Second Pond to Bluff Island on Lower Saranac Lake

The lowdown

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 offers opportunities to observe wildlife including the common loon, seagulls, and osprey. The short hike up to the top of the bluff offers an amazing view of Lower Saranac Lake with a backdrop of McKenzie and Haystack mountains. To the left of the take out is what locals refer to as Paradise Point, which is a nice picnic and swimming spot. It can be fun to paddle around the surrounding islands to explore before returning down river to Second Pond Launch.

Fact Check

  • Total distance: @ 2.3 miles round trip
  • Length of time: 2-3 hours 
  • No portages
  • Flat water
  • Round trip
  • Motorboat access is allowed from State Bridge Boat Launch (Second Pond/Saranac Islands Public Campgrounds)


  • Public parking is available at State Bridge Boat Launch 
  • Put in/take out at State Bridge Boat Landing 

The paddle

Put-in is at State Bridge Boat Launch, at the beach to the right of the motorboat ramp. Paddle to the left passing, under the Route 3 bridge into First Pond. Follow the waterway as it curves to the right then the left before coming out into Lower Saranac Lake. Stay to the right out of the way of jet skis and motorboats, which can be especially active on weekends. 

Campsite 55 will be on your left as you come to the junction of Lower Saranac Lake. The 65-foot cliff on Bluff Island is directly ahead with Little Twin Islands to the right. Paddle between Partridge Island and Bluff Island with the rockface of the cliff on your right. Enter into a small bay to take out at this island, which set aside for day use only. There is a picnic table at the take out. To hike up to the bluff, turn to your right and scramble up the well-beaten trail.

Recommended resource: Adirondack Paddler’s Map: The Saranac Lakes

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