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Saranac Lakes in New York

by  Kenton

A self-supported trip created by Kenton

Trip Overview

On the 1st of July, part of Troop 384, Athens, WV, departed Saranac Lake in 1 canoe and 3 kayaks. We paddled through Lake Flower to Oseetah Lake very uneventfully, even though the wind and current was against us. After passing through Lower State Locks, things started to change as we paddled up the Saranac River into Second Pond. We met a very powerful t-storm that caused us to take cover on the shore, and wait.

After the storm let up, we paddled on to the Lower Saranac campground check in station to register ourselves on the pre selected campsites we had booked about 3 months in advance. We were told that high winds and hail was to be coming our way and we could not reach the sites safely and to proceed to the commissioners island, Larom Island, site #23. As we paddled into Lower Saranac, we were met with a very strong West wind that was no problem for the yaks, but, took some skill for the canoe to get through.

We surfed onto Larom at about noon, and set up our tarp and tents. About an hour later, we had to move the tents to the woods because of the high winds. A very violent wind storm hit a little later, but, no hail. That evening, it calmed down enough to start a fire and cook some ribeyes and baked potatoes.

The next morning, the sun came out every now and then, but the wind was still there. We had to portage across the island to launch, a first for me, and then, with much map planning, proceeded to use every island and little bit of cover from the Northwest edges of the lake to get through the Narrows and the Upper State Locks on the Saranac River.

The lock operator warned us of the condition of Middle Saranac lake, and said that a motorboat had floundered when it took on water from the waves as it entered the lake. As we came into Bull Rush Bay, the waves were about 4+ feet, and crashing over the beach and brush. We some how got into a little shelter near the Bronze lean to and ate a candy bar. We then proceeded towards Windy Point to King's Bay and campsite #80. It was a long and slow journey, but we made it and again, surfed onto the site.

The next morning, we left the site and paddled without the wind to Bartlett Carry. I got to use my new Paddleboy yak wheels, they work great, and we made the 1-mile portage in less than an hour, and ate lunch in Huckelberry Bay.

Our friend the wind was back with us on Upper Saranac, but was now a little to the rear and left of us and it was like a blessing from heaven as we just floated and surfed our way to Buck Island, there staying 2 days and recovering from the past 2.

Still sore from blisters on hands and a few muscles that were not used to such hard paddling, we pulled out from Buck Island, only to find out that the wind had picked up again and we had to paddle around the island and across to Butternut Point, to get across the lake to Fish Creek Bay. We then proceeded up Fish creek through Square Pond, Little Square Pond, to Floodwood Pond, and we stayed about the mid way point of the lake that night. The next morning, we paddled out to the take out, at St. Regis Outfitters.


We used St. Regis Outfitters for advice on campsites and fishing areas. We did rent one yak paddle and bought our maps from them. We use them for a shuttle for our vehicles from their Saranac Lake base to their Floodwood Pond base. They were very nice and Dave Cilley, who owns the service, was very helpful and knowledgeable.

We had one Nova 17 Mohawk canoe, one Old Town 160t, one OT 138t and a Dagger Savannah.


You have to reserve the campsites on Lower and Middle Saranac Lakes, and get permission to camp from the ranger for Upper Saranac Lake.


We took Rout 3 from Tupper lake to Saranac Lake, and getting on Route 86 in Saranac lake. St. Regis Canoe Outfitters is north of the river, just across the bridge on Broadway, and to the left, in an alley. You should see the canoes and yaks in the alley.


Just call Dave Cilley at St. Regis to get all the info you will need. Phone # 518-891-1838.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location