I spent the weekend kayaking Lows Lake and the Bog River Flow. In my opinion, it is one of the best paddling trips in the Adirondacks. Despite its accessibility, it is very secluded. It is located about 10-miles south of Cranberry Lake and is nestled in one of the darkest patches when looking at a light pollution map of upstate New York.
The journey to the lake can really be broken down into parts. The put-in at the Lower Lows Dam on the Bog River Flow to the Upper Lows Dam near Hitchins Pond (about 3-miles) and the Upper Lows Dam to Lows Lake (about 6-miles). These two sections are divided by a 200-300 meters easy, well defined portage. Despite the ease of the portage, many paddler stop at the Upper Dam for a picnic and then turn around, making it an easy day trip.
For those who are willing to carry their canoe or kayak a relatively easy 300 meters the beauty of Lows Lake awaits. I chose to take the path less traveled and, since I was paddling solo, I had to make a couple of trips between transporting my boat and my gear. From start to finish, it took me about 30-minutes to unpack, transport, repack and go.
From the Upper Dam to the my campsite, which was situated approximately in the middle of the lake on the northern shore, it was a 3-mile paddle down the Bog River flow to another 3-mile stretch through the open water of Lows Lake. Due to the narrow shape of the flow and Lows Lake, the wind did channel and present a fairly robust westerly headwind that I had to paddle through.
From put-in to camp-site was a total of 9-miles, which took me 3-hours including my portage.
The rest of the day I spent at my campsite napping and exploring my immediate surroundings. The camp site on the lake are deemed primitive but most have a privy and an established fire pit. My site could easily of supported two decent size tents in addition to the open fire area. My site had a nice sandy beach area to land on - always an added bonus when paddling a fiberglass kayak.
The next day, I woke up at dawn and explored Grass Pond and the floating bogs. The morning sunrise through the mist over the lake, which was like glass, was surreal. Lows like has a large Loon and Herron population and I saw a beaver swimming around as well. The atmosphere was conducive to casual exploring at a slow, meandering pace - in short, its one of the main reasons I love touring with a kayak.
After my morning paddle, I went back to my campsite for breakfast and coffee and late morning nap. After my afternoon of leisure, I packed up my gear and headed back home. I would have stayed longer, but sometimes you can only paddle so much and I forgot to bring a book. While I love camping and being in the outdoors - I am a doer. And if I have nothing to do, I go out of my mind. Plus, this was my first bit of distance paddling in a couple of years and was admittedly more sore than I should have been.
This is a trip I will do again. I only saw a fraction of what the lake has to offer and didn�t even touch Tomar Pond or the Bog Lake branches of the lake. I also know that some will brave the 2+mile portage that brings you to Oswegatchie River (another trip on my hit list). I spent two days here and could have easily turned this into a 3-4 adventure.
Designated primitive camping sites on Lows Lake.
QCC600x Fiberglass Kayak
From Tupper Lake take NY-30 South to NY-421 W to Lower Dam
Lows Lake and Bog River Map (published by Raquette River Outfitters)
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)