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Newcomer Camping Help

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  • Newcomer Camping Help

    Hi everyone. Thank you in advance for your help. My apologies for my lack of knowledge, but I am completely new to camping, and am interested in going camping with someone experienced, but new to the Adirondacks. I am looking for a nice secluded spot where we can stay for one night. I would like to experience what he calls real camping, away from common sites and amenities. I have been to day camping areas like Stewart's Pond, and while the company of others is nice, I would like to take in nature without others around. I have an SUV, but no boat. I would like to find a spot near water that would be comfortable to swim in around mid-June. Does anyone have any recommendations on a good location? Please let me know if you need more info. Again, thanks everyone

  • #2
    My parents started renting on Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain at the shallowest spot in the Lake over 50 years ago, and I rent the spot now, and I have never seen comfortable swimming in any part of June there. These are cold mountain lakes and the water cools off quite a bit at night regardless of how high the air temperature gets during the day. Swimming is best in August, and we still do the chilly dance getting in then. For a lot of backcountry ponds with muck bottoms, you will also need to consider leaches, and difficulty of entrance and entry to the water.

    You don't say whether you want to carry your camp in with you or stay close to the vehicle (car camp). At the risk of everyone on the sight beating me up for spot burning, wild forest areas like Black River Wild Forest or the Moose River Plains have roadside sites, normally with enough separation that you will not feel crowded except maybe on the big holiday weekends like 4th of July and Labor Day. If you want to back pack, pick a wilderness area (there is a LOT of information on the NYSDEC website and a trail that looks like a distance you can handle and hike back in, remembering that lean-tos are supposed to be shared up to capacity, other campsites will be designated by small DEC markers, and improvised campsites must be more than 150 ft from any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water ( All the rules, and there are quite a few but all pretty logical, especially in leaving the place as good as or better than you find it, are on the DEC Website.


    • #3
      ok, this is not exactly what you asked for but is a fantastic start. I do back country camping but also occasionally still use the "Wilderness Campsite" at Adirondack Loj. No RV's, sites are spaced well so with some along the edges it is difficult to see any other site. They offer Lean-tos as well as tent sites. I believe the lean to sites on the edges are more remote. Your car and a flush toilet are a 5 minute walk away. Nice beach on small lake which I have swam at but cant remember month.

      Plus Adirondack Loj is a major trail head with trails leading into the backwoods where you can find true backpacking sites. So if you book two nights you could hang at the Loj site for the first as a gear shakedown and than take the next step and hike in for the actual back woods (with an escape plan in place).

      We use this area these days for a jumping off point if we are coming in late, a basecamp in extreme cold weather or as an intro to camping site when traveling with others (had a Girl Scout troop up there in April ice hiking)
      Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees


      • #4
        Also, "am interested in going camping with someone experienced" - where are you from? We are in Rochester NY. If you would like to meet and check out maps and gear we'd be happy to do that.
        Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees


        • #5
          Thank you both for your input. I am definitely interested in back country camping, which would last one night, and I am fine with backpacking away from my car to reach a spot. This may sound odd, but I would prefer to not have any amenities such as lodging or even a restroom. I want to feel as secluded as possible, and just absorb nature. I appreciate the offer tenderfoot, I am from Albany and actually will be with someone experienced with camping, so I should be good. I will definitely check out those links you posted Lucky13. That is a good point you make about the water temperature. Would it make a difference in the temperature between a lake and a pond?


          • #6
            I spoke about the fourth Lake shallows because I thought that would warm up fast, but it is generally cold in June (the smallmouth bass are often still on beds in here when the season opens in Mid June) If you hit a pond that does not have trout, it might warm up earlier. But in June, I think it is going to be cold. You also want to remember that this is peak Black Fly season, and most folks advise you to cover more skin rather than bare it when those buggers are active!


            • #7
              ok, so with the focus being on a nice quiet patch of the forest I would reverse my suggestion and warn you away from the High Peaks. Plenty of other spots less traveled.

              Last year we canoe'd Little Tupper Lake into Rock Pond. One portage and several beaver dams may have thinned out the crowd a bit. First night there was only one other campsite occupied. Pond is large enough that we neither saw or heard them from our campsite.

              Second night we had pond to ourselves.
              Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees


              • #8
                He did mention that he does not have a boat.


                • #9
                  Thank you again, and my apologies for the delay in responding. I was looking at Wilcox Lake, does anyone know if that is a good spot for primitive camping? I also saw the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, but that seems to be about an hour away from the lake. Any other thoughts on where we can do some primitive camping, be close to water, but also not far from our car? I always feel like I am asking for the world with that question


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ilny72 View Post
                    ... I was looking at Wilcox Lake, does anyone know if that is a good spot for primitive camping? I also saw the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, but that seems to be about an hour away from the lake.

                    Wilcox Lake lies within the heart of the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, so your comment quoted above seems a little confusing, but yes there are a couple primitive campsites at Wilcox Lake, as well as a couple of lean-tos. It’s a nice lake & area, but it does get a lot of use, especially the lean-tos, and finding a bit of trash left behind by careless campers is not uncommon. Best of luck, have fun, and please help keep it clean.


                    • #11

                      I'm not a camper (any more) so I hesitate to chime in here. However, when you threw out the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, I felt I could provide some valued input. I've visited most of the significant water bodies in the WLWF and present the following comments based on your criteria:

                      Wilcox Lake: Long haul from car, echo Justin's comments about usage
                      Bennett Lake: Campsite on Bennet is ~ 1 mile from Creek Rd. Nice
                      Middle Lake: 2+ miles from Creek Rd. Great destination
                      Murphy Lake: 3+ miles from Creek/Pumpkin Hollow Rd. Leeches
                      Cod Pond: 1 Mile from car, shallow and mucky
                      Kibby Pond: 1 mile from Rt. 8, nice view, nice campsites
                      Fish Ponds: + 1 Mile from Bartman Rd., mucky shore
                      Lizard Pond: Tough drive to trailhead, 3+ miles. Great view
                      Garnett Lake: Awesome location. Kind of need a boat to get to campsites

                      Check out the State Land Interactive Mapper (SLIM) at :

                      It'll give you a good idea of designated primitive campsites.

                      Let us know how your trip turns out.
                      Tick Magnet


                      • #12
                        Make sure you familiarize yourself with the DEC's regulations for hiking and camping on state lands as well as the Leave No Trace Principles. Not knowing regulations is a common beginner mistake. It's also common for beginners to equate "Leave No Trace" simply with "Carry In, Carry Out" policies, and the reality is that backcountry impacts are fairly nuanced and there is a lot more to minimizing your impacts than just carrying your trash out.

                        (Note also that some areas of the Adirondacks, most notably the High Peaks Wilderness, have additional regulations that add to or in some cases supersede the general State Land Use Regulations.)

                        For a first time backpacking trip, I generally recommend keeping it simple- pick a destination that is no more than a few miles from the trailhead, hike in, set up camp, and hang out. Maybe do a day hike from camp if one is available, but generally focus on getting to know your gear, and figuring out what works and what doesn't (you're going to have things that don't work as well or in the exact manner you expect or want, and some level of adjustment is going to be necessary).