Saranac Lake has a wonderful range of Adirondack campgrounds to choose from. Whether it's a full service RV hook-up or a tent in the wildest of the wilderness, we have a full range of very cool spots.
Camping is a great way to really feel the wild places around us. Maybe it's that first cup of "cowboy coffee" as we listen to the loon cry over the lake. Maybe it's sitting around the campfire, watching beloved faces laugh in the flickering light. Maybe it's the s'mores, which taste far better toasted over an open flame than they do from the microwave.
Whatever our camping dream might be, our Lake Country offers a lovely setting for it.
Our NYS Department of Conservation manages a multitude of delightful camping facilities, and some of the most popular are the Saranac Lake Island campgrounds.
Yes. You can have your own island.
The lakes known as Lower and Middle Saranac Lake contain 87 shoreline campsites, 54 of which are water access only. And the rest would take quite a bit of hiking! So, like any (temporary) island owner, a boat is essential.
This restricts our equipment somewhat, but greatly expands our horizons. Every view is a lakefront view. Dogs are welcome and they can romp in the lake. There are miles of wilderness to enjoy, yet a festive time in Saranac Lake's downtown is only a boat ride away.
Island camping takes a bit more planning and logistics, but it pays off with a completely unique experience that draws people back, year after year.
Find out more about Saranac Lake Islands camping. Watch the video, above.
a cluster of ponds
The delightful twin campground complex of Rollins Pond State Campground and Fish Creek State Campground make for some lively recreational choices. In addition to the Rollins and Fish Creek ponds, there is the trout-stocked Whey Pond, and the broad paddling expanse of Square Pond.
Fish Creek is one of the most admired and popular campgrounds in the Adirondack Park. It has a an organized recreation activity program, held every day at its beautiful outdoor Amphitheater. Children can enjoy interpretive nature hikes, outdoor crafts, fun games, and live entertainment. It runs from the end of June through Labor Day.
Fish Creek also has a swimming beach with bath house.
Off the water there are great hiking opportunities. Both Floodwood Loop and Otter Hollow trails are accessible from either campground. Little Black Pond lies only minutes away down the Otter Hollow trail, and is a secluded trout pond.
Most of Rollins Pond campsites are directly on the water, and the remainder have water views across the road. They also have boat and canoe rentals. This is a great choice if you don't have a boat to bring, but want to spend a lot of time on the water.
Rollins Pond also has the trout-stocked Whey Pond for anglers, with a carry path to Copperas Pond in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest.
Both have volleyball, hot showers and comfort stations, and many boating opportunities.
the beginning of the trail
Buck Pond has a bath house and sandy beach for swimming, hot showers for after, and a boat launch for access to Lake Kushaqua. It is also an ideal trailhead for all day excursions.
Buck Pond itself offers 130 acres of exploration, and Lake Kushaqua has a shoreline almost completely in the Forest Preserve; wild, undeveloped, and scenic. Access is through the Kushaqua Narrows, which leads through the lake itself to the Rainbow Narrows, with a cut leading to the North Branch of the Saranac River, all the way to Clear Pond.
If the preference is by land rather than by sea, the Bloomingdale Bog Trail is an easy path to hike, mountain bike, or bird watch. This former railroad access road is now the gateway to an amazingly diverse variety of eco-systems, ranging from bogs and marshes to more arid alpine forest.
Have one of the more leisurely members of the party make the drop off at the southern trailhead, just at the edge of Saranac Lake, the village. Then hike all the way back to the campsite. Bring a lunch and really take time for spotting flora and fauna and some stunning photography opportunities.
Buck Pond even has a few island campsites, requiring less paddling or boating to reach than the Saranac Lake Islands, and offering the wonderful amenities of the rest of the campground.
All NYS campgrounds have another fantastic recreational feature. They have a Day Pass program that allows for use of the facilities for one low per car-load price, typically between six and ten dollars. This is an especially popular option for bikers who want a slow, level road through beautiful scenery, provided by the campground's access roads throughout.
like home, only wilder
For camping with more home comforts, take your RV or pop-up to Charlie's Inn. It was built in 1891 as a restaurant and lounge, with rooming house, part of the support system for Dr. Webb's Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroad at Lake Clear Junction.
Now they have sites for camping in their own forest, from May to Mid-October. There's hook-ups for 50 amp electric, water and sewer connections, dump station, laundromat, cable tv, and internet service. Plus tent sites.
It can be the best of both worlds. Get a camp in the forest with access to a lovely old Inn and classic Adirondack dining. During the winter it is a prime snowmobile destination. In the summer it is equally planted in the outdoors and good times.
The location offers easy access to some of the most gorgeous places in the Park: the St Regis Canoe Wilderness, the Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center, an abundance of hiking trails, including the Saranac 6er mountains, and Lake Clear, the lake, which is a fishing and paddling attraction.
The expansive, wraparound, screened porch is a recent, and delightful, addition for summer al fresco dining.
There are many forms camping might take, but all of them are rooted in appreciation of the great outdoors. With so much of modern life taking place in artificial environments, far from nature, a camping vacation is both economical, and utterly rejuvenating.