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.
Want another lake to paddle just outside the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? Lake Colby may fit the bill. Lake Colby is on Route 86 just north of the village of Saranac Lake and across the street from the Adirondack Medical Center. It has a swimming beach with a large parking lot at the south end of route 86 and a boat ramp with parking on the north end of Route 86.
This was the second lake I hit in the same day on a short weekend trip in October. The weather did not cooperate most of the time. It was mostly overcast and dark during this day with short periods with brief views of blue skies.
Although it has been said there are loons and eagles here I did not see any. Eagles seem to travel between bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did see multiple great blue herons and Canadian Geese.
It seemed like there were only a few houses or camps along this lake. I saw no camping signs, however, other websites say there are two on the lake. These campsites are usually first come first served.
This is another lake I highly recommend. It had nice scenery, it is close to the village of Saranac Lake, and has wildlife to see. Viewing wildlife is always a plus for me. I did not take pictures on the opposite side. It had an old railroad tracks that people were fishing from.
You can not always pick your weather. Sometimes I really wish I could. I went up to the Adirondack Mountains on a three day weekend in October. The day I went to this pond it was dreary in the morning. I will kayak even if it is raining.
How to Access
Little Clear Pond can be accessed off State Route 30 on the Adirondack Fishery Road. The sign above is on the Adirondack Fish Hatchery Road.
The road leading to it is dirt/ gravel. It breaks off at one point. If I remember correctly it also crosses a road that is used for a snowmobile route. It was very muddy there with the rain.
Little Clear was the only one marked on the map with a boat ramp. It appears it is a canoe carry to Little Green Pond. I may have to check that out in the future, but canoe carries I found usually mean a dock. As a kayaker I prefer a boat ramp. I could be wrong though.
It is near the fishery. The fishery uses this pond so fishing is not allowed.
‘This appeared to be a young loon. It was hanging around waiting for its mother to feed it. The parent appeared to be handing fish off to it underwater. Not too long before they fly south. I hope this young loon has learned to fish on its own so it can follow its parent south. I also saw Merganser ducks here, but they kept quite a distance.
Dos and Don’ts
There are several things not allowed because the Adirondack Fish Hatchery uses this pond. Fishing is not allowed. According to an article written by Spencer Morrissey in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise this pond is used as a breeding ground for landlocked salmon. So loons and eagles are known to be seen here. Camping is not allowed along this pond either for the same reason and motor boats are banned. Canoes and kayaks are welcome.
I highly recommend this pond. They do have a larger parking area than most ponds. I saw one other boat that morning and another came before I left. So it is a quiet place, nice to take a small group. Seeing loons is a bonus as well as having a chance of seeing eagles.
Even in less than ideal conditions go out and enjoy nature. Stay safe and stay healthy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
There is more than one Loon Lake in New York. One is north of the Saranac Lake/ Lake Placid area, but does not have public access. The second Loon Lake, which I visited, is in Warren County northwest of Lake George and it has public access.
How to Get There
You can get to Loon Lake by taking 87, the Adirondack Northway north from Lake George. Take the exit for Chestertown/Highway 8. Travel west past Chestertown. There are two access points on the southern end of the lake. The first one charges a fee, but it also has a free boat wash you can use without paying to put your kayak in. The second location is very closeby. This location is a town recreation area with a beach and parking right along highway 8.
Loon Lake is 525 acres in size. The length of the shoreline is just under 12 miles. It has many houses on the southern end. I was told many of these are summer homes or rentals. The majority of houses have dock and motorboats.
There was more activity on this lake than I am used to, but I will say the boaters kept a safe distance from this kayaker. People were very friendly on and off the lake.
Overall I would say this is a nice place to paddle. It is not as busy as Lake George, but you are not totally isolated. There are also several other lakes within a short drive of this lake.If you want to paddle a lake in an areas with a friendly, small town feel go to Loon Lake in Warren County, New York. It is another great Adirondack paddle.
Another beautiful Adirondack lake to paddle which has an outlet connecting it to other bodies of water is Lake Clear. They do not have an official boat launch. However, I found a public parking lot with a path that leads to the beach. It is easy to launch from the beach. The parking lot is accessible from 30 going north.If you are coming from 186 turn north on 30 (it is a right hand turn).
The beach on the left I launched from.
I wish I had nicer weather for this trip. I was lucky to have one nice day. I don’t think these pictures do this lake justice. On this Memorial Day weekend this lake was a nice paddle even in the rain.
Always be safe. I took along a map – the Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. It is published by Paddlesports Press in Saranac Lake. They can be found at sporting goods stores and book stores in the region. Their website is: www.paddlesportspress.com.I also carry food to munch on and water. In addition, I wore a dry suit as it was snowing in the area up to a couple of weeks prior and the water temps were still quite cold.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for a nice spot to canoe or kayak for a few hours in the Adirondacks? Looking for a place that offers free camping? Follensy Clear Pond may fit the bill.
Follensby Clear Pond is actually pretty large in size. Its larger than some lakes in the area. It is said to cover 491.3 acres.
Follensby Clear Pond has two launch points. One is on the south side of the pond off State Route 30. The other is on the north side of the pond off the same road. I used the parking lot and launch on the south side of the pond. They have two launch sites there. One is with a dock and the other is a rough path with roots sticking up close by. The same path takes you to both. The water is shallow at both points. I prefer standing in the water and getting in. Just be careful bringing your boat to the launch site. Small motor boats appear to be allowed on this pond.
There are several campsites around the pond. They appear to be accessible via boat. There are markers on trees where you would access these sites. They are primitive campsites and everything is carry in carry out. It is first come first served, no reservations. Most campsites have outhouses and all have stone rock fire rings. Ladies from a local canoeing group told me there are usually at least one or two available. It appears to be accessible to more, they ask you stay for no more than three days. To say 4 days or longer you need to contact a ranger and get a permit. I am not sure how many campsites there are. I see at one point they were discussing closing some of the sites and there was opposition to that.
This pond has a variety of wildlife. I saw one loon pair. I also saw an eagle that was probably about 3-4 years old without white head feathers. Since there are several lakes and ponds in the near vicinity I don’t think he stays there long. There are ducks, and in July I saw many ducklings.
I kayaked two different bodies of water that day. It was very windy and a little hard to paddle in the middle of the pond. I saw other kayakers and canoeists after I arrived. A canoeing group seems to favor this pond for their outings. It is also a pond that you can access more than one body of water through. I saw a group of kayakers come under State Route 30 through Spider Creek Passage from Fish Creek Ponds. Through Fish Creek Ponds you can access Upper Saranac Lake.
Windy or not it was a great body of water to paddle on. I hope to go back to this location in the near future. Whether you are camping or not it is a great pond to spend a few hours at.