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View Full Version : Indian Lake Islands or Forked Lake?


Campingbuddy
05-21-2010, 09:02 AM
We are experienced campers, backpackers, and canoers and have had some experience kayaking, both flatwater and openwater. We're looking to get more into kayaking, eventually buy kayaks of our own. But since neither of us have ever done an overnight kayak/canoe trip, we thought we'd give it a try. I was thinking Indian Lake or Forked Lake might be a good spot for a 2-3 night overnight, just to get our feet wet? Take advantage of the boat-to campsites ....

Your thoughts? Which park would you recommend? Any recommended sites (we love good views, wildlife viewing, peace & quiet, no noisy neighbors)? Recommended attractions/restaurants in the area?

Any and all information would be appreciated, including boat rental information. I understand that both parks rent boats? How does that work?

Thanks for your help!!

yellowcanoe
05-21-2010, 11:14 AM
Forked Lake is pretty small..for multiday trip.

Indian Lake is bigger.

I am a bit confused about your intentions..as you mention restaurants. Do you intend to cook at camp at all? Thats part of the experience..to get away from crowds. I dont find either place particularly wildernessy in the summer. Fine now.

You better decide soon because you do need reservations..take a look at the maps.

What you get for neighbors is the luck of the draw. Personally I would recommend Saranac Lake Islands and get boats from St Regis Outfitters in Saranac Lake.

You can easily do a multiday trip but paddling out for restaurant meals is a bit far for most campsites..

Campingbuddy
05-21-2010, 12:12 PM
Oh no, we weren't thinking of paddling back/forth to eat out! I just was wondering whether there were any good restaurants that we might want to hit during our drive there or back. (We'd be travelling from PA.)

I know about the reservations .... there are still a few nice spots open in each, so I wanted to make them ASAP. Thanks.

I thought of Saranac Lakes too, but it's a little further from us, and we really thought we'd keep it simple our first time out. Paddle to and from the site(s) and do some general exploring during the day .....

rahchacha
05-21-2010, 02:16 PM
Indian Lake is much larger and the campsites are much more spread out. It is more scenic but be prepared for long paddles to get anywhere. On a north wind Indian Lake gets quite large waves. Paddling in on Indian with a strong wind and a load of gear could be rough.

Campingbuddy
05-25-2010, 08:28 AM
Thanks so much for the information. We've decided to kayak/camp at Indian lake for four nights .... two at one site and two at another. As experienced backpackers, I'm confident we can pack light and manage the paddle to and from the sites.

We've got one kayak, and will hopefully have another by the time we've booked our trip. The rangers advised me that they only rent canoes at the park, but that we could rent kayaks at Pines Country Store in town. Has anyone ever rented from Pines Country Store before? What was your experience with them like?

Grey-Jay
05-25-2010, 09:46 AM
When you say rent kayaks, what type? Indian Lake can have very demanding conditions where kayak skills include boat control, self and group rescue, etc. yes, you can paddle a ten foot toy kayak close to shore. But if you are planning on covering this lake with any distance, true touring or sea kayaks with the knowledge to use them shoudl be considered. Our se akayak group does not consider Indian lake a beginner's location. You might time and right and have lfat as glass conditions. But we've often fought winds and waves, expecially the northern part. The Jessup River arm is more friendly for conditions.

If you can;t do a wet exit, self rescue, control your kayak in strong winds, you might want to learn these before being in the middle of Indian Lake.

Campingbuddy
05-25-2010, 10:04 AM
Thanks for the advise. This defnitely won't be our very first time kayaking. We've kayaked a bunch before, including sea kayaking, and we're familiar with proper safety techniques.

I'd definitely like to rent another touring kayak (we've already got one) if at all possible, or something as close to it as we can find. We'd definitely like something with some additional storage for our gear. Any local kayak rental businesses you could recommend?

WillisB
05-25-2010, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the advise. This defnitely won't be our very first time kayaking. We've kayaked a bunch before, including sea kayaking, and we're familiar with proper safety techniques.

I'd definitely like to rent another touring kayak (we've already got one) if at all possible, or something as close to it as we can find. We'd definitely like something with some additional storage for our gear. Any local kayak rental businesses you could recommend?

Check out Mountainman in Old Forge for sales and rentals.

Cahill
05-27-2010, 03:00 PM
You could also try Whitewater Challengers just south of Old Forge for sales, rentals and instruction.

Campingbuddy
05-28-2010, 08:13 AM
Thanks for all the helpful information. We've got the rental covered (decided to rent from our local outfitter so that we could know the exact boat we'd be using for packing/planning purposes). We're looking forward to our trip! If anyone has any other helpful tips/advice/"must sees" please let me know .....

EagleCrag
06-04-2010, 11:22 AM
I would recommend Yellowcanoe's idea of going to the Saranac Lake Islands. Plenty to explore and you can traverse through the locks into the other lakes if you want to paddle in those.

Campingbuddy
08-24-2010, 09:57 AM
Thanks for everyone's helpful input. We ended up purchasing two kayaks and spending 5days/four nights exploring Indian Lake. We had such a wonderful time! What a spectacular area! We couldn't have done it without your help! Thanks again!