An authentic paddling destination

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 all your rental needs, from kayaks to canoes to SUPs. Those same outfitters also sell all the paddling gear you could ever need. If you are interested in longer trips, a licensed guide can lead the way or help plan a multi-day outing. For those looking to fully immerse themselves in a paddling adventure there are even opportunities for canoe and kayak camping near Saranac Lake, including campsites where you'll have a whole island to yourself.

A family of four uses kayaks rented in Saranac Lake to paddle on Lake Flower with Mountain Mist Ice Cream in the background.
A couple canoes on a lake while the rising sun washes the surrounding water and trees in a golden glow
Photograph from a paddler's point of view on a lake with mountains and forests in the background
A couple uses canoe oars as air guitars in front of a rack of canoe rentals while a Saranac Lake outfitter explains the rental options available.

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


Kayaks on a dock


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.

Even if you are not paddling downtown, the other lakes and ponds in the area are not very far away! Within a short drive you could be at any number of ponds: Church Pond, Osgood Pond, Moose Pond, Floodwood Pond. The choices for canoeing and kayaking near Saranac Lake are endless, and many of them are connected so you don't have to choose just one!

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.

Two women paddle a blue canoe in one Saranac Lake's secluded waterways
A single-person canoe paddling in the sunset
Photograph of a man paddling along a peaceful lake in a canoe
Woman smiling while holding an oar as she sites in the front of a canoe rental from a Saranac Lake outfitter

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. 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 guidebook from a local retailer and head out today!

Two canoes and a kayak paddle away from the camera and towards the backdrop of the Adirondack mountains

Paddling 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. In 2023, Saranac Lake is hosting the Adirondack Paddling Symposium. This four day informative, fun, and educational events will put paddles in your hands and help develop skills! Stick around until July, because the paddling events just don't stop! On July 2, you'll have the chance to see some classic Adirondack Guideboots race across the water in the Willard Hanmer Guideboat and Canoe Race!

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. Looking for more? The 90-Miler is just a small portion of 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, race in the 90 or leisurely explore, Saranac Lake is a scenic stop along the way.

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

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.

Banner for the Love Your ADK site with woman in purple jacket staring at mountains with the text PLEDGE TO LOVE THE ADIRONDACKS and a button saying "Learn More"

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

Safety is important while preparing for a canoe or kayak adventure. Always be sure to wear a PFD, keep first-aid supplies in a waterproof container, carry a map, and clean boats to be free and clear of non-native aquatic invasive species.

(518) 891-7450
8 Church Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters is your one stop, full service paddling and outdoor shop. We have a complete rental and outfitting service available and 20 years of guiding and instruction experience in the Adirondacks. Whether you're a skilled...

(518) 891-1838
73 Dorsey Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

St. Regis Canoe Outfitters is ideally situated with two bases on the water: Our Saranac Lake Base is in the village right on the Saranac River, a part of the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Our Floodwood Outpost is on Floodwood Pond at the edge...

View from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters' Saranac Lake retail space on the Saranac River
Route 86
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Right in town and totally beautiful: that's Lake Colby. The lake is dense with plant growth in some areas, which is fun to explore if you are interested in water plants like water lilies and grasses.

This clover-shaped lake is perfectly positioned for spectacular sunsets.
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.
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.

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
581 Keese Mill Rd
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Paddle this peaceful stretch of river from Keese Mills Road to Paul Smith's College.

The Paul Smiths area is marvelous paddling among interesting lakes.
Forest Home Road
Lake Clear, NY 12945

Beyond Lake Clear itself, the Outlet is a great place to explore wildlife and plants!

Lake Clear has much shoreline to explore.
Floodwood Rd
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

The Long Pond to Little Pink Pond canoe route takes you into the St. Regis Canoe area.

1347 Pine St
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

The Saranac River is a beautiful meandering river. You start right in town and drift downstream into a more wild setting.