore | Discussion


Adirondack Guide and all pictures and drawings within are
Copyright © 2001 by Verloren Hoop Productions. All rights reserved.
Written by Tamia Nelson and Farwell Forrest













Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us

©2014 Paddling.net Inc.
Sweepstakes Banjo Shirt