Moose Pond

Shhhhh! Want to know a secret? There is a pond that only locals seem to know about. It is north of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake but between them. It has loons and free primitive campsites. It also has a couple of beaches. I highly recommend visiting Moose Pond.

Location

Moose Pond is north east of Saranac Lake and northwest of Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. It borders forest preserve and the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness area. If you go on State Route 3 from Saranac Lake, NY you turn onto River Road in Bloomingdale.

From River Road you turn right onto Moose Pond Road. This sign is on River Road at the intersection of Moose Pond Road. You travel down Moose Pond Road a ways. It turns from a paved road into a dirt/stone road. It ends at the parking lot for Moose Pond. Near the parking lot are bathrooms. I did not check them out, so they may be outhouse style.

This is the beach you launch from. I used a carrier to wheel my kayak from the parking lot to the beach. It is a nice little beach to launch from.

I did look to see if Grass Pond Outlet was able to be paddled from Moose Pond. Trees were down near the entrance to the outlet on Moose Pond, so it was a no go. Grass Pond Outlet leads from Grass Pond to Moose Pond.

A beach on the other side of the lake.

Locals were swimming at the boat launch beach and some recommended paddling to this beach for a swim.

As you can see there are some nice mountain views from this pond.
The mountain in the distance appears to have a fire tower or building on it. I am guessing that is Whiteface Mountain. I am not seeing other mountains on the map around it with structures listed on top.
Wildlife

I did see at least one loon on this pond. That is always a good sign. I did not see anything else. I could not get a good shot of the loon because I was facing the light early evening.

Camping

This pond has free primitive campsites in different locations accessible by boat and in some cases by trail. There is a trail from State Route 3 that goes to some of the campsites and ends up in the parking lot next to the boat launch. I did not see any motor boats on this pond. I was the only kayaker at the time.

I like this pond. There were people there. Most if not all seemed to be locals. I did not see anyone at the campsites, although the woods was thick and I did not see the actual sites from the lake. I am guessing some were occupied. I would definitely want to return to this spot again in the future.

Bring water and food with you and of course a map. This pond is covered by the Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. This map is waterproof in that you can get it wet with no effect as far as my experience has been. It is available at most local bookshops and outdoor stores. Get out and enjoy nature and stay safe!

Hoel Pond

Another pond with access to other bodies of water and free primitive campsites along it is Hoel Pond. Hoel Pond is another large pond with some nice views of neighbouring mountains. This is one pond I recommend you travel to with a friend.

Location

Hoel Pond is in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. It is north of Follensby Clear Pond and southwest of Lake Clear and Upper St. Regis Lake.

This sign is small and back from the road a little. It is easy to miss.
How to Get There

From State Route 30 you take Floodwood Road west until you reach Hoel Pond Road. Turn onto Hoel Pond Road and right after you pass the golf course, on the left side of the road turn left. There is a dirt road there that looks like it is part of the gold course, but it is not. It has the little sign pictured above, but it is easy to miss. If you miss the road on the left and continue on Hoel Road it then becomes a private road. You will know you went too far as you are in an area with houses and it is passed the golf course and into a wooded area. The dirt road winds down to an area near the pond that has parking spots and some primitive campsites.

Boat Launch
I recommend you go with another person because of the steepness of the steps leading to the boat launch and the canoe carry to Turtle Pond.

This was a tough launch for me by myself. I think it would be much easier for two people to carry a canoe or kayak down these steep steps. This was the reason I recommend going with another person. There is a small sandy beach area below these steps to launch your kayak from. Motor boats owners can not launch from the state boat launch.

It was a very windy day and once I kayaked across to the point then hugged the land is was a much smoother paddle.

Turtle Pond

This sign at the other end of the Hoel pond marks the canoe carry to Turtle Pond. It is a narrow path up to the site of an old train tracks and back down to the other pond.

Because the carry down to Turtle Pond was steep I did not feel comfortable carrying the kayak down this hill.

When you cross over the hill to Turtle Pond you enter the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness.

Turtle Pond. From here you can paddle to Slang Pond. From Slang Pond there is a canoe carry to Long Pond. Again from this point you are in the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness.
Looking at Hoel Pond from the Turtle Pond side.

There is a culvert pipe under the railroad tracks leading to Turtle Pond. It appears to go slightly downhill. It is a small pipe and the water level is low in the pipe. You should not try to kayak through it. On the Turtle Pond side the water level is about a one foot drop from the pipe. Some kayakers say they were able to send their boats through the pipe on their own to Turtle Pond. I think you should have two people for this with one waiting on the Turtle Pond side to catch it. Otherwise you run the risk of it drifting into the pond or being damaged from the drop off.

Picnic

I always recommend bringing plenty of water and food with you on long trips. I stopped to eat lunch on the other side of the pond where the canoe carry was. I bring an insulated lunch bag with ice packs inside tied to my kayak but accessible. On that day I ate a veggie wrap from Nori’s on Church Street in Saranac Lake. I took it along with me to enjoy. This was my second kayak trip of the day. I started with Mirror Lake earlier in the morning.

Veggie Wrap from Nori’s in Saranac Lake.
That may be St. Regis Mountain with the fire tower on top.
The weather improved a bit on the return trip.
Looking towards the east side of the pond with privately owned land. I did not see a motor boat on this body of water, but I understand only those who own private properties can have a motor boat. It is not possible to launch a motor boat from the state boat launch.
Camping
This was a group of young women from Gordon College in Massachusetts. They were doing an orientation/ experience for their college that involved two weeks of canoeing and camping in the Adirondacks. They were staying that night at one of the free wilderness primitive campsites.

There are free primitive campsites along most of the lake on land that is forest preserve. Many sites are only accessible by walking or by boat. There are additional free campsites along Turtle, Slang and Long Pond. These campsites are first come first served. Usually you can only stay three days and after that you would have to get a ranger’s permission to stay longer.

This was a nice pond with nice views of the neighbouring mountains. However, because of the boat launch and canoe carry conditions, I recommend you do not do this alone, but with another person. Safety first. Get out and enjoy nature!

Kayaking Blue Mountain Lake

Are you looking for a lake in the Adirondacks to kayak or canoe? Do you want one with free campsites? Are you looking for one with access to other bodies of water? Blue Mountain Lake will fit the bill.

The boat launch is located on State Route 28. It is a public beach and boat launch. Route 28 has parking spots on both sides of the street. This May weekend I was the only one launching from the beach. I did not see another kayak or canoe on the lake. This site has a pavilion with changing rooms that were locked. Maybe they open when it is warmer or they are still following a COVID protocol.

No one was on the beach, so I launched from there.
Appears to be docks on the other side of this park.
I believe that is Blue Mountain in the background.

Blue Mountain Lake is accessible to other bodies of water. It connects to Eagle Lake and from there you can paddle to Utowana Lake. For those who want a very long journey you can access Raquette Lake from the Marion River at the end of Utowana Lake.

A little cabin or boathouse near the shore of the lake.
I stuck the the edges. When I decided to go towards the middle I was surprised by how strong the wind was. It gave me a real workout. A local told me it is common to be very windy in the middle of the lake.

This lake has some free campsites. It is first come first served. There are 4 primitive sites on Long Island and 1 on Osprey Island. Bring your gear on your kayak or canoe. As with most Adirondack free sites there is a three day limit unless you get permission from a ranger to stay longer.

The beach I took off from.

This lake gives you some nice views of the neighbouring mountains. It is close to other lakes, so you could even hit Long Lake , Indian Lake etc. by car in the same day after kayaking. I highly recommend this lake if kayaking or canoeing. You may want to stick the the edges to avoid the wind.

Nearby Attraction

The Adirondack Experience is very close-by and worth stopping at. They also have marvellous views of Blue Mountain Lake from their cafe patio. The Adirondack Experience is a museum with several buildings including cabins, cottages, and camps of the past brought to the museum. You get a feel for what life and pleasure was like in the Adirondacks in yesteryear.

Go their their page here: https://www.theadkx.org. Click on exhibits.

Paddling Fish Creek Ponds to Other Ponds

The Adirondack Mountains in New York has a lot of places to paddle where you do not have to get out of the water to go from one pond of lake to another. Others lakes or ponds may have cary paths between them. Fish Creek Ponds is another body of water you can access multiple bodies of water through without getting out of your canoe or kayak.

I actually launched from Follensby Clear Pond. The launch is near the Spider Creek Passage into Fish Creek Ponds. I launched from there to get two chances to see the loon baby and its mom. Going through Fish Creek Ponds after you go under the Route 30 bridge you see Fish Creek Ponds Campgrounds along the pond. These are paid sites. I could see a playground, beach, and fishing area.

Square Pond
On Fish Creek Ponds heading towards Square Pond
Square Pond Entrance

From there you can access Square Pond . I went in this body of water a short distance then turned and went towards Fish Creek.

Fish Creek

Fish Creek is a fairly wide creek in most areas. It is like a highway for canoeists and kayakers. Along the way you pass a dock to the canoe carry heading towards Follensby Clear Pond. The dock was too short for my 10 foot kayak to park at and the water next to the dock was too deep for me to step into. It was really more for canoes. This would be another way to get to Follensby Clear Pond avoiding a long paddle through Fish Creek Ponds, Spider Creek Passage and into Follensby Clear Pond.

Under this camp ground road leads into Fish Creek.
Once you went up Fish Creek a short ways, only boats with electric motors under 5 horsepower were allowed. This is great for kayakers and canoeists. It is also good for the wildlife.
Instead of paddling all the way back to Follensby Clear Pond from there a canoeist could pull up here and carry through a path to the pond. I tried to get out there ,but even on a sit on top kayak it was a no go. The dock was too short and the water right up to the land was too deep. I think it was actually about 2 1/2 to 3 feet deep or more next to the docks. It was all a very short area. I could not get close going head first or backwards to the dock in my over 10 foot kayak.
Copperas Pond
They actually had a sign up where you turn for this pond.

Next up was Copperas Pond. There are two primitive campsites on this body of water. They are across then pond from each other. Each has an open outhouse or privy. Behind the campsite I tied up at you also got a view of a another pond that had no outlet connecting it to other bodies of water.

Looking towards the opposite end of the pond. I saw an eagle flying towards another pond from here. The eagles in the Adirondacks travel from pond to pond or lake to lake.
This was looking towards the exit of Copperas Pond into Fish Creek.
Passage from Fish Creek into Floodwood Pond

Next I started paddling towards a Fish Creek passage that connects to Floodwood Pond and eventually Rollins Pond. Little Square Pond is beyond the entrance to this passage. It is unnamed on maps, but it may still be considered Fish Creek. At the entrance there was another primitive campsite. Floodwood Pond has several primitive campsites along it.

The water here was shallow.

I turned back before Floodwood as I had already paddled quite a ways from Follensby Clear Pond. I will save Floodwood and Rollins for another trip.

Wildlife
This was a long Fish Creek heading back. This is a beaver lodge. Beavers abound in the Adirondacks, but it appears this one, if still active does not dam the bodies of water.

I did see loons along the way. These ponds and creeks had more boat traffic due to the campgrounds on Fish Creek Ponds and Rollins Pond. Most of Fish Creek was not for power boats. Way back on Fish Creek beyond Copperas Pond I saw a loon who was quite busy fishing. I also saw a loon near the campgrounds at Fish Creek Ponds and a mother loon and her baby on the other side of Fish Creek Ponds near the private houses closer to Follensby Clear Pond.

In the summer there is more traffic on these bodies of water than others. It is due to two large campgrounds on Rollins Pond and Fish Creek Ponds. Both of those campgrounds allow caravans/campers. Despite that fact, it is still a nice place to paddle. I want to return to kayak from Rollins Pond to Floodwood Pond.

Baby Loon Tries to Fly

What is a nice body of water to kayak or canoe one and see loons? I have been to Fish Creek Pond a few times in the Adirondack Mountains of NY. Each time I have seen mother and her baby. I have never seen the father.

This is an August photo.

The first time I spotted these two in August the mother was still bringing a lot of fish to the baby although the baby was trying to go under water in pursuit of fish itself. This baby appeared to be older and larger than the other loon babies I saw on other lakes and ponds.

In September, the mother was not bringing much fish to the baby. I only witnessed one. It was leaving the baby mostly to its own devices. The baby was fishing a lot.

Flying Practice

Then, I heard the mother call from the other side of the pond, and the baby stopped fishing and swam further down the pond, turned and faced the wind and tried to fly. (I was thinking the mother said the wind is good, stop and practice flying. ) The baby went back down the pond and tried again and again. It was flapping its wings attempting to walk on the water at the same time. It came close to going totally airborne.

After going further down the pond it raised itself up and started flapping its wings attempting to fly.
You can see here it is running on top of the water while flapping its wings.
I wasn’t totally pleased with these actions shots, but with the wind and water movement sitting in a kayak I am just happy to have observed and captured this.
Almost up!
I have a growing audience. I guess I will try again. Wish me luck!

Then it went back to fishing. It complained weakly. Not sure if the baby was discouraged by its flying attempts. The mother came by and brought the baby a fish. Either it was a reward for the flying attempts, encouragement, or the baby still needed a little help getting food.

Pretty soon the adult loons fly off and leave the babies behind. It’s important they fish for themselves. They will practice many times swimming to the far end of a pond, facing the wind, and attempting to fly. Eventually they do. Because they are such big birds they need a lot of space for their take off. They will join other loons further south after they figure it all out.

Adirondack Boathouses

Boathouses are a covered structure with direct access to body of water. Some say it is only for the storage of boats and boating equipment. They also regulate them in some areas of the Adirondacks. In those areas they can not have bathrooms, beds, a kitchen or heating. In other places they have all of those things. Lake Placid tends to have more of the latter in this description.

This is known as a his and hers boathouse. Each boathouse appears to also have family living quarters.

The original style of the houses and boathouses was labeled Adirondack. It was used in the great camps, some of which were built during the Gilded Age for the rich. Adirondack style is known for using local materials such as birch and cedar logs that were whole, split, or peeled logs. Using bark was common as well as granite fieldstone. The inside of these houses or boathouses they would use rustic furniture. Some of these boathouses pictured are quite old while others may be a modern take on the boathouses of old.

Modern take on the traditional.

There are two main lakes near the village of Lake Placid. The one most people see on the main business thoroughfare in the village of Lake Placid is actually Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is about a mile long and covers about 128 acres. There are homes and businesses around the lake. Lake Placid, however, is on the north side of the village. Lake Placid covers about 2,170 acres.

This one fits the one description of a boathouse- one story, no heating, plumbing, or electric.

Most of the shoreline around the Lake Placid is undeveloped. However, there are some pretty specular homes and boathouses on some parts of the lake. Most of the homes are well over a million dollars. CEOs of companies own these as vacation homes, as well as musicians, and other famous people. In other words, the top 1 percent vacation in these homes. Some homes are only accessible via boat.

This appears to be more than a boathouse. There are some very expensive boathouses for rent on this lake having what you would normally find in a house.

I took an hour long pontoon boat tour with Lake Placid Marina and Boat tours to see the lake. If vacationing in the area this is a nice boat trip. The captain, Captain Cook, is very knowledgeable about the history of the houses and their inhabitants. Yes, I went in June 2020. This boat tour is operating. As of the end of June, the Adirondack region is in stage 4 of opening up.

If visiting the Lake Placid area consider going on this boat tour. Not only do you learn some of the history of the lake, but also experience some really scenic mountain and lake views.

For more information about the boat tour use this link: https://www.lakeplacidmarina.com

We were told this family had a girl who watched Lion King every night. It was the only video they had.
Asian style pagoda boathouse
I believe the boat captain said this lake has the largest collection of wooden boats on a lake.