St. Regis trip report

-- Last Updated: Aug-31-04 8:26 AM EST --

Sandy & I just returned from a 5-day trip in the St. Regis Canoe Area. The weather was warm, night temps around 60, with no more than a little mild rain one night. No bugs other than a very few mosquitoes. The leaves are starting to turn color up that way, most notably the sugar maples! Looks like mid-September instead of the end of August. Here’s a little trip report took a few pics, @ link:

Wednesday evening: parked and put in at Hoel Pond, paddled through to Turtle & Slang, carried over into Long Pond and camped on the north shore. It was almost dark and difficult to see campsites so we were lucky this one was open. Although a very nice site it is also very overused, with almost no dead/down wood to be found. Beautiful moon on the water and a few loons providing the usual mood music.

Thursday: Broke camp after coffee & breakfast & single-carried through to Nellie, Kit Fox, LittleLong and then over the esker to Fish Pond. The carry trail was unusually muddy and slippery in the low-lying section between Long and Nellie, making the going a little slow and tricky in spots. Finding the Blagden lean-to occupied and the other lean-to unoccupied but uninviting we chose a site across from the esker carry. After setting up camp, we carried the canoe down into Clamshell and paddled around the unoccupied pond to investigate future campsite opportunities there. We will definitely be going back there. Too bad the carry from Clamshell to Turtle is still closed!

Friday: Broke camp and carried (again single) down to Ochre pond. Because of the recent rains and muddiness of the trails I opted to skip paddling through Mud pond and carried the whole way along the ridge trail. By the time we reached Ochre I was regretting that decision and next time I will choose to struggle with the mud at Mud pond! We paddled down Ochre and into the inlet from St. Regis pond. The inlet is usually quite navigable but this time water levels were low and we had to struggle to line through it for about a fourth of the way. Still better than carrying through the Ochre-St. Regis carry trail. Paddled across St.Regis, carried into Green pond, paddled across, then carried into Little Long Pond. Set up camp at the northernmost site near the Bear pond carry, not a bad site. A family of loons occupied the lake, 2 adults and 2 still-brown chicks. It was awesome watching them in front of our campsite. The parents fished and fed the young-uns while we watched. Spent the afternoon hiking, bushwacking to a little pond in back of our site, out to Bear pond and back, then hiked on the trail across the shore which led us to Upper St. Regis Lake. It rained a little in the night but stopped by morning.

Saturday: Carried over to Bear pond then Bog pond and into Upper St. Regis Lake. Paddled across through light motorboat traffic into Spitfire. This was our first trip to Paul Smith’s so we didn’t know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised when we left Spitfire and into the boggy channel leading to Lower St. Regis Lake and Paul Smith’s. Very beautiful area. The smells coming off of the bog are some of the most pleasant smells in the world! Lower St. Regis was quiet except for a few canoes and kayaks. We found the public landing at the Paul Smith’s campus and took out there. My timing is incredibly bad, it was moving-in weekend for the college. It was overrun with students & parents & we were so embarrassed because we’d been camping for 3 days & it showed! I wanted to scout the path to Church pond though, so we walked through the campus and up to rt. 86 and found the pond. I’m planning to trip through from Lake Kushuqua at some point in the future so I wanted to familiarize myself with the area. We headed back to the DEC launch via a little more discrete route so we didn’t offend the college kids hanging out at the dorms and staring at us as we went by. Returned to camp and decided to check out Grass pond off the East shore of Little clear pond while we were in the area. We carried over to St. Regis pond and took the alternate carry trail into Little Clear, found the trail into Grass, carried the canoe in and paddled around to check out the 2 campsites there. Returned to camp and settled in for the night.

Sunday: Moving day. Headed out to Little Clear the same way as the previous evening. Our car was parked at Hoel pond so we thought we’d try to work our way a little closer by carrying over into Little Green pond then Rat pond. We found the carry easily enough, paddled across Little Green to the takeout at campsite #12. We left the boat & gear at the parking lot behind #12 and hiked across the tracks, around Rat pond and down to rt. 30, floodwood rd and then Hoel pond. We were tempted to cut across the golf course and save ourselves about a mile but the no trespassing signs deterred us. It took about 50 minutes but we finally made it to the car, drove back to pick up the boat & gear & headed home. If we do this again, I’ll definitely have to find a better way to get from Rat pond to Hoel! Suggestions anyone for a more direct route (already thought of bike & alternate car, forget the $$$huttle!)? How about the railroad?

Oh yeah, caught a Lilydipper broadcast update of the Blackwater challenge on the car radio on the way home. Hope you stayed dry, Joe, it was raining like hell when we went through Watertown!


Turtle to Clamshell carry
Why is the Turtle to Clamshell carry closed ??

Thanks for the trip report . I am looking at putting in at Second Pond and paddling though the Saranacs and into the St. Regis area, taking out at Little Clear Pond (a local friend is doing shuttle service for me ) sometime in mid September .

As for getting from Little Clear back to Hoel, I have walked it - takes only about an hour or so, quicker if you hitch a ride - carrying a paddle while walking will tell cars what your intent is and make it a little easier for them to decide whether to pick you up . I would rather do that than leave a bike for several days ; years ago ( like 20 ) a friend of mine had a pack stolen that he left at the Little Clear take out while he hitched back to Second Pond - he was only gone a few hours .

Clamshell carry trail
I believe that the trail is closed because of beaver activity. It has been closed for a couple of years. A Unit Management Plan for this area is now being developed. Drop an email to DEC at to advocate for the reopening of this carry.


fish pond
If your ever at fish pond again, climb the mountion in back of the blagdon lean-to at 20 degrees, you wont regret the vieu