St. Regis Canoe Area - An Interesting Ski Tour
A night on the town in Saranac Lake
Skiing - and Falling - in a Winter Wonderland

St. Regis Canoe Area - An Interesting Ski Tour

OK, maybe the ski wasn’t entirely in the St. Regis Canoe Area, but it was very close – more like a perimeter ski tour. I thought I would share a trip we did last winter, in hopes that it might interest you enough to head over that way once the snow makes a permanent presence.

Watching the local forecast

We had a forecast of balmy ahead of us for the day. Even though the trees were glistening with a faint early morning frost, it was predicted that we would have a high in the 30’s and approaching 40 – this would put the temperature somewhere in the range of sticky for skiing. With that plan in front of us we needed to dig around and locate our glide wax; buried someplace between the ski poles and the Christmas ornaments.

When we got to the Little Clear Pond access area we ended up parking along the roadside; unfortunately the short access road was not plowed, that added quarter mile probably wouldn’t kill us though. Much of our route would follow the railroad tracks, and unfortunately it is also the route for heavy snowmobile traffic. Luckily for us it was mid-week and most of the traffic comes on the weekends.

We chose our skinny skis for today’s adventure and left our wider back-country skis at home. Our skinny skis are still back-country but are much lighter and faster on the trails. I chose my Fischer Spiders and Corenne went for her Fischer BCX. After a light coating of glide wax on the tip and tail we were off to the races.

Hitting the St. Regis Canoe Area trail system

RR Tracks

The snowmobiles had been very busy over the last week or so, making tracks everywhere including the trails as well as the RR tracks. We chose our route carefully as to avoid any washboarding the snowmobiles may have caused, it wasn’t too bad. We made fast time down past Rat Pond and then over the bridge for Little Rainbow Pond. The ponds were beautiful, in their own deep freeze sort of way. As we skied past the pond we caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of our eye. It moved quickly and in a flash it was gone; it looked to have been an otter, or possibly a mink – we really only saw the tail as it disappeared into the water. Based on size we were thinking otter.


Next we would pass by a northern bay of Hoel Pond, before it became mostly hidden by the trees - but soon we would be at another part of the northern end of the pond with clear views out over it; Turtle Pond was to our right. This bridge that separated the two was to be our turn around point, but my ever-growing curiosity of the back-country had me noting a slim pond to the north on the map. There was no trail leading to it, but it wasn’t too far away and the forest looked friendly enough. After a few moments of begging, kicking and screaming – Corenne said yes, and off we went. I hate skiing across the ice, even when my good senses tell me it's thick enough to support me; we skied back to the trees. After a very odd drop off the tracks we were in the mixed forest of mostly conifers.

Slim Pond

The terrain was very flat but the snow was incredibly deep, my skinny skis were just not enough flotation for an easy approach. We pushed on though, it was my idea after all; Corenne had no real issues, she was light enough to float the conditions. A couple hidden contour lines would be the max of my frustration; I couldn’t get an easy turn in if I bought one. We finally reached the shore of the hidden pond; it was actually a pretty attractive area. After a couple pictures we decided not to make a loop and returned via our track in, back to the RR tracks. The return was so much easier and faster, I welcomed the “groomed” surface.

The Fish Pond Truck Trail and Bone Pond

As we skied back we made another side trip. We hung a left onto the Fish Pond Truck Trail. After a short distance on here we made a right onto a seldom used trail that would lead us back to Bone Pond. The trail had a few small hills mixed in as it passed between Bone and Little Green Ponds, but nothing even shaky knees couldn’t command. A short spur trail lead us left to the Shore of Bone Pond – another attractive back-country gem located in St. Regis Canoe Area.

Bone Pond

We continued along on the trail to complete our loop which would easily pass us by the boat launch of Little Green Pond and Little Clear Pond; both of which are not in the canoe area. A second otter joined us, this time we saw it clear as day as it moved along the outlet between the two ponds. We hung around quietly to see if it would come back around, maybe so we could get a picture, after about 15-minutes we gave up and assumed it was laughing at us from afar.

We completed our day’s tour back to the car, soaked from the sweat of an unseasonably warm day. We opted to change into something a tad bit more comfortable and appealing since we planned a stop on the way out of town for a quick bite to eat. Nori’s would be the place. We are always pleased with their gluten free products, and their soups and sandwiches always hit the spot.

As always when we get home we clean the snow off our skis and put our equipment away to dry. We recommend you do the same thing. It will help your gear last longer, especially with skis that have metal edges and the bindings to go along. Want to know more about what kind of gear to bring on your next adventure - ask our outdoor experts! On vacation and need to pick up a pair of mittens or some warmer gear - we have just the right places for you to stock up! 


Author:Spencer Morrissey
A night on the town in Saranac Lake
Skiing - and Falling - in a Winter Wonderland

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