Paddle your own canoe (or kayak or SUP)

We're called Saranac Lake for a reason; three reasons, actually! There are three Saranac lakes — Upper, Middle, and Lower — and they're all connected by the Saranac River, which flows right through downtown. If you are interested in a day trip and don’t have the gear—no worries! Outfitters in Saranac Lake will hook you up with the everything you need, from kayaks to canoes to SUPs. If you are interested in longer trips, a licensed guide can lead the way or help plan a multi-day outing. 

Start downtown

There are two ways to get on the water from downtown Saranac Lake. For a paddle that boasts backcountry views without actually getting into the backcountry, put-in in the Saranac River and head downstream. If you prefer the feel of bigger water, you can start at the Lake Flower boat launch and head to Oseetah Lake, where views of mountains dominate the horizon. From Oseetah, it’s possible to go all the way to Middle Saranac Lake. 

For a totally different feel, take a lazy paddle on Lake Colby, then go for a swim at the lake’s sandy beach. Be sure to stick around for sunset — this is one of the best places to see it from.

The bow of a canoe on an Adirondack lake with water and mountain views.

More to explore

Saranac Lake is surrounded by lakes and ponds, and most of them are a short drive from town. If you love to paddle and want a true taste of the Adirondacks, don’t miss the magnificent St. Regis Canoe Area. The only designated canoe area in New York state, this 18,400-acre paradise has about 50 ponds and 70 campsites within its boundaries.

For a great sampler of what the St. Regis Canoe Area holds, try the historic and popular Seven Carries route, which goes from Little Clear Pond to Lower St. Regis Lake, passing through numerous ponds on the way to the end point at Paul Smith's College. The Nine Carries is another popular route that offers a couple of options. Before heading out, be aware that it is difficult to use wheeled canoe carriers on many of the trails, so be prepared to carry your gear when tackling a longer route.

Beyond the St. Regis Canoe Area, there are dozens of rivers, lakes, and ponds to explore. Pick up a paddler’s guide and head out today!

Festivals and events

Because paddle sports are so important to us, we celebrate it with a month-long festival! June brings Celebrate Paddling ADK, a month-long celebration of events, guided trips, and other activities centered around paddling.

Saranac Lake is the landing spot for the 90-Miler Canoe Classic, the largest multi-day paddle sports event in the Northeast. This weekend-long race takes paddlers across the “Highway of the Adirondacks” and throughout the Blue Line, from Old Forge to Lake Flower Landing in Saranac Lake. This race is open to all levels of paddlers and all types of boats — just no boats with engines. Along the route, paddlers experience the stunning diversity and beauty of the Adirondacks.

Two kayakers on a pond with a large mountain and fire tower in the background.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Saranac Lake is a stop along the epic 740-mile canoe trail that takes paddlers across the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada. The trail runs from Old Forge, New York to  Fort Kent, Maine.  Whether you plan to paddle the entire route or just a portion, Saranac Lake is a scenic stop along the way.

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK Pledge

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.

 

Moose Pond Ln
Bloomingdale, NY 12913

Moose Pond is a popular 140-acre pond located near Bloomingdale. Fishing, paddling, swimming, camping, and hiking are all common activities.

Paddling on Moose Pond
(518) 891-7450
8 Church Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Second Pond to the Lower Locks on the Saranac River is a beautiful trip that ends at a unique lock, and it is an easy paddle with lots of opportunities to observe wildlife.

Bluff Island, part of the Saranac Lake Islands Campground, is set aside for day use only and makes a fantastic destination for this trip. The paddling route begins on smaller ponds and gradually opens into Lower Saranac Lake. This trip...

View of Bluff Island in the summer
Floodwood Road
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Floodwood Pond is a popular launching point for paddling adventures. It's is remote but close enough that it doesn't take an entire day to get there. You'll only find peace and quiet here.

Fish Hatchery Road
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

The lowdown Little Clear Pond is a fairly large pond with numerous points to explore. It is a great pond to take your time on to explore the shorelines. A sandy beach can be found on the eastern shore of a prominent rock, a popular place to picnic and...

Little Lake Clear starts a paddling journey in the Saint Regis Canoe Area.
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Church Pond is a picturesque, roadside body of water that is equally fun to canoeing or just stop for a photo. Either way, you can't go wrong. Church Pond is on Paul Smith's Conservation Easement lands, and is open for public recreation.

church pond sign
Route 86
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Lake Flower is a great body of water to paddle around with no destination in mind. Best of all, it's accessible right from downtown!

An aerial view of Lake Flower gives a glimpse of the paddling possibilities.
State Route 30
Santa Clara, NY 12980

Follensby Clear Pond to Saginaw Bay offers a variety of paddling. The trip begins on Follensby Clear Pond, which is a very clear pond with shallow water. There are great opportunities to observe wildlife along the route, including loons...

Floodwood Road
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Polliwog Pond is one of the deeper ponds in the area reaching up to 70 feet in some areas. It is well known for being a great place for trout fishing. Polliwog Pond is also a great place to swim from the shoreline with its sandy white beaches.

Canoe floats in the water with gear near the shore. Polliwog sign in the background attached to a tree.
Route 86
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Right in town and totally beautiful: that's Lake Colby. Even though this lake is right in town, there is plenty of wildlife and tons of scenic views.

This clover-shaped lake is perfectly positioned for spectacular sunsets.
Route 3
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

The Middle Saranac Lake to Lower Saranac Lake trip offers spectacular views and the chance to paddle through the manually operated Upper Locks. The route begins on South Creek where you are surrounded by bog plants including sundew...

Get out early and hear the loons.
Route 3
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Upper Saranac Lake is the longest of the Saranac Lakes and offers supreme paddling opportunities.

Upper Saranac Lake is the longest in the Saranac Chain, which offers lots of room to paddle in.
Route 3
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

The paddling route from State Bridge to Ampersand Bay offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the area. Lower Saranac Lake was referred to by the Native Americans as the "Lake of the Clustered Stars," which may have referred to the...

581 Keese Mill Rd
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

The lowdown Keese Mills is the site of a sawmill built in 1851 by Oliver Keese and Thomas Tomlinson. There is a dam north of the put in. The private entrance to the historic Great Camp of Marjorie Merriweather Post and the Rockefeller estate are...

The Paul Smiths area is marvelous paddling among interesting lakes.