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!

Loon Lake

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.

This is the boat launch that charges a fee.

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.

I could hear thunder the entire time I was on the lake, so I may have done less than half the lake. The thunder was in the distance, but always think of safety first.
The dogs seemed to enjoy riding on a stand up paddleboard.
This man zoned back and forth on the lake on a hoverboard.
Arriving back at the beach. The beach is next to highway 8. The parking is right next to the road.

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.