Second Pond to the Lower Locks

The lowdown

Second Pond to the Lower Locks on the Saranac River is a beautiful waterway, and it is an easy paddle with lots of opportunities to observe wildlife.  White waterlilies and yellow pond lilies can be found throughout, but are growing most densely in the area around the Lower Locks. It is a great trip for bird watching. It is common to see great blue herons, common loons, Canada geese, black ducks, mergansers, eagles, osprey, and many other birds. There are also signs of beavers and otters, and other wildlife. There are several really nice campsites along the way that are great places to stop and picnic or swim if they sites are unoccupied. The campsite on Second Pond is a nice place for swimming.  

Fact check

  • Total distance: @4.5 miles round trip
  • Length of time: 2+ hours
  • No portage
  • Flat water
  • Round trip
  • Motorboat accessible


  • Public parking is available at State Bridge Boat Launch (Second Pond/Saranac Islands Public Campgrounds)
  • Put-in/take out at State Bridge Boat Landing

The paddle

Put-in at State Bridge Boat Launch at the beach to the right of the motorboat ramp, then paddle to the right, down the Saranac River. The pond widens and then curves as you enter into a narrow channel that takes you to the electrically operated Lower Locks. Turn around at the Lower Locks and return the same way.

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

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