Lows Lower Dam to Lows Ridge, A surf and Turf Adventure

A surf and turf adventure is simple, first you paddle (surf) to a hike destination (turf) and then paddle back to your car. The Adirondacks are loaded with opportunities like these and the Saranac Lake Region does not fall short.

For this adventure we started by hauling our boats a bit out of the area and ending up in the Horseshoe Lake Area for the day. We unloaded our car near Lows Lower Dam but had to relocate the car a bit back up the road due to the heavy number of visitors. From here we endured the grueling carry of 100 feet to the sandy shore at Low’s Lower dam on Bog River. The launch itself has been a scenic destination of mine over the years so it’s always a treat to get back to paddle it up close and personal. We started our paddle along the calm waters of the Bog River in a wide area with rocky shores and serene settings. We proceeded down the Bog River into the narrows where we could see bottom at times and what appeared to be floating rocks. I ended up balanced on one of them and a teeter-tottering action started up, I had to fight to relieve myself of my unfortunate grounding with tipping over.


Moving along we enjoyed the river as it widened before us, this gave us time to explore the edges a bit. As we moved through we enjoyed the sounds of the local song birds and even attempted to get a few pictures, which never really turned out. At this point the river is that of a pond and as we continued through this widening an eagle decided to move above us and disappear into the dark shadows of the tall evergreens. Eagles have been seen in the region quite often and have great areas for nesting to the north. Great blue herons can also be seen fishing along the shore in the shallows as well, but we didn’t see any this day.

The rivers course naturally swung us north through another narrow area that quickly brought us to another widening that travels west once again and under the railroad tracks. The opposite side of the tracks bought us to yet another marshy area and tons of red-winged blackbirds, but still now majestic blue herons.

It’s fun to skirt the marshland, as the waters depth are shallow enough to see the small fishes that live there and on occasion stir up a passing otter, so we did just that. We took our time but saw no otters.  As we fed through the final narrows on this trip we finally reached Hitchins Pond. Hitchins Pond is a north to south shaped pond. Heading north first we checked out what looked to be a couple campsites and even more marshland, in hopes of seeing more wildlife.  We then headed south to Low’s Upper Dam and the hike up Low’s Ridge, which is the turf portion of our day. We decided to land and lock our boats to a tree at the grassy area, rather than continue up the stream to just below the dam. Then it was into our hiking boots and the start of our next leg.

The hike passed the remnants of old houses and structures to our right; these were very enjoyable, almost like taking us back in time. There were many wildflowers in the area which made the hike even that more colorful.  Before we knew it, we were at the DEC trailhead for the hike.

The trail started out climbing right off the bat, something I must have forgotten since the year prior; I typically blame that on rerouting.  We moved along quite well as the trail mellowed out and even dropped a bit. Going down on a trail that is supposed to be going up is never a great part of any hike, but since it was relatively short in distance we passed it off as nothing.  We eventually swung around the summit and popped out onto the open rocky top of the ridge. The views are always staggering on this little ridge. We explored the ridge as always, went down to the plaque, walked the narrow rock spines and relaxed for over an hour in the peace a quiet of being the only people on the summit. Hummus, fresh cherry tomatoes, cheese, crackers and dark chocolate got us revved up for the hike back to the boats and the paddle back to the car. Which was nearly similar to the adventure in, except it was all downstream.

Interested in doing a Surf and Turf, check out what a local guide service has to offer. Need a bite to eat? Saranac Lake has plenty of options to choose from. Need to rent a canoe or Kayak to do this adventure? Check out a local gear shop for details. 

Author:Spencer Morrissey
Hobofest Returns to Saranac Lake
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