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Old 05-04-2015, 10:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 18
new paddler with family - advice

Hi all. I more frequent the High Peaks forum but I have posted here before as well. Here is my question, it can't be unique but looking for some current info.

I have been taking my son (5) on local hiking trips of 3 miles or less and overnight camping (car and one backpack this past weekend). He likes it and is a trooper IMO for a 5 year old. I was thinking something he would like is a canoe paddle to a camping spot where we can camp for a night or two, possible fish, possible do a little hike to a view from the camping spot. You probably get the idea of what I would be looking to do with my son and possibly my wife and/or father. Something moderate to easy, nice, pretty etc. I don't mind if there are other people there. We would probably tent camp, it doesn't have to be a lean to. Being allowed to make a fire would be nice.

So now my other questions - I don't own canoes or kayaks - I have been kayaking on multiple occasions but would not consider myself experienced. I've been canoeing a few times as well. I would be looking to rent boats of some sort and have someone do a drop off and pick up. I like the idea of paddling to an island in one of the lakes and back, but it doesn't have to be that. I'm pretty open to anything that would just be a nice family experience.

Can anyone point me in the right direction or give me some options? I'll be doing my own research as well but personal experience is always the best.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:21 AM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 4,384
Call Brian or Grace McDonnell at Macs Canoe Livery in Lake Clear. They are outfitters in the St. Regis area and will rent you canoes, and point you in the right direction, and provide a shuttle. Tell them "Yukon nessmuk" sent you. Brian ("Mac") organizes many races in the Adirondacks and knows all about canoe/kayak tripping.

Or... contact Dave Cilley at St. Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake. Same deal, and just as friendly. Pick up one of Dave's guide books and paddler's map. It is a treasure house of information on paddling the Adirondacks.

You'll find lots of references pointing you to Lows Lake and the Bog River Flow for a semi-wilderness experience. Raquette River Outfitters on Tupper Lake is a bit closer to that area and have plenty of boats for rent along with good advice on where to go. An easy paddle into Hitchins Pond offers nice campsites and an easy climb up Lows Ridge for fantastic views that you and your 5-yr old will enjoy.

The Saranac Lake Islands Campground is another option for the Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes. Unusual for Adirondack paddling, the bad news is there is a fee and you must reserve a site well in advance. The good news is that once you reserve, it is your site well in advance.

Forked Lake is another such reserve in advance campground. They say they have canoes for rent, but I am not sure they would be of the same quality as you get from an outfitter.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 05-04-2015 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:34 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 18
thank you very much
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
charlie wilson
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Lower Saranac Lake
Posts: 572
Other, equally experienced outfitters in the area include Adirondack Lakes and Trails in Saranac Lake, online at and 518.891.7450, Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, online at and 518.359.3228 and High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid, online at and 518.523.3714. All these and those above rent Wenonah's, but St Regis also has Souris River and AdkL&T and RaqRO also offer more sophisticated designs from Swift, etc. It pays to call and compare deliver rates, etc. RRO has a shop on Long Lake.

Last edited by charlie wilson; 05-07-2015 at 12:34 PM.. Reason: forgot one?
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:30 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 25
Normally I prefer the small quite waterways (say Bog River), but Blue Mountain Lake worked great with my daughter last year. Admittedly, there are plenty of cottages on the lake, but it is still pretty.

A big draw is renting right on the lake (Blue Mtn Livery) and not having to take the time to drive the boat elsewhere. There is camping on Long Island and Osprey Island, and a short hike up to Castle Rock with a nice view of the lake. You could arrange to drop your car at Raquette Lake if you wanted to canoe the Marion River.

I am actually vacillating if I should return (this time with my son) or if we should make the effort to drive the boat to a more remote spot. I think convenience will win.

Whatever you do, enjoy your trip.
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:03 PM   #6
richard p
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Jersey, near Princeton
Posts: 204
Family Camping

Hi. All great advice given. My first introduction to this wonderful area was the St Regis Canoe Area (SRCA). You can rent from St Regis Canoe outfitters on Floodwood road and not worry about transportation. If you choose Floodwood Pond you can launch from there. Floodwood does have island sites, short hiking options and some fun canoe adventure options.. If you choose Long Pond it is a short trip down the road and portage to the water. Lots of great sites (no island anymore), pond hopping opportunities, and a great climb up Long Pond Mountain. I would also recommend the AMC book Quiet Water Canoe Guide - New York or Phil Brown's Adirondack Paddling. Both have great descriptions of the area. Good luck - you will be back again and again. One more thing - the area gets really busy from Memorial day to Labor day, especially on the weekends. Try arriving on a Sunday. If you can, the week before labor day tends to be much less crowded, but fills up for the Labor day weekend.
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