Upper Saranac Lake

  • Route 3
    Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Upper Saranac Lake is the longest in the Saranac Chain, which offers lots of room to paddle in.

Upper Saranac Lake is the longest of the Saranac Lakes. The paddling route offers spectacular views.  You will have an opportunity to observe birds including Common Loons, eagles, Osprey, gulls, and other wildlife. There are several campsites that are ideal to stop for a picnic or a swim, including site 18 on the eastern shore, site 8 on Buck Island, site 1 on Butternut Point, and site 2 on Green Island.

Getting there

From downtown Saranac Lake, it's possible to launch a canoe, kayak, or SUP from the Indian Carry hand-launch off Route 3 or at the Upper Saranac DEC boat launch located in Saranac Inn at the north end of the lake. Public parking is available at both locations.

Fact check

  • Total distance: about 8 miles
  • No portages
  • Flatwater
  • One-way
  • Motorboat access is available at the Saranac Inn Boat Launch


Put in at Indian Carry landing and paddle the entire length of Upper Saranac Lake to the Saranac Inn. It is good to stay close to shore and out of the way of person watercraft and motorboats, which can be especially active on weekends. You will pass numerous islands, many of which are privately owned. Church Island offers ecumenical church services on Sundays. Doctor’s Island was originally owned (1904) by Stanley Mortimer, a distant relative of the Roosevelt family. Eagle Island is historically significant as a Girl Scout Camp (1938-2008). Indian Carry is significant historically because the Mohawks and the Algonquin Native Americans established it as a base camp. Indian Carry was long used as a portage from Upper Saranac Lake into Stony Creek, which connects to the Raquette River. The Native Americans who occupied the Adirondacks seasonally for 10,000 years, referred to Upper Saranac Lake as the “Lake of the Silver Sky.”

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

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