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!

Fish Creek Ponds- 3 in One

Want to paddle on three different lakes or ponds in one day? Would you like to do this without getting out of your kayak or canoe? There are a few options to do this in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Three bodies of water you could paddle in one trip are Follensby Clear Pond, Fish Creek Pond, and Upper Saranac Lake. One way you can accomplish this is to start at Follensby Clear Pond on the south side. There is a parking lot and boat launch there. The boat launch on the northern end of Follensby is further away and would lengthen your trip. Another option is you could start at the boat launch on Fish Creek Ponds.

You paddle under this bridge near the boat launch if starting from Follensby Clear Pond. I ducked my head the whole time. It is kind of low. Be careful going under it.
Spider Creek Passage

From there you can paddle north a short distance to the Spider Creek passage. It is not far from the boat launch and starts by going under the State Route 30. You follow Spider Creek Passageway into Fish Creek Ponds. Spider Creek Passageway is about 1.5 foot deep. In some areas it may be deeper than that. What you will see in the passageway are spots where beavers tried to dam the creek. I also saw ducks hiding behind the downed trees.

The Spider Creek Passage is wide enough for kayaks or canoes coming from either direction to have no issues. This one is like a roadway for paddlers.
Fish Creek Ponds
This end of Fish Creek Ponds is closest to Follensby Clear Pond appears to have private houses along it. The other end has campgrounds.

Fish Creek Ponds is a large pond with a boat launch and campgrounds along it. In the area I paddled near to get into Fish Creek Bay there appeared to be private houses along it. So if you wanted to camp you have the option of booking a stay at the Fish Creek Ponds Campground or try your luck at the free campsites along Follensby Clear Pond. Those are first come first served.

Upper Saranac Lake
This is the passageway from Fish Creek Ponds into Fish Creek Bay. It is wide and power boats park along it.
Fish Creek Bay looking into Upper Saranac Lake.

Once in Fish Creek Ponds you stay on the left side of the pond and look for a wider passageway, more like a larger creek. This takes you into Fish Creek Bay of Upper Saranac Lake. I paddled around Whitney Point.

Boat House along the way. I love seeing the different architecture. This is not the main residence.
The roof on this one looks Asian inspired.
Kayaking around Whitney Point.
Another paddler on Upper Saranac Lake
Wildlife
I may make a post just about these loons.

There is some wildlife to see along the way. In Fish Creek Pond I saw a merganser ducks. I also saw a loon mother with an older baby. It was much larger than the other babies I saw in other lakes and ponds. The mother was still bringing it fish. I also saw a loon pair in Fish Creek Bay of Upper Saranac Lake.

Be Cautious Be Prepared

Upper Saranac is a much larger lake so you need to be cautious when paddling. Wind can greatly make your trip more difficult. Also people in the summer go out even early in the morning to water ski and you need to be careful around boaters. They do not always pay attention to you. I also recommend bringing a map whenever you do a paddle like this one. Adirondack Paddler’s Map North covers this region. It is waterproof. I have gotten it wet plenty of times and it is still good. It is published by Paddlesports Press in Saranac Lake. You can buy it at most stores that sell kayaks or canoes in NY. I was able to get one in the Hudson Valley. Many local bookstores in the Adirondacks carry it as well.

On the return I spent more time in Follensby Clear Pond before I took my kayak out of the water. It was a brilliant day with not much wind, so paddling on each body of water was divine.

After coming back under the bridge. Now to paddle around Follensby Clear Pond a bit.

This was a great paddling trip, that I highly recommend. Going through the Spider Creek Passageway was fun and it is always a joy to see loons along the way.