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Upper Saranac Lake

Upper Saranac Lake: Indian Carry to Saranac Inn

The lowdown

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, seagulls, 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.  

Fact Check

  • Total distance: @8 miles
  • Length of time:  5-6 hours
  • No portages
  • Flat water
  • One way
  • Motorboat access is available at the Saranac Inn Boat Launch

Logistics

  • Public parking is available at Indian Carry access and Saranac Inn Boat Landing
  • Put-in at Indian Carry access, take out at Saranac Inn Boat Launch. Note that St. Regis Canoe Outfitters offers transportation/shuttles.

The paddle

Put-in at Indian Carry landing and paddle the entire length of Upper Saranac Lake to Saranac Inn. It is good to stay close to shore and out of the way of jet skis and motorboats, which can be especially active on weekends. 

On the way 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 basecamp. 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

SRCO Upper Saranac Lake Paddling History Tour brochure, found at http://www.historicsaranaclake.org/uploads/1/1/2/1/11219947/upper_saranac_lake_brochure.pdf

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