Thread: Raquette river
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:36 PM   #3
DSettahr
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Join Date: May 2007
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Long Lake usually isn't too bad with wind, but every once in a while it can be tricky, especially if you're in a smaller canoe (solo canoes particularly). I've done this trip by solo canoe 3 times- and out of those three times, I've once encountered winds that were strong enough to cause to me set up camp earlier in the day than I'd originally planned.

I've never been on Long Lake on Columbus Day Weekend. During summer holiday weekends though (such as Labor Day), the lake can be absolutely packed with motor boat traffic, and it can be very difficult to score a campsite (and getting a lean-to is practically impossible). And I also find that especially if the whether is nice, Columbus Day Weekend can be the busiest holiday weekend of the season- a lot of folks are eager to get out for one last camping trip of the year before hanging up their camping gear for the winter.

But that late in the season there may also be fewer folks with their boats still on the water (or in condition to be launched for a weekend camping trip), so perhaps the camping pressure might not be as great.

Once you hit the outlet of Long Lake you'll see far fewer people. Outside of the spring freshet, the water isn't deep enough to permit passage of motor boats (especially big ones) very far down the river. But there's also fewer camping options on the river in comparison to Long Lake. The Lost Channel and Deep Hole Lean-tos (both are right on the Raquette River) are in great shape. The Calkins Creek Lean-to (some distance up the Cold River) is in rough shape- you can stargaze through the roof.

Don't underestimate the portage at Raquette Falls. It's not particularly rugged but it is long- just over a mile in length. If you don't put at least some thought into weight (of both your gear and your boat) you will regret it. It is mostly wheelable if you have a portage cart but there's a few spots where you'll still have to lift the boat to get over or around rocks. There is a single designated tent site at the start of the portage, and a lean-to and 4 designated tent sites at the end, near the ranger station (some of the tent sites near the ranger station are honestly I think some of the nicest tent sites in the entire High Peaks Wilderness).

Downstream of Raquette Falls is a number of lean-tos (all fairly nice) and tent sites. Most of the tent sites are downstream of Axton Landing, between there and The Crusher. Most of the tent sites are at least OK, a few of them are small and don't have the easiest access from the river. Others (especially as you get closer to The Crusher) are quite large and with plenty of flat space for tenting, and are really nice overall.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the Raquette River below the falls is a hunting hot spot, particularly for locals. Motorboat access up the river provides an easy approach (and exit) into what is otherwise a fairly wild and remote area. Columbus Day won't quite yet be the busiest part of the hunting season but the big game season will already have commenced. There will be permit hunting camps occupying at least a few of the nicer campsites along the river downstream of the falls, and there may also be weekend hunters occupying the lean-tos.
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