Added by Tara Schatz

This trip takes you through a series of lakes and ponds connected by streams or short portages near Saranac Lake, NY. It's an amazing trip for several reasons.

First of all, the camping is totally secluded and totally free. You can tailor the trip to meet the needs of fit-and-feisty adventurers or families with young children. You can paddle out to an island and camp for a night, or make a week of it and explore every lake and pond in the region. It's your call.

Park your car at the Floodwood outpost of St. Regis Canoe Outfitters. There's spot nearby to put your canoe into Floodwood Pond. You can also stock up on necessities (bug spray!!!) at the outfitters, and if you don't have float-worthy vessel, you can rent one here. If you are portaging between islands, I highly recommend you rent a set of wheels. This saved our backs on numerous occasions.

Using the Adirondack Paddler Map (you can buy one at the outfitters), you can easily create a route from pond-to-pond, planning all of your portages and camping spots ahead of time, or you can hop in your boat and wing it.

It's easy paddling most of the time and each lake and pond has it's own personality. Some allow motor boats and maintain public campgrounds. Some are totally secluded - home to moose, eagles, and humongous snapping turtles. Almost all of the ponds are awesome for swimming and fishing, and each pond has at least one resident loon that will sing you to sleep each night.

We visit every year, and our favorite loop is easy enough to paddle with kids over the course of two or three days. Here it is:

Floodwood Pond - camp on one of the Fish Creek - if the water is really low you have to get out and walk the boat Little Square Pond - good fishingto Fish Creek - look for nesting Loons in Juneto Fish Creek Pond - motorboats are allowed hereto Square Pond - camp on Square Pondto Fish Creek Pond - motorboats and noisy campgroundto Follensby Clear - our favorite lake, camp on one of the islandsto Polliwog Pondto Middle Pondback to Floodwood Pond and your car

The portages are never more than a mile, but we found in the summer that the trails were extremely buggy. A few times we paddled to our favorite campsite on Follensby Clear and stayed there for days - swimming, exploring, and eating yummy camp food. It's a truly beautiful, quiet, and inspiring place.

Read More


Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Wilmington, New York

Lake Placid / Whiteface Mtn. KOA

Potsdam, New York

Hidden Meadow

Private,quiet meadow campsite with nearby hiking trails along Racquette River.Close to village with all amenities. Situated between Adirondack Park and St. Lawrence River.

From $25/night

Westport, New York

Adk Mountain View Campground

Pitch your tent or bring your horses to our 150-acre oasis. Beautiful view of the Adirondack mountains. Bonfires cookouts and neighborly fun!

From $50/night

Mineville, New York

Piney Wood Hills

Fully equipped campsite is nestled in a small clearing surrounded by 65 acres of woodland in the Adirondack Park. Hike through our woods on an old logging trail, bushwhack to the top of Bald Peak, ...

From $130/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Relax at Ampersand Beach

    Located across from the Ampersand Mountain trailhead on NY Route 3, a trail will take you a short walk (about a half mile) to this beautiful, quiet beach on the shores of Middle Saranac Lake. Starting at the trailhead, you will continue along an u...

    1.1 miles 20 ft gain

  • Hike to the Summit of Ampersand Mountain

    Ampersand Mountain is part of the Saranac Lake 6er Hiking Challenge. It is one of six mountains surrounding Saranac Lake. The trail starts just across the street from the parking area. Though there is ample parking it can full up on a good day a...

    5.2 miles 1775 ft gain

  • Hike to Mount Arab Fire Tower

    Located just a couple miles outside of Tupper Lake this little hike is a gem. The trailhead starts just across the street from the parking area. The 1.1 mile one-way trail is marked with red discs and easy to follow. The trail has a moderate inc...

    2.2 miles 764 ft gain

  • Hike to Mount Baker in Saranac Lake

    Mount Baker (also referred to as Baker Mountain) stands at 2,457 feet and sits in the village of Saranac Lake and is part of the Saranac Lake 6ers Challenge. This is a moderate out and back 1.8 mile hike with an elevation gain of around 900 feet. ...

    1.8 miles 900 ft gain