Coming Home to Saranac Lake
Finding Lots of Birds Just by Taking a Simple Walk


There is a derth of RV camp sites in NY. Our state lagsway behind most states in the number and locations of such sites. Some of the problem is related to ADK Park laws. It's a shame that many people can ot enjoy the recreation opportunities here that we enjoy in near-by states. Also, too bad ADK communities miss out on a lot of money from rv'ers.

You call it a shame about the lack of RV sites, but as someone who tents I call it a miracle. Also, as someone who has camped in several ADK state campgrounds... just because there's non hook-ups doesn't mean people can't take RV's. I've seen pleanty. My parent's camper is the size of a small RV and they take it to several campgrounds in the ADKs.

Additionally, it's not as if the state really loses out on RVer revenue. There are state parks that I refuse to camp at because they are aimed at RV's and have no trees or tent-only sites/sections. I want to see trees, not somebody's glorified bus.

Our camping is a wilderness wonderland

Saranac Lake has a wonderful range of Adirondack campgrounds to choose from. Whether it's a full service RV hook-up or a tent in the wildest of the wilderness, we have a full range of very cool spots.

Camping is a great way to really feel the wild places around us. Maybe it's that first cup of "cowboy coffee" as we listen to the loon cry over the lake. Maybe it's sitting around the campfire, watching beloved faces laugh in the flickering light. Maybe it's the s'mores, which taste far better toasted over an open flame than they do from the microwave.

Whatever our camping dream might be, our Lake Country offers a lovely setting for it.

personal island

Our NYS Department of Conservation manages a multitude of delightful camping facilities, and some of the most popular are the Saranac Lake Island campgrounds.

Yes. You can have your own island.

To get to your island camping spot in the Saranac Chain, you'll need a boat. Of course.

The lakes known as Lower and Middle Saranac Lake contain 87 shoreline campsites, 54 of which are water access only. And the rest would take quite a bit of hiking! So, like any (temporary) island owner, a boat is essential.

This restricts our equipment somewhat, but greatly expands our horizons. Every view is a lakefront view. Dogs are welcome and they can romp in the lake. There are miles of wilderness to enjoy, yet a festive time in Saranac Lake's downtown is only a boat ride away.

We're not castaways when we came here on purpose.

Island camping takes a bit more planning and logistics, but it pays off with a completely unique experience that draws people back, year after year.

Find out more about Saranac Lake Islands camping. Watch the video, above.

a cluster of ponds

The delightful twin campground complex of Rollins Pond State Campground and Fish Creek State Campground make for some lively recreational choices. In addition to the Rollins and Fish Creek ponds, there is the trout-stocked Whey Pond, and the broad paddling expanse of Square Pond.

Fish Creek is one of the most admired and popular campgrounds in the Adirondack Park. It has a an organized recreation activity program, held every day at its beautiful outdoor Amphitheater. Children can enjoy interpretive nature hikes, outdoor crafts, fun games, and live entertainment. It runs from the end of June through Labor Day. 

Fish Creek also has a swimming beach with bath house.

Come ready for lakeside fun at Fish Creek Pond

Off the water there are great hiking opportunities. Both Floodwood Loop and Otter Hollow trails are accessible from either campground. Little Black Pond lies only minutes away down the Otter Hollow trail, and is a secluded trout pond.

This hiking trail connects the two campgrounds

Most of Rollins Pond campsites are directly on the water, and the remainder have water views across the road. They also have boat and canoe rentals. This is a great choice if you don't have a boat to bring, but want to spend a lot of time on the water.

Rollins Pond also has the trout-stocked Whey Pond for anglers, with a carry path to Copperas Pond in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest.

Eight of of ten campsites at Rollins Pond are directly on the water

Both have volleyball, hot showers and comfort stations, and many boating opportunities.

the beginning of the trail

Buck Pond has a bath house and sandy beach for swimming, hot showers for after, and a boat launch for access to Lake Kushaqua. It is also an ideal trailhead for all day excursions.

Buck Pond itself offers 130 acres of exploration, and Lake Kushaqua has a shoreline almost completely in the Forest Preserve; wild, undeveloped, and scenic.  Access is through the Kushaqua Narrows, which leads through the lake itself to the Rainbow Narrows, with a cut leading to the North Branch of the Saranac River, all the way to Clear Pond.

Buck Pond offers varied lake enjoyment, from swimming to boating

If the preference is by land rather than by sea, the Bloomingdale Bog Trail is an easy path to hike, mountain bike, or bird watch. This former railroad access road is now the gateway to an amazingly diverse variety of eco-systems, ranging from bogs and marshes to more arid alpine forest.

Have one of the more leisurely members of the party make the drop off at the southern trailhead, just at the edge of Saranac Lake, the village. Then hike all the way back to the campsite. Bring a lunch and really take time for spotting flora and fauna and some stunning photography opportunities.

One end of Bloomingdale Bog Trail is right across the way from Buck Pond Campground

Buck Pond even has a few island campsites, requiring less paddling or boating to reach than the Saranac Lake Islands, and offering the wonderful amenities of the rest of the campground.

All NYS campgrounds have another fantastic recreational feature. They have a Day Pass program that allows for use of the facilities for one low per car-load price, typically between six and ten dollars. This is an especially popular option for bikers who want a slow, level road through beautiful scenery, provided by the campground's access roads throughout.

like home, only wilder

For camping with more home comforts, take your RV or pop-up to Charlie's Inn. It was built in 1891 as a restaurant and lounge, with rooming house, part of the support system for Dr. Webb's Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroad at Lake Clear Junction.

Now they have sites for camping in their own forest, from May to Mid-October. There's hook-ups for 50 amp electric, water and sewer connections, dump station, laundromat, cable tv, and internet service. Plus tent sites.

Charlie's Inn has full RV hookups in a beautiful setting

It can be the best of both worlds. Get a camp in the forest with access to a lovely old Inn and classic Adirondack dining. During the winter it is a prime snowmobile destination. In the summer it is equally planted in the outdoors and good times.

The location offers easy access to some of the most gorgeous places in the Park: the St Regis Canoe Wilderness, the Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center, an abundance of hiking trails, including the Saranac 6er mountains, and Lake Clear, the lake, which is a fishing and paddling attraction.

Camping in Charlie's Inn means access to the rooms, restaurant, tavern, and recreation areas at this former railroad destination

The expansive, wraparound, screened porch is a recent, and delightful, addition for summer al fresco dining.

There are many forms camping might take, but all of them are rooted in appreciation of the great outdoors. With so much of modern life taking place in artificial environments, far from nature, a camping vacation is both economical, and utterly rejuvenating.

Explore all our camping options. Choose a favorite outdoor activity. Dip your toe in the camping waters by renting equipment from one of our Adirondack outfitters.

In related Camping the ADKs news:

Primitive, Backcountry, whatever you call it - you should try it.

Foiled, Again… 

Size matters.

Picking the perfect plot.

Try before ya' buy.

Choices, choices, choices (15 actually)... where you goin' to pitch it?

Coming Home to Saranac Lake
Finding Lots of Birds Just by Taking a Simple Walk

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About The Author

Pamela Merritt's picture
Pamela Merritt finds a library's reading room as exciting as a hike through the forest. She met the Adirondacks in 1999 and declared it "home." She's been collecting stories ever since. She declares summer's hiking and kayaking blends beautifully into winter's snowshoeing and reading to create four great seasons of enjoyment. Her published works display her eclectic range, from How-To cat care manuals to literary short fiction.

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