There are two lakes you can access from the town of Lake Placid in New York. From the main business street in the village you can see Mirror Lake. If go on west towards Saranac Lake on the outskirts of the town the much larger lake is Lake Placid. Lake Placid , the lake, has a few hotels along it, private land with mostly summer residences, and some land that falls under wilderness or forest preserve.
These were all from an end of September trip to the Adirondacks. I took one long trip on the lake, and a couple of short trips. I started out from the Paradox Bay area of the lake on the southern end. This area of the bay has shallow areas and attracts wildlife. Basically most of the wildlife I saw along the lake was in that section.
There is a boat launch with ample parking outside the bay on the lake.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that is Whiteface Mountain in the background. The issue with large lakes in the Adirondacks is many times when you get away from shore it can be quite windy. On my long trip the first day I was there I did fine hugging the island on the way towards Whiteface landing, but on the return when I crossed the lake to the east side is was a struggle to head south hugging the shore. The wind was pretty strong. I did see a few other kayakers out there. I think one whom I talked to briefly ended up getting a ride on a boat. I was too busy trying to paddle to get any decent pictures on the return.
There are a lot of summer homes along the lake. Some are only accessible by boat.
In summer this lake is very busy with a lot of motorboat traffic. I shy away from paddling this lake during the summer months. In September after Labor Day many of the summer people have left and there are more kayakers and canoeists than motor boaters. I highly recommend going before or after summer and staying close to the shore of the lake.
I did hear and briefly see a kingfisher several times. At some lakes they will pause long enough for you to get a snap of them, at this lake they don’t. I saw two adult kingfishers on the bay.
I recommend visiting this lake to canoe or kayak before or after summer. Always be prepared and dress appropriately. Be familiar with the conditions. It is a beautiful lake!
How do you access Middle Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? One way is by the boat launch at South Creek. This boat launch is on Route 3 about halfway in between the towns of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. There are multiple options on where to paddle from this launch so it is a launch that may interest you.
It was kind of a rough carry from my car in the parking lot to the launch. The gates were locked and to squeeze the kayak through the rocks along the side was no easy task. I use a kayak wheeled device to move my kayak to launch sites. Where you walk to carry when I went was rough with gulleys. The boat launch itself as you can see has a gradual descent that is great for kayakers while also providing a dock that individuals who canoe may like.
The view above is going in the opposite direction from the lake. The view on the bottom is going towards the lake. It looks like a long paddle to reach Middle Saranac Lake on the map, but it is really not that long.
This was the campsite on Shaw Island. As you can see these are primitive sites that are carry-in and carry-out. They are accessible by canoe or kayak.
Going towards the Bartlett Canoe Carry
On the southwestern side of the lake you enter a narrow body of water that goes in the direction of Upper Saranac Lake. This is one option for accessing other bodies of water. Another option is to paddle north from South Creeek and go through Hungry Bay and into Weller Pond. Another option is to go east to the Saranac River through the upper locks into the southern end of Lower Saranac Lake.
The canoe carry was a gradual descent into the water, ideal for kayakers. You follow the path over land to Upper Saranac Lake. It looks far on the map for one person, so I did not attempt it even with a kayak carry device. I encountered a women’s kayak tour on another lake and the guide said the Canoe Carry on the Upper Saranac side is a good launch for kayakers. I will take her word for it.
I always enjoy lakes where you can view wildlife. This one was no exception. I saw two groups of black ducks, although I was nervous for them. An eagle was on a tree very close by eyeing them. Eagles in the Adirondack Mountains travel from lake to lake. They do not always stay on one body of water all day long. I arrived in the morning on this lake and a saw some fishermen on kayak and motorboat. One man I talked to said he arrived at 5 a.m. He was pleased with the bass he caught.
Heading East to the Boat Launch
The boat launch is on the other side of Route 3. You kayak under the bridge and the launch is on the left when you are coming back in.
Despite it being a little rough to get into the parking lot from the launch and into the water from the parking lot I would like to come to this access point again. I do hope they make improvements on it though as it could be a hazard. I recommend they remove a rock or two on the side to make is easier to bring your kayak to the water and fill in the gulleys made by erosion. Middle Saranac Lake is another beautiful Adirondack lake.
What is another place to launch a canoe or kayak that is close to the village of Saranac Lake? Ampersand Bay of Lower Saranac Lake is a short drive from Saranac Lake.
There are two ways to get to this launch. One way to get there you travel south of the village on route 3. Then you would turn onto Edgewood. Follow the signs from where this road meets Ampersand. You turn left from this direction. Another way to get to this launch is to go south on Ampersand Avenue then follow the signs.
Adirondack Canoe Route
This location is the starting point of the Adirondack Canoe Wilderness Route. Many of the lakes or ponds on this map connect by water routes such as creeks , the lakes running together, or through portages or canoe carries between them.
The Department of Environmental Conservation website says this boat launch parking lot has places for 12 cars. The launch was not crowded when I went. This is not a launch for motor boats, so that makes it less busy. I believe there was only one other car when I arrived. Nearby on the bay is a launch/marina for powerboats. I like this launch. It has a gradual descent into the lake and is great for kayakers.
This part of Lower Saranac Lake has some houses and docks along it. It also has what appears to be condos near the marina.
Lower Saranac Lake
Lower Saranac Lake has many campsites along the shore or on islands in the lake. The campsites are free. They are primitive sites with cleared areas for tents, outhouses, and a campfire area/fire-pit.
Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. I got several great pictures of a kingfisher. I think there may have been a nest nearby. Both parents were keeping a close watch on me as I travelled near the shoreline. They were like guard dogs.
I would highly recommend this boat launch. It is great if you would like a short drive from your accommodations in Saranac Lake. Most state boat launches and other ones in the Adirondacks are fine. Enjoy the scenery and enjoy the wildlife!
What is one place you can access Lower Saranac Lake? Which boat launch gives you options and access to several bodies of water? It is the 2nd Pond Boat Launch. It is more than three miles south west of the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
This boat launch is a busy spot. It has one of the largest parking areas I have come across in the Adirondacks with spaces for 75 cars and trailers. It also has port-a-potties. During the summer months people are employed to check boats for invasive species when entering and leaving the water.
The boat launch is on 2nd pond. When you go west you will go under the bridge on Route 3. From there you are on 1st pond.
Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. The route I took going from the 2nd Pond Launch through First Pond and into Lower Saranac Lake had a variety of wildlife to see. The ducks stayed near shore weaving in and out of plants. They are probably in survival mode due to the eagle’s presence.
Lower Saranac Lake
I stayed close to shore paddling the route I took. Motorboats were frequently passing in either direction. There are numerous campsites on the islands and shore around Lower Saranac Lake. The spots are free and you can find them on Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. I also saw a few large groups of canoeists and kayakers. Both groups appeared to be camping at one of these free campsites.
Overall this is a location I would love to return to. I love the scenery, the multiple lake access from this launch and the chance to see a variety of wildlife. Even though it is a busy boat launch there are positive points to more people present. I would recommend staying close to the shore to avoid motor boat traffic.Get out and enjoy the Adirondack scenery and get some exercise while you do!
On the way up to Canada to visit some relatives and on the return as well I spent a few days in the Adirondack Mountains kayaking on different lakes and ponds. One one body of water I was lucky enough to witness several types of wildlife. One bird I saw was the merganser duck.
The only place I have seen a merganser is on lakes in the Adirondack Mountains. One this day I saw more than one female with a trail of young. This is the one I saw in early evening. It had quite the crew with it. I never counted. but I am sure there were at least a dozen young. The other female I saw in the morning had a much smaller group following with her. I did see both groups in the morning.
All the ducks I saw that day stayed mostly on the shoreline in well shaded areas. Since there were eagles visiting and known to fly in and out I am sure that was for survival purposes.
For those of you who have never been to the Adirondack Mountains, I highly recommend it. It was mostly in the low 70s during the day and 50s at night. If you ever go, go slow and enjoy the local wildlife.
What lake in the Adirondacks has the same name as an Mohawk Indian Chief who supported the British in the War for Independence? It is Brant Lake in Warren County. It is another lake worth visiting in the area north of Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of N.Y.
History of a Name
I cannot say the lake is named after the Indian chief, but so far I have not found information online saying where the name came from. I even emailed a nearby historical group with no response. Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Chief who sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. According to the National Park Service during the French and Indian War “In 1755, at age 13 he accompanied Sir William Johnson to the Battle of Lake George.” Lake George is south of Brant Lake and a short drive by car. Mohawks today have tribal land on both sides of the border with Canada north of the Adirondack Mountains.
Brant Lake is north of Lake George. If coming from the south you take the Adirondack Northway route 87 north of Albany. Get off at exit 25- the exit for NY 8 north. Go approximately 2.6 miles to the boat launch. The address is 6799 NY 8 , Brant Lake, NY.
This boat ramp had multiple people working it on a weekend, and it is no wonder. I likened this to the Grand Central Station of boat ramps in the Adirondack Mountains. There were boats constantly coming in and going of the the lake here. I had to wait to launch and wait to get out. I was able to park without waiting. If I remember correctly, they had port a potty toilets or privy here.
This lake is big enough that I was able to avoid motor boats by sticking to paddling along the shore. It is about 5 miles in length.It was a little windy, and I was worried about the possibility of a storm, but things ended up fine.
Regardless of the motorboat traffic it was still a nice ride. There is not a lot of development along the lake. There are a few houses spread out and camps. There is a lot of wide open spaces with nice views in the Adirondack Mountains. Get out and enjoy it.