Adirondack campgrounds

What are the best car campgrounds in the Adirondacks, located close to a variety of good kayak day trips? I originally thought to do a kayak camping trip but have decided I want to bike, hike, and kayak in the same one-week trip. I would love to hear your recommendations as to general area and specific campgrounds.

Do I need a reservation at this time of the year?

Adk campgrounds
start here

Looking for personal favorites
Got any?

I think you may have answered this before, but I can’t find the thread. Sorry!

Cranberry Lake
For your purpose, you can hike several trail systems from the Campgrounds, Mountain Bike others, Road bike for hundreds of miles, kayak Cranberry, Low’s (thru a portage), the Oswagatchie, and many nearby lakes and rivers.


My favorite
Rollins Pond State Campground. Access to a great loop paddle starting and ending right from your camp. Several sections of Raquette River and many areas of the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness area within easy driving distance, along with Saranac Lakes and Tupper Lake.

I also recently camped at Lake Eaton state park, and that also had nice access, but the facilities at Rollins Pond are better. If you stay at Rollins, try to get on the “A” loop.

I’d make reservations, but that is me. This time of year, if you are not picky, you probably won’t have a problem, although with the recent good weather I understand that campgrounds have been unusually busy lately.


Campgrounds open in fall
A press release was issued today with the campsites that will remain open this fall. You should be able to find it shortly (within a day or two) at:

Rollins Pond looks excellent!
Lots of ponds to explore in the area, and near Saranac Lake for supplies. I see some hiking trails as well. Thanks for that idea. Some questions:

  1. Can I camp there after it closes? According to the DEC website it closes on Labor Day.

  2. Is there a charge when it’s closed?

  3. How can I tell if there is a place to launch at all the ponds I see on the Adirondacks Northwest Lakes map?

    Thanks for any info you can provide!

Agree with Mr. plaidpaddler:

– Last Updated: Sep-08-09 5:46 PM EST –

Cranberry Lake would work for you.

If you choose Cranberry, probably see you on the water.



Rollins Pond and Fish Creek
Rollins closes early. It was an extension of Fish Creek when demand exceeded the 300 available sites there. When Rollins closes, Fish Creek absorbs the demand. Even some of Fish Creek closes before hunting season.

We will be in Fish Creek this sat. and Sunday with the Adirondack Classic 90 Miler. When we leave they winterize the last 75 or so sites.

From Fish Creek you can paddle out into Upper Saranac and from their portage to Middle Saranac or Stoney Creek Ponds and thru Stoney Creek access the Raquette River.

From Fish Creek Campground you can also injoy a relaxing paddle up Fish Creek thru several other ponds to Floodwood Pond and on to Rollins Pond and with couple short portages, back to Fish Creek Ponds. From Floodwood you can access the St. Regis Canoe Area.

From Fish Creek its a short carry to Follensby Clear Pond, or you can paddle out of Fish Creek Ponds toward Upper Saranace and turn up Spider Creek and into Follensby Clear Pond. On Follensby Clear Pond there are numerous sites that are free, first come, first served. Several on an island and more on a shore that is foot accessible from the parking lot on Rt. 30.

Nice area with tons of possibilities. Biking is good, but i am not familiar with the hiking except for the carry trails.


paddling and pedaling
"3. How can I tell if there is a place to launch at all the ponds I see on the Adirondacks Northwest Lakes map?"

Stop by any of the sporting shops and get one of the canoe map or paddlers map (I know of two). You may also look for the small free “canoe route” booklet which shows some of the popular paddle routes. All the maps will show launch points, paddle routes and carries.

I’ll second the Fish Creek campground. You can launch right from the campground.

For bike, depends on how far you want to ride, there’s a short bike trail going right through the campground to get you started. You can head north towards Lake Clear and Paul Smith. Or south to Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. I just did a 60 mile loop from Saranac Lake to Fish Creek, Lake Clear, Paul Smith and back to Saranac Lake. Gorgeous routes! Even during Labor Day weekend, there’s not much traffic. Most roads have pretty good shoulder too.

Ampersand Mt is
just down the road on Rt 3. Excellent views from the top.

Amphibious Ampersand

– Last Updated: Sep-24-09 7:21 AM EST –

Mr/Ms Bird
As you'll note from that NW lakes map, you can also hike "&" from the great beach on the E shore of Middle Saranac L. May want to also consider checking out the hand operated lock short distance below the trailhead before returning via the Saginaw carry to Upper Saranac & campground thus closing a nice loop.

ADK area …
hi …for consideration …the Old Forge/Rt. 28/30 area on thru to Blue Mountain Lake and on into Long Lake area has plenty of hiking/ camping/ kayaking/ biking opportunities. there’s camoing @ Limelikn State park …/ Browns tract state park to name 2 areas…lots of lakes and little ponds / inlets , etc to xplore for a day.