Stony Creek Ponds

It was a dark, windy day. What should I do? Kayak of course. If I waited for sunny days with blue skies I would hardly ever kayak.

I made this trip in August. Stony Creek Ponds is southwest of the village of Saranac Lake. You can go there by taking Route 3 from Saranac Lake or Tupper Lake. You turn onto Corey’s Road. Not far down the road is a wider area along the road next to a badly maintained road/path on the east side of the road. The path was not well marked from the road when I made this trip. You need to park along Corey’s Road and carry your kayak/canoe in on that path. It is a long carry, so use a kayak/ canoe wheels/ cart or go with a buddy. Be careful of the roots and potholes on the path.

Boat Launch and Parking

The boat launch

The boat launch itself is nice. It is a gradual descent into the pond. It is perfect for kayakers.

Ponds

Heading east and north

Although it was a dark day, the scenery was worth the trip. I was followed by a kingfisher who just stayed far enough away that I did not try to photograph it.

Campsites

This was campsite 3 if I remember correctly.

According to the Adirondack Paddler’s Map North there are six numbered campsites along these ponds. I saw no sign of anyone camping along these ponds while kayaking, but as I returned to the boat launch there were a few middle aged couples getting ready to head to one of the sites via canoes. It appeared they would have the wilderness section of the ponds to themselves that night.

Indian Carry- Canoe Carry

The northern part of these ponds are wilderness area.
This is where you would exit to carry your kayak/canoe to Upper Saranac Lake.
This is a long canoe carry that takes you from this pond the the south end of Upper Saranac Lake.
As you can see this is part of the network that makes up the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
Traveling now on the opposite side of the lake.
This bridge appears to be part of a private road going west to east across the pond. There are some private lands mostly on the southern 2/3 of these ponds. The northern section appears to be part of the High Peaks Wilderness area.

Heading Back Towards the Boat Launch

Entry into the bay- There are campsites on both sides of this entrance into the bay area.

The boat launch is in a bay area on the northwestern end of the ponds. Part of the land around the bay is wilderness, and part of it is private land with a few house on it.

The boat launch is ahead around the bend to the left.

Plants

I did not see any wildlife along these ponds other than kingfishers. The kingfishers I only saw from a distance. This red flower was growing on the shore of the ponds in many spots. The cloudy day with wind did not lead to good conditions to get pictures of these plants. I believe this is a cardinal flower.

Cardinal Flower
Flower growing near a downed birch tree on the shore near the boat launch.

Connection to Other Bodies of Water

By map and by the word of someone else I talked to after this trip, Stony Creek Ponds connects on the south end to the Racquette River. Again, by Indian Carry (Canoe Carry) you can access the southern end of Upper Saranac Lake.

This is another nice area to kayak in the Adirondacks and I highly recommend it. If you want a smaller body of water with places to stop on the northern end, this may be for you. Having ways to kayak/canoe into other bodies of water is always a positive.

Upper Saranac Lake via Indian Carry

How can you access Upper Saranac Lake from the southern end? One way is through Indian Carry access site off of Route 3 southwest of the village of Saranac Lake. Another way is carrying your canoe carry via the Bartlett Carry from Middle Saranac.

Boat Launch

This launch seems to be possible because of an easement the state obtained to make the boat launch. Therefore, you need to stick to the road on the way in and stay within the boundaries of the easement that makes up the road and the boat launch. On the west side of the launch is private property and there are houses along the lake going west and then north of this corner of the lake.

There is parking off of route 3. But if you follow Old Dock Road you will come to a parking area right near the launch. It is a very long road and if you want to launch your boat you would probably need to drive your car down there. This launch is for kayaks and canoes.

Evidently you can catch a boat that will ferry you to the Island Chapel if you wish to attend.
When you arrive at the lower parking lot there is a day use camping area if you cross this bridge. It also has a privy/outhouse. Bring your own toilet paper.
Dock for people canoeing.

There is a dock for those canoeing and an area next to it that is good for kayakers to launch from. It is a gradual entry into the water.

This is the view of the dock from the water. To the left next to the dock is where you can launch your kayak from.

Upper Saranac Lake

The weather was threatening on this trip. I think it sprinkled a few times, but thunderstorms did not arrive until later. I mostly kept to the edges, but at one point paddled across.

Going west then north along the shore there were private homes spread apart.

Going into the bay on the east side there were a few homes spread apart.

A couple passed me twice on hoverboards.

I saw a few people on my travels. I saw a couple hoverboarding. I also saw a father and two sons canoeing /kayaking separate boats loaded with gear to camp. In addition there were a few motor boaters and a man fishing from his kayak.

A dock and gazebo on the lake.

One of the elaborate boat houses along the lake. Boats can park inside these in a garage like area inside that you drive your boat into. The top level usually can not have bathrooms or kitchens as it is too close to the water. There would be a main house not far from this boathouse.

Bridge that is part of a walking trail you can access from the parking lot near the boat launch.
Bartlett Carry

Bartlett Carry is a canoe carry route that takes you from Upper Saranac Lake to Middle Saranac Lake. It is on the southeast side of Upper Saranac Lake.

There is a sign pointing to the direction of the boat launch when you get closer. It is hard to see from a distance.

I showed the boat entry/exit from Middle Saranac end of the Bartlett Carry on a previous post. On both ends the canoe carry is shallow leading to the entry/exit which is perfect for kayakers. There was no sign at the actual launch site. As you can see there is a sign in/out box for those camping on the islands and other campsites on the left side of the picture. There are houses close to the boat launch.

Bartlett Carry Road is shown on the map as a private road. It is open to people carrying boats from one end of the canoe carry on Middle Saranac to the canoe carry on Upper Saranac Lake. On the road a sign marks the direction of the other end of the carry.

The canoe carry is along this road. Since it is a private road you can not drive your car on it and there are signs saying you can not park along the road near the launch.

This is the view from the Upper Saranac side of the Bartlett Canoe Carry looking west.

This is the view from the Upper Saranac Bartlett Canoe Carry looking northwest. The carry is in kind of a bay/cove area on the southeast area of the lake.

Wildlife

Seeing wildlife makes the trip even better for me. I was lucky enough to see three adult loons hanging out together. They were talking a lot that morning and I was hoping to get an audio file of the conversation, but there were kids close by screaming and playing in the water.

Common Loon- There were three adults the morning I was there on the southern end of the lake.
Great Blue Heron hanging out on the shore next to a birch tree.

The great blue heron was just north of the loons a short paddle away. It was hanging out on the property of a house being renovated. A lot of construction noise was going on and it did not seem to phase the heron. The heron was not phased by me either. It was not actively looking for food just chilling by the water.

I highly recommend this lake and boat launch. There were not many motor boats when I went. I saw maybe one or two. As with any large body of water in the Adirondacks, if weather is threatening stick to the edges of the lake or pond.

Upper Saranac Lake Loons

Do you like viewing wildlife while you kayak or canoe? Would you like to see loons or ducks? There are many lakes and ponds in the northern Adirondacks where you can see wildlife. One such lake is Upper Saranac Lake.

How to access

The lake is near the towns of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Upper Saranac Lake can be accessed on the north end off State Route 30 via a parking lot and boat launch. Parking and launching at this site is free. The boat launch is one of the better ones I have experienced in the Adirondacks. It is paved, so if you have a motor boat it is ideal. It was also easier for me to use it to get into my kayak. I prefer boat launches to dock entries. They also have a free boat wash to clean off your kayak. This helps reduce the chance of carrying invasive species between lakes.

Merganser Ducks
I only saw this duck and its baby for a short while. I did not get many pictures of it. I believe this may be a female merganser duck.

The day I went it was supposed to rain and storm. I went to another lake in early morning and went to this lake later in the morning for a few hours. It did rain a few times slightly while a paddled. The first wildlife I encountered were what appeared to be Merganser ducks. I am thinking a female and a baby.

Loons
You almost wonder if while they were paused on the lake the mother was warning the babies of the dangers of boats.

I paddled across the lake and around some islands. I heard a loon call a few times from the other side of the lake. The weather was looking iffy so I decided to head back. While heading back towards the boat launch I ran into a loon family with two babies. I kept my distance and they were fine with me being around.

Whose turn is it?

I got to watch the parent loons take turns going under the water to find fish for their two babies. The babies popped their heads under water to look and at times disappeared in pursuit of something. Since the parents were bringing up a lot of fish I think the babies are not so successful at it yet. These parents were handing off fish to the babies above water.

The hand off

The weather was not ideal for photos , but I am happy I was able to witness a loon family with two babies. I am also happy I got to witness them feeding them . Sometimes kayaking or canoeing is not just about the physical benefits you get from it, it is about what you see along the way.

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