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.
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.
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.
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.