This route starts out from the state boat launch site at the south end of Hoel Pond. Hoel Pond is located at the south end, but out of the St. Regis Canoe Area. Turtle and Slang Ponds are both is the St. Regis Canoe Area, hence no motorboats. Hoel Pond does allow motor boats since it is in the wild forest.
Hoel Pond is a large pond with over 6-miles of shoreline to explore. The eastern shores are private and camping sites are located on the pond to the NE and SW. To access Turtle Pond you will need to paddle 1-mile or so over open water to the railroad tracks at the north end of the pond. A culvert drains Hoel Pond and is not designed to travel through. The culvert is wide enough for most kayaks, but it drains steeply downhill with a slight drop on the other end and would be a dangerous and non-successful venture.
There is a carry of roughly 100 feet up and over a steep embankment, over the railroad tracks. The launch is a bit tough on the bare feet, as it’s a gravel path that has expanded slightly out into the water. There are a few campsites along this pond as well and a carry trail to Clamshell Pond on the NW corner.
To reach Slang Pond there is a set of narrows that leads to the west. These narrows are very shallow in one particular spot and during low water, could not offer enough clearance. Again this would only be for about 10-20 feet that you would have to drag over the rocky floor. The water drains to Slang Pond and with enough current it will pull you around the corner and into the open water. There are also a few camping areas on Slang Pond as well that are very attractive. A short carry to Long Pond is located on the western shore.
From this point you can carry to Long Pond and plan a separate pickup location off Floodwood Road or paddle back to the Hoel Pond Boat Launch Site.
Pond Sizes – Approximate Shoreline Length:
Turtle Pond-2.25 miles
Slang Pond-1.7 miles
Hoel Pond to Turtle Pond Carry-1.0 miles
Carry to Turtle Pond-100 feet
Turtle Pond to Slang Pond-0.9 miles
To NW end of Slang Pond-0.7 miles
How to get there:
From the intersection of Route 3 and Route 86 in Saranac Lake follow Route 86 toward Paul Smiths. Continue for 5-miles to Route 186 on the left. Follow Route 186 for 4-miles to its end at Route 30. Follow Route 30 toward Tupper Lake for around 5.5 miles to Floodwood Road on the right. Follow Floodwood Road for 0.35 miles to Hoel Pond Road on the right. Follow here to the Hoel Pond Access Road (dirt road) on the left. Follow this rough road along the golf course to the boat launch, 0.5 miles.
Type of launch:
State boat launch site, less than 100 feet
From Boat Launch Site to Hoel Pond, 30 feet, short steep path down stairs to sandy beach
From Hoel Pond to Turtle Pond, 100 feet, steep up and steep down over railroad tracks, gravel footing
Type of water:
This can be very big water and can produce some very big waves. Motorboats are allowed by shore owners. No motorboat use by visitors.
Well sheltered, calm and flat.
Well sheltered, calm and flat.