Forked Lake is a state campground in NY, with designated campsites. Several are drive to sites, a few more can be hiked to, however the majority are accessible by boat only. Though motor boats are allowed, most sites are used by paddlers. There is also a free lean-to shelter available on the south shore of the lake.
I went with a camping group from Meetup.com. I had corresponded with one member who suggested we share a campsite. I said I'd bring my tandem canoe and we planned to use it to paddle over to our site.
When we met at the launch on Thursday evening, we took a look at all of our equipment - realized that there was no way everything would fit in my Mad River Explorer. Not a problem because canoe rentals are available on site. So she rented a canoe and we packed up and headed across the lake.
The sites are all fairly close to the launch. The farthest site is about an hour paddle and some only involved a paddle of a mere 10 minutes. It took us 40 minutes to reach our site. Our group had reserved sites 53-57. Because we were there first we chose 54 which seemed to be the nicest of the bunch.
The weather was perfect, sunny skies and not much wind. We made camp and had a nice dinner. The next morning I did a bit of fishing from the rocky shore while my partner slept in late. The rest of the group wasn't expected to arrive until Friday evening.
After breakfast we hopped into my canoe to explore a creek at the north end of the lake. We paddled until the water became too shallow to venture farther. It was a shallow, winding creek lined with alder that reminded me a bit of the Oswegatchie River. After exploring that stream we then paddled the lake shore looking at the various camp sites for future reference.
My partner had camped there many times before and showed me some of her favorite sites. The nicest seemed to be 40-45 which were perched on rocks overlooking the lake.
About 1/4 of the sites have small floating docks, the rest, like ours, have rough rocky landings with the exception of one site that had a nice, sandy beach for landing.
Friday afternoon, because my partner had some business to conduct and needed Internet access, we paddled back to the launch. Fifteen minutes later were camped on the deck of the Adirondack Hotel enjoying some local craft brews and wine.
Her business finished we did a little sight seeing and shopping in town and were back at the launch by 6 in the evening. We ran into the rest of our group who had just arrived and paddled together to our sites. We had purchased several bundles of wood at the campground office and enjoyed a good sized bonfire that night.
The next day the group set out to explore the lake. We paddled a good distance up a stream that would have taken us into Raquette Lake had we continued in that direction. We stopped on a large boulder in a cove to have lunch.
Back at the camp we enjoyed a shared dinner and another bonfire once the sun set.
I awoke early Sunday morning to a glass-like lake and took the canoe out to do a little fishing. Not much going on with that other than hooking into a nice smallmouth bass that put up one hell of a fight and gave my canoe an Adirondack version of the "Nantucket sleigh ride".
I arrived at our campsite just as my partner was waking up and we had a nice breakfast, broke camp and made the short paddle back to the launch.
All sites have a picnic table, fire ring, bear box and outhouses. Some sites have docks.
Campsites are $18 a night ($23 for out of state residents). Canoe rentals are $20 a day
From Albany take 87 north to exit 23. Take Rt 28 to Rt 30 and make a left North Point Rd and a right onto Forked Lake Campground Rd. The road dead ends at the campground
NY DEC (518) 624-6646
Adirondack Paddlers Map
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water