Saranac Lake Islands Camping Questions

I am taking my two kids camping the last week of June. We will be camping at campsite #2 which is located on Eagle Island. This will be our first island/paddling camping trip.

My kids are 7 and 10 and are good campers and paddlers, however all of they are paddling experience is just day trips out on the lake. Best I can tell, it is about two to two and a half miles from the parking spot / boat ramp to the campsite.

How long of a paddling trip can I expect? I was planning on 2 hours. I will be in a 16 ft canoe with all of the camping gear and cooler. My kids will be in a tandem Wilderness SYSTEMS Pamlico 145T with no gear.

I really don’t know what to expect from the paddling. One of the main attractions to this camping trip was paddling a canoe out with all of our gear, however I don’t want to be overwhelmed and I have been considering renting a boat with a trolling motor.

Has anyone camped on Eagle island? What can I realistically expect time wise to paddle there?

Has anyone camped specifically at campsite #2? I have looked for specific photographs online but I can’t find anything for that site, just general photos for the entire lake. I would love to see photos of it if possible.

If you don’t get a good answer here, there is a FB group with lots of people who probably have paddled that area who I’m sure can help. Paddling In The Adirondacks

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I haven’t camped on Saranac but I have stayed and paddled there. I don’t have any idea how long it would take you to paddle there with your kids, sorry, but I would advise you to plan on going as early as possible, since it can get windy on that lake, especially in the afternoons, which would make your paddling much harder.


plus one for timing your crossings and laden paddling excursions to mornings. Upper Saranac can get quite choppy and also has a moderate level of boat traffic. fortunately like most power boating areas, they usually all sleep late…

where will you be starting from? its a beautiful lake and lotsa fun places to poke around

Two and half miles should be a breeze even for younger kids. It is the right length for a trip. You do not need a motor. Go early before the wind. Relax Dad.

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Lol. It sounds awesome but I know it can quickly turn to a nightmare with kids and being alone.

It’s lower Saranac Lake. We are going from the parking boat ramp to the camp site on Eagle Island. There is an eagle island on upper lake too but we are at the campgrounds in lower.

We have a 4.5 hour drive so I’m assuming we will get there about noon unfortunately.

I am guessing you are talking about putting in at the access at State Bridge. While I cannot comment specifically regarding Lower Saranac I do know from experience that those larger lakes in the 'Dacks can become quite windy at times and when the wind is against you the going can become very slow. Also consider that conditions might compel you to hug the shoreline as much of the way as possible, both for safety and to stay out of the wind as much as possible. So a 2 1/2 mile paddle by a more or less direct route could become a 4 mile paddle.

Yeah I think it’s by the bridge. Luckily most of the route is along the shoreline except for the last bit so it shouldn’t be too much out in the open.


Yes the put in at the bridge campground check in is fairly sheltered and a short run up to the lake. The recommendation for early travel still should stand tho as it’s a boater heavy area and the opportunity for wind exists there as well, especially on the lake portion. But def go for it, great area

Consider driving up the afternoon before. Spend the night on shore. Head to the island first thing in the morning. You have kids. Put all the odds in your favor.

For an accomplished paddler solo about 45 minutes. Eagle Island is pretty protected and actually cottage country,
Paddled LSL many times. Launching from Second Pond you will be going downwind after you reach the lake, At no time do you need to be exposed; its easy to hub the shore though I would get the kids up at three am to make a morning launch. You have a four hour drive and it will take you 90 min to organize and get on the water.

If we were talking Upper Saranac and Weller Pond the scenario would be different.

Good day…. I live and paddle in the Adirondacks. I get to paddle the Saranac’s about 5 times or more. Eagle Island will be a haul to paddle out to. Especially in a canoe. Loaded. It’s a big lake. In my opinion the Middle Saranac lake will be a much better paddle for you and the kids. Very picturesque. Lots of campsites on Middle Saranac Lake and on the Weller Ponds which are connected to Middle Saranac. Another option Middle Saranac is you can paddle down into the Saranac River connected to the Middle Saranac without portages. The launch site is great at Middle Saranac. If you choose this option then paddle out to the Weller Ponds. You will really enjoy this lake. Very few power boats on Middle Saranac. Upper Saranac has many power boats zinging by. The lake is very big and big waves kick up suddenly making for a dangerous trip. If I can be of assists you do not hesitate to ask. I am very familiar with these lakes. We can discuss the Ponds in the Saranac/St. Regis area or the Lower Saranac’s putting in at Ampersand Bay. Much better options for you then Upper Saranac……

He’s going to Eagle island on Lower Saranac and putting in at the Rt 3 boat launch. I made the same mistake thinking he meant Eagle on Upper Saranac also

There are very two new leantos on Middle Saranac (that I worked on building). Both are in nice locations. However, I have been in some very big waves on the long 2 mile windy stretch of MSL, including several times during the 90 mile canoe race.
Reaching Eagle Island on Lower Saranac should not be a diffiult route to paddle, even if there is some windy chop. Look at he map, you are only on the open lake for a relatively short distance where there “may” be some wind if any at all.

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Yeah it’s lower Saranac. I heard there is an eagle island on upper too. I already have the reservation so I can’t change to another location.
I attached a photo of a map. I’m going from the P to site #2.

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You don’t want to change the location even if you could… The other Eagle Island is a kids summer camp on Upper Saranac. I have a friend with a house next to the Marina on Lower , scarcely 1000 feet from the Eagle Island you are going to. The bad is its cottage country and motorboats coming in and out of the Marina . The good is help is readily available.

On a direct route, Eagle Island is only a little more than 2 miles to the nearest point on the island by the most direct route. Hugging the east shore, you add about another mile.

Be aware that the prevailing winds are usually west to east, so hugging the east shoreline may not help all that much if the wind kicks up from the west, other than being close to the lee shore if you were to run into trouble rather than being blown out into the middle of the lake.

As others have mentioned, the wind tends to pick up as the day goes on. An early start is best. Monitor the local weather like a hawk and have a plan B if conditions are not favorable. I’ve been on this lake a number of times leading a group, and occasionally we’ve had to change plans due to conditions on the lake. We’ve cut trips short, changed our route, or paddled elsewhere. It’s a pretty big lake. Many people get into trouble every year because they have to be somewhere at a certain time and decide to downplay the risks.

Hopefully, conditions will turn out to be fine and you will all have a great time. Be sure everyone is dressed for immersion and is wearing a PFD. Saranac Lake temperatures can vary widely in June. The average temperature is only about 60°F, but can range from the upper 40s to the lower 70s.

Thanks for all the feedback. We all have PFDs. I’m going to try and leave as early as possible.

What’s the cell coverage like on Lower Saranac Lake and Eagle Island? I have Verizon wireless.

[quote=“calaski8123, post:19, topic:113453, full:true”]
What’s the cell coverage like on Lower Saranac Lake and Eagle Island? I have Verizon wireless.
[/quote] Why does it matter?