Canoeing in the Adirondacks...Help

Does anyone know of any good canoe portages in the ADKS? Looking to canoe for about 3-4 days. What are some good rivers, lakes etc.? Don’t want to have to portage too far in between lakes, rivers.



ADK paddling
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The ADK Forum is dedicated to the Dak’s and the regulars are knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Happy Paddling,

Grandpa P.

ADK routes
Great place to paddle.

If you are new to this area I would suggest putting in at Blue Mountain Lake and pushing through to Upper Saranac. That’s about a 5 day depending on how you do it. There would be carries into Racquette (short, flat), into Forked (short, flat), into Long(a few miles, Ranger can drive you, around Racquette Falls (short and hilly), into Upper from Stony Creek (Indian Carry, one good hill and then about 1.3 easy miles. Or to shorten up you can pull out near (Axton Landing)or in Tupper.

Or, you could start in Long and push into Lower Saranac. You would carry around the falls, into Upper (Indian Carry), into Middle (real short), through the locks (kind of neat) into Lower. That would be 3 or 4 days.

Or you could put in at Upper and push through to Saranac Village. That’s a quick one 1/2(or less) day into the Saranac River.

Or, you start in Lower and paddle up to Upper, carry into Stony Creek and jump into the Racquette and paddle into Tupper. That could be 2 days or so.

Or, or, or, so many rivers and routes. I would start out with Blue Mountain lake into Racquette if it was me.

Don’t go without this book: Adirondack Canoe Waters - North Flow Paul Jamieson and Donald Morris.

Stay away from Old Forge and that chain of lakes. Too many motor boats and city folks thrashing the water to death in seadoos.

You want good portages?

You ask in your heading for portages and then state that you don’t want to carry very far. The portage IS the carry, and the best is when you don’t have to portage. MGC gives you a route that has some of the longest and nastiest in the whole Adirondacks. From Blue Mountain Lake to Raquette Lake is a nice trip with a short flat carry at the end of the Eckford Chain of Lakes to the Marion River. Raquette Lake is beautiful, but can be the roughest lake in the Adirondacks when the wind, which is often, is up. You will making a crossing from St. Huberts Lake ( a big bay) to the outlet bay which puts you in an area where the waves can be really, really big. The carry from Raquette to Forked Lake is short, and on a gravel path/road. After Forked Lake comes a long series of carries around a dam, falls, and rapids. A good morninigs work with camping gear.

After Long Lake (the lake that never ends) you have a nice paddle down the Upper Raquette River to Raquette Falls, then my personal favorite as worst carrry in the Adirondacks, a full mile and half up a flight of stone steps and over a rough rocky slippery trail over a ridge. The lower Raquette from the falls to Axton’s Landing is winding and beautiful, with lots of campsites. From Axtons, you wind up Stoney Creek to Stoney Creek Ponds and then the new Indian Carry to Upper Saranac Lake, a nice walk, but over a mile thru the woods, across RT 3 and down a gravel road to the put-in.

From Upper Saranac to Middle Saranac the Bartlett carry is pleasant, the last half is thru some nice mature woods on a mostly soft path. Middle Saranac is a nice paddle, but from there thru Lower Saranac Lake the campsites require registration at the Rt. 3 boat launch.

For shorter carries and less boat traffic, check out the St. Regis Canoe area. Many access points and many ponds and lakes to choose from. The connecting carries are mostly short and well maintained. You can do loops that will cover many bodies of water and not require a vehicle shuttle. the campsites are free and first come.

Going into the Bog River Flow and Low’s Lake gives you days of paddling with only one short carry at the upper dam. Lots of campsites and lots of privacy, except near the Sabattis Scout Camp during summer session. Lots of smart bears also on the islands near Sabattis and the north shore campsites.

You will get lots of help on this board, and take any advice from Glen L as gospel. He knows every tree and when it sprouted.


Racquette Falls carry is my favorite
Funny. Racquette carry is my favorite one. It is a bit tough but very beautiful. From the first rise away from the river to the balsam smell at the far end, I always seem to find an inner piece there. I remember suffering through as a young Boy Scout. Later, when my boys were still small, I carried our 20-foot White and then doubled back for gear. As the boys grew older I would haul two canoes while they helped my wife with the gear. Lunch on the far end is always a welcome treat! I’ll never forget the day when my older son tossed a boat up on his shoulders and headed up the trail in front of me. For us that was a rite of passage. I only had to carry one way that time.

I guess we all look for different things. I also have fond memories of Mud Pond Carry, a carry that Thoreau’s Indian described as one of the worst places in the world.

I do agree that the St Regis Lakes are another fine option.

Adk options

Your profile indicates your favorite paddling location is the Adks. Assuming that means you’ve paddled there previously are you seeking new places to experience ? There are uncountable paddling opportunities inside the Blue Line. If you can be a bit more specific as to what you’re looking for it would be much easier to provide an appropriate reply. There are numerous Adk destinations in the places2paddle section of this website. You can also check out the interactive paddling map here;

W/O some additional parameters it’s difficult to provide specific answers to your question in a region that covers 6 milion acres & provides many varied 3-4 day trips

My “favorite” also
Raquette Falls Carry. I’ve only done it once. See my bio.

The St Regis area is a great place
depending on the loop you take, there are long and short carries. If you have wheeles for your canoe, you can easly get to fish pond with little trouble

try the St Regis Canoe area

Blue Mountain Lake
So funny! Our family has been vacationing at Blue Mountain Lake for eight years now! Maybe I should call The Booth Brothers at the Boat Livery there and ask them for some routes! How stupid am I? Da.


Jerry (a.k.a. Attention deficit boy)

You are a god! Great options!

No whining about carries
"Wheelies", “coolers full of beer”.

Perhaps some pavement and motorized boat carriers could improve the quality of carries. Damn.

Any chance you guys paddle Grumman or Coleman canoes?

Yeah, I paddle a Coleman
And I don’t have any problem with Coolers of Beer. I don’t have a “wheelie”, if you mean a wheeled canoe cart, and who is whining, anyway?


I don’t recommend the Raquette carry if you are out of shape or otherwise inexperienced. The maps all suggest that it’s 1.5 miles, but it’s actually under 1 mile and a nice wide path. Even so, there is a decent bit of elevation change.

I second the SRCA recommendation. Shorter portages and a bit less people. On Long Lake and the Raquette you will see plenty of motor boats.

I have a few videos here:

and a few photos here: