Lake George NY

-- Last Updated: Apr-09-16 6:45 PM EST --

Any one have an experience kayak camping on the islands of Lake George NY?

I have 6-7 opportunities over the summer for 2-3 day kayak camping trips and was thinking of trying Lake George.

I went on-line to make reservations and found the following:

1.) the islands don't officially open for camping until Mid-May

Anyone know if camping is allowed off-season?

2.) You are required to make reservations for a camp site for a minimum of two nights. Urg! Most times I have just two days and one night to go camping... I could just make a reservation for 2 nights and use the site for one nights but at $30/night, paying $60 to camp one night on an primitive island seems a little outrageous.

I have heard you can sometimes get walk-up campsites, but what do you do if you drive 3 hours, paddle 5 hours, and find they have no walk up sites? Makes it really hard to plan...

Anyone have any advice?


Google Earth

– Last Updated: Apr-12-16 3:34 PM EST –

the campsites for space n access.

Cell phones ! no speeding with cranks.

try searching: Blog: Lake George NY State camping

for example.

Lake Eerie and the St Lawrence nearby ?

Try the wilderness sites

– Last Updated: Apr-25-16 9:41 PM EST –

I paddle camped at Lake George a few summers ago. It was a nice trip, but I much prefer some of the nearby "wilderness" lakes where you don't need to worry about reservations. Just paddle until you find an open site.

Some that come to mind:
Little Tupper Lake/Round Lake (they are connected) and a short carry over a dam can bring you to the very remote Rock Pond
Bog River/Hitchens Pond/Lows Lake (short carry over the dam to Lows Lake)
Lake Lila (a short carry to the launch, but nice once you are there).

If you are completely against carrying, Little Tupper, Round Lake and Hitchens Pond are excellent alternatives to Lake George and you won't need to deal with reservations, motor boats and crowds. The sites aren't as developed as those on Lake George, but most of the sites have toilets.

If you are looking for a bit more in amenities (picnic table, dock, bear box), Forked Lake is a state campground with mostly paddle to sites, but similar to Lake George you will need reservations. They may not be as hard to come by as Lake George and you won't have to worry about the wake of cabin cruisers. It is much more laid back. You can try a walk up there and if one isn't available, Little Tupper is only a 30 minute ride away.

Check out the series of Adirondack Paddlers Maps (check Google). They show hundreds of wilderness paddle to sites that don't require reservations and are an awesome resource for planning paddle camping trips.

Lake George Island Camping
To answer your question; yes, you can camp on the islands in the “off” season. The biggest thing you’ll find is the lack of docks. That might not be a big deal for you but it does make it difficult to access some of the islands but certainly not all of them. As to paddling on the lake, I’ve only been on Lake George for an event in early October. Even then there are days when the wind makes it difficult to paddle; and don’t even get me started on the power boaters. Some of the rudest people I’ve ever had to share space with on a lake have been in power boats on Lake George. Unless you have a specific reason for heading there I’d suggest you find a more quiet place but I’ll leave that up to you as only you know what you’re looking for; or are willing to put up with.

That’s all for now. Take care and until next time…be well.


Lake George…
G’day…I’ve paddled Lake George numerous times. Il live in Queensbury the town next to Lake George…Personally, I wouldn’t camp during the summer months on that lake…it is way too conjested w/power boats zooming by constantly…During the off-season it gets better. For instance after Columbus Day the Lake becomes less conjested. You can pick your campsite w/o registering…the Mother Bunch Island group and the Narrows are the best places to camp…Launching from Northwest Bay is your best option…if you have questions feel free to e-mail me. There are so many more nicer, more serene places to camp and kayak in the Adirondacks than Lake George…

How I did it
1) season: I echo others opinion of not camping during the main summer season between Memorial day and Labor day. Power boats noise can be rather annoying.

However, island camping only goes till 3rd week of September. So that’s the short window of September. I camped the last weekend of the official season. Quiet and nice. Had the lake mostly to myself.

I camped on one of the small island in the narrow. There’s something magical to camp on my own “private island”, even if only for 3 days and 2 nights.

2) 2 night minimum: I wanted to camp 2 nights anyway so it didn’t bother me. The middle day, I went up north on the lake and back to the island. Then on the 3rd day, I took a roundabout route to see the southern part of the lake.

Kayak Camping
After the season closes, not one official party will say its OK to camp on the island. However, they will use language such as “I can’t tell you whether you can or cannot”

Apparently there is New York State, Lake George Park Commission and the local police/fire departments who all have different opinions but probably dont want to do any off-season rescues.

But I know people who have camped on the islands off-season.

I would put in just south of Clay meadows, Tongue mountain Range. Then you can camp anywhere on the Tongue above reproach and legally if some body kicks you off the island. Minimum 150’ from any water or trail…

Unlike prior years, I have seen LGPC patrols out in late September.