Day Tripping in the Adirondacks

I am doing some background research for an article I hope to write on day trips in the Adirondacks. I am looking for any suggestions on good canoe trips that you can do in a day with easy portages. Thinking mostly of flat water or easy class 1-2 rivers. My base will be Saranac Lake, but I am willing to travel within the park for some really outstanding trips. Need feedback by July 29th. Any and all ideas will be much appreciated.



Fulton Chain
Check out the Fulton Chain route. It’s a well-established route that has been used by canoists for many years. You can start in Old Forge, paddle up through Fifth Lake, portage to Sixth, and continue up from there to Blue Mt. Lake. Any local outfitter can provide a map and more details. A great route, providing full flavor of the Adirondacks.

Adirondack Outfitters
Give these folks a try.

Adirondack Day Trips
Check the Wilderness Tripping boat and in the archives. This has been discussed many times

ADK options

– Last Updated: Jul-20-04 7:45 PM EST –

If this is your first venture into this area, I would stay off of all but the last of the Fulton lakes. This water thrashed around into a froth by downstate motorboat and jetski maniacs.
There are three Saranac lakes to paddle. If you are on Upper, this is a pretty big lake that can occupy a ton of time. You can head up into Fish Creek and Rollins Ponds or into Weller Pond. I would carry to Middle (Bartlett Carry, south end of the lake) and paddle Middle to Lower. You get to go through the locks, kind of fun and free.You may access Weller from Middle. Lower has miles of bays and many islands to explore and great fishing. From Lower you can paddle through some more small lakes, another lock into the village of Saranac Lake.
Or (there are so many great options) with a carry (Indian Carry, 1.5 miles from Upper) you can carry to Stony Creek ponds and get into the Racquette River. This will take you all the way to Tupper Lake if you chose. There are lot's of places to camp and really no need to explore the Fulton Chain.
Alternatively, drive to Blue Mountain Lake and paddle through to Racquette Lake! This is a very nice paddle that can connect you to Browns Tract and the Fulton Chain or to the Racqutte.
BTW, prevailing wind from the west is the norm.
The best source for information is an ADK book called Adirondak Canoe Waters North Flow written by Paul Jamieson.

Andy’s Creek
Off of Big Moose Lake (not far from Eagle Bay on rt. 28,) is a nice day trip. Put in at the village dock, please park with care and do not upset the people who live there. Take a Northeast course out of the lake proper, and onto a wide shallow sampy section. Stay in the channel and falloe Andy’s Creek until you pass under a footbridge. Get out and hike the path on river right to the lean-to. Have lunch, admire the falls and return.

I agree with MGC, also consider the Moose River east of the town of Old Forge. There are 2 outfitters in Old Forge who can take you up to the the Rondaxe Bridge put in. Last year we put in the river at 9:25 AM and got back to the outfitters at 3:20 PM Paddled 12 miles on really flat water. There are beaver here, and you may have to drag over a dam or two. There is a 300 yard portage that is easy, and no way to paddle it. The river is extremely crooked, and we paddle it every fall, late Sept or early Oct. The colors are nice, and at times we have put in in the middle and paddled up-stream to get a few hours on this nice stream. We are seniors way over 65, and don’t do anything too risky. None of our friends do this, so we prefer the easy rivers and lakes. We also paddled up the Raquette River, and then float back down. It is pretty easy to do, and lets you go out and back on a river. We too like the St. Regis canoe area, and last year spent part of a day at Upper St. Regis Lake. It is 99 % built up, but the St. Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake told us of a portage put in, and we ate lunch there. You can also paddle far enough easterly to see the camapus of Paul Smith’s College. Good luck, we always enjoy paddling in the Adirondacks, and will return this fall.


chubb river
An interesting paddle is the chubb river. The putin is just a bit south of lake placid. Paddle upstream into a big marsh, then back down.

For such an accessible stream, it feels really remote.

So many choices
The Oswegatchie (pick the right one though) is good, as are the Black, Moose, Grass, St. Regis (beware the water levels), Massawepie etc… There are many great choices. But, for new comers, I recommend starting out with one of the core routes.

I neglected to mention one of the most popular short trips to Saranac. Put in at the Deerlands lean-tos on upper Long Lake and paddle through to the end of the lake (you could start down the lake in the village at the beach). Towards the end of the lake there are some super camping options. Then, head down into the Racquette. It’s very beautiful and an easy paddle. There are carries to consider though. Eventually you will have the option to paddle up Stony Creek into the Stony Creek Ponds and then once again, Indian Carry. The carry takes you to the lower end of Saranac within striking distance of Bartlett carry. If you want to impress your date, stop in at the Wawbeek. Bring lot’s of money.

Those looking for a nice route will note that you can paddle from Blue Mountain Lake or Old Forge all the way through to Saranac Lake using the described routes. The longest route option is to continue through Tupper to Piercefield and beyond. The Racquette (the most dammed river outside of Tennessee) will take you all the way to the St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence…

“The Racquette”
“The Racquette (the most dammed river outside of Tennessee)”

I find this to be a facinating factoid. Do you have a link or any further info available?

Most Dammed
Sure, make me quote my sources… This material is coming from my withered old brain.

I think I read this in an old ADK Life 20+ years ago, but it may have been somewhere else. Since then NIMO has even added one more dam below Pdam, so perhaps the river holds the per mile record.


It’s "Raquette"
And “the Mississippi has 29 dams that block the river for barge traffic in back to back navigation pools from Minneapolis to below Alton, IL, near St Louis” - Tim Palmer, “America by Rivers”