The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740 mile paddling route that links up waterways in New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The route offers a variety of terrain; low water conditions, high water conditions, flat water, swift water and whitewater. These conditions vary depending on location and can be expected with several portages between bodies of water. These conditions are spread throughout the Northern Forest along rivers, ponds, lakes and streams. While using the trail you can also expect to visit outstanding small towns and villages where community is a way of life and the NFCT is more than welcome. Be sure to visit the local cafes, restaurants, markets, inns, B&Bs, primitive and state camping facilities, historic tours and so much more.
The trail starts in Old Forge, New York and ends in Fort Kent, Maine, but along the way it swings right through Saranac Lake. A kiosk can be found in the center of town.
Once you, the paddler, leaves the Town of Long Lake, Saranac Lake is the next major town in your path, but first you will have several miles to go and many paddle strokes to reach it. It is very conceivable to reach Saranac Lake from Long Lake in a day, but it is not recommended, it is quite the distance with many challenges in your path.
As you exit Long Lake you will be back in the narrows of the Raquette River. These narrows will bring you down to Raquette Falls where a long and difficult carry of 1.25 miles is awaiting. Once back in the river at the north end of the falls you will be at a ranger outpost and on much friendlier ground. The river will then lead you through Corey’s and into Stony Creek Ponds. A long but easier carry along Indian Carry to Upper Saranac Lake is next on your trip. Bartlett Carry will bring you to Middle Saranac Lake and the Saranac River will deliver you to Lower Saranac Lake, First and Second Ponds, Oseetah Lake and then Lake Flower in the heart of Saranac Lake. This is an excellent opportunity to reevaluate your needs and supplies and take a well needed rest and shower. Maybe pick up a bite to eat and sleep in a warm bed.
Close, walking distance points of interest are:
Lakes and Trails Outfitters
Saint Regis Canoe Outfitters
Blue Line Sports
Once you leave the Town of Saranac Lake and are fully stocked, you will continue down the Saranac River. This will bring you to Franklin Falls Pond, Union Falls Pond and eventually Lake Champlain in the City of Plattsburgh.
For more information on the NFCT visit: www.northernforestcanoetrail.org/