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Indian Lake (Adirondacks) in New York

Trip Overview

Indian Lake is 14 miles long and is part of a chain in the southern Adirondacks. While it was glorified by the Cowsills song, it doesn't suffer the overcrowding and excessive development of the larger lakes in the region.

Nonetheless, our group (Cincypaddlers) chose to go there just after Labor Day and island camp during the week to minimize encountering others. That also avoids the July-August fly season.

Campsites are available on shore and islands by reservation. After much research, I selected one of the highest rated ones, based upon location, views, beach, jump rocks and having only one site on the island. However, after paddling around there in the course of the trip, it's hard to go wrong with almost any of them. It was wilderness camping, save for the outhouse, picnic tables and fire pit. At check-in, we arranged for firewood to be delivered to the island.

John Mack Bay was close to our island and made for scenic paddling and pleasant hanging out. On the northeast side of the lake, you'll find the trailhead for Baldface Mountain. It's a little under a mile and a 562' rise to hike to the summit for a panoramic view.

Paddle to the south end of the lake and then down the Jessup River to the mouth of Dug Mountain Brook. There, you will find a small waterfall. A quarter-mile hike up the brook takes you to a larger one.

Powerboat traffic on the lake was minimal when we were there and it appears that there are few, if any, big ones at any time. The southern end of the lake has the least traffic and development. The waters are generally protected and calm. However, when the wind aligns with the north-south orientation of the lake, you can get significant chop.

Mountains ring the lake for outstanding scenery. As one member of our crew observed, it's like living in a postcard.

Photo album (multiple pages) link:


Sea kayaks




Island check-in and launch is 12 miles north of Speculator, NY on Rt. 30


Indian Lake Campground

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip