Accessing Lower Saranac Lake Through Ampersand

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.

Sign on Edgewood

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.

This sign is in the parking lot.
This map is facing the wrong direction. Saranac Lake Village is northeast of Ampersand Bay. The you are here on the map points to the Ampersand Bay boat launch.

Boat Launch

This is the boat launch. It has several parking spots. It is only for cars putting in canoes or kayaks.

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.


Ampersand Bay

Heading in to the main part of Lower Saranac Lake

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

I am not sure if that is Ampersand Mountain in the background. Someone knowledgeable about the area may be able to fill us in.
It was very windy on this day so I travelled along the shoreline.What you are seeing is an island and the shoreline. This lake is quite large.

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.

Wildlife

Kingfisher

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!

Lake Colby

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.

You can see the restrictions on this sign on Route 86 north of Saranac Lake. Boats with motors no more than 10 HP are allowed on the lake. I actually took this picture on my way out.

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.

Boat ramp into Lake Colby
Dockside for one house.
Adirondack chairs next to a fire pit lake side. My vision of heaven. In my dreams I wish to have something like this one day.
Wildlife

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.

Canadian geese on the lake
This lake had a multitude of heron when I visited.
A lake side structure that looked to be in the midst of a remodel.

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.

Lake Flower

What lake can you access right in the town of Saranac Lake? This lake is connected to other bodies of water and has some really scenic views of the neighbouring mountains? It is Lake Flower. I highly recommend a paddle trip on this lake.

Solo kayaker
Some parts of the lake are narrower than other parts.

This lake allows motor boats. It has a marina or two near the start of this trip. However, this lake is so big I think I only saw one or two other motor boats on this 80 degree day. I saw maybe 3-4 kayakers on this trip.

There were a lot of markers on this section. I am assuming it was a shallow area with rocks sticking up. I did not paddle as far as I wanted to on this lake as another afternoon storm was approaching. I had hiked a mountain in the morning before it got hot. It seems there is less a chance of thunderstorms in the morning.

I made it as far as Oseetah Lake but I stopped taking pictures due to thunder. From Oseetah Lake you can paddle into Kiwasssa Lake I am told. I also was told you get get to Lower Saranac also by starting at Lake Flower. That is something for me to explore on another trip.

There did not appear to be a good area to stop to eat on this trip. I suggest taking food and drink with you in the section of the kayak you sit in and not a hatch for that reason. I took a lunch bag with ice packs in it to the kayak for easy accessibility. A lot of land up to Oseetah Lake is privately owned or not very accessible to pull over to take a break..

There appear to be no public campsites on Lake Flower, however there is one lean-to on Kiwassa Lake.

Dockside Ice Cream Stand

Mountain Mist Ice Cream can be visited by either pulling up and parking at their dock behind the ice cream stand or by pulling into the parking lot on Route .. They also have a boat ramp next to the dock and a covered area to sit under. This is close to the start. It is a good stop by water or land on the return.

Boat Launch

This is the boat launch you start off at. It is a two bay boat launch. They have a parking area to the right of this photo and bathrooms in the building directly behind the boat launch. There is someone on duty to check your boat to make sure you do not bring invasive plants from one body of water to another.

I really enjoyed the scenery. I would do this paddle again. I did see one loon where Lake Flower meets Oseetah Lake. That is always a plus in my mind. If you want a long trip or a short one with the possibility of an ice cream reward at the end, go to Lake Flower. It is stunning.

%d bloggers like this: