Top Kayak Spots in Adk

Top Kayak Spots in AdkThe Adirondacks in Upstate New York is a paddler’s paradise with its vast network of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. Whether you’re looking for serene waters or thrilling whitewater rapids, there are plenty of top kayak spots in Adk to explore. From well-known lakes like Lake George and Lake Placid to remote backcountry paddling in the St. Regis Canoe Area, the Adirondacks offer a variety of options for an unbeatable aquatic adventure.

Embark on an unforgettable aquatic adventure and discover the breathtaking beauty of the Adirondacks from the comfort of your kayak. Explore the numerous lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams that make Adk a haven for paddlers. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, these top kayak spots will cater to your preferences and provide an unparalleled experience.

Lakes & Ponds

The Adirondacks are home to numerous breathtaking lakes and picturesque ponds that offer fantastic opportunities for kayaking enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful paddle or an adventurous exploration, these waterbodies have something for everyone.

Lake George

Known as the “Queen of American Lakes,” Lake George is a popular choice for kayakers. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain views, this lake provides a scenic backdrop for your paddling adventure.

Saranac Lakes

The Saranac Lakes are a chain of lakes with interconnected waterways that provide a varied paddling experience. From Upper Saranac to Lake Flower, you can paddle through serene forests and enjoy the rich wildlife along the shores.

Schroon Lake

Schroon Lake offers a perfect balance of natural beauty and small-town charm. Nestled amidst the Adirondack Mountains, this picturesque lake provides stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere for kayakers.

When planning your kayaking adventure in the Adirondacks, don’t miss the opportunity to explore these beautiful lakes and ponds. The diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and tranquility of these waterbodies make them ideal destinations for paddling enthusiasts.

Rivers & Streams

If you’re looking for a more adventurous kayaking experience, the rivers and streams of the Adirondacks offer exciting opportunities for paddling. The Raquette River is a popular choice, with its lower section near Tupper Lake providing a leisurely paddle through diverse forests. For those seeking a longer journey, the Saranac River stretches 81 miles and passes through several lakes on its way to Lake Champlain. Paddling the Saranac River allows you to immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of the Adirondacks while experiencing the tranquility of the water.

Another picturesque option is the West Branch of the Ausable River near Lake Placid. Floating down this river offers stunning scenic views as you navigate through the heart of the Adirondacks. If you’re an experienced kayaker seeking a thrill, the upper section of the Raquette River and the Hanging Spear Falls section of the Hudson River provide challenging whitewater rapids that will get your adrenaline pumping.

When paddling on rivers and streams, it’s important to be mindful of the water conditions and always prioritize safety. Remember to check the water levels and research any potential hazards beforehand. Additionally, ensure you have the necessary skills and equipment for navigating rapids, including a well-fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD). With the right preparation and caution, kayaking on the rivers and streams of the Adirondacks can be an exhilarating and memorable experience.

Paddling Options in Rivers & Streams

River/Stream Location Difficulty Level
Raquette River Tupper Lake Easy to Moderate
Saranac River Lake Placid Easy to Challenging
West Branch Ausable River Lake Placid Easy to Moderate
Hudson River (Hanging Spear Falls) North River Challenging

Remote Backcountry Paddle

For those seeking a true wilderness experience, the Adirondacks offer exceptional opportunities for remote backcountry paddling. One of the standout destinations is the St. Regis Canoe Area, which is New York State’s only designated canoe wilderness area. Spanning 18,400 acres, this pristine area boasts an intricate network of lakes and ponds, providing endless possibilities for exploration. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer canoe camping adventure, the St. Regis Canoe Area offers a serene and untouched environment, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.

Another hidden gem for backcountry paddling is the Essex Chain Lakes. With its 18 interconnected waterbodies, this remote area offers a unique and secluded paddling experience. As you navigate through the lakes and ponds, you’ll be surrounded by stunning landscapes and wildlife. The Essex Chain Lakes provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, far away from the crowds.

If you’re looking to escape even further into the wilderness, consider exploring the Moose River Plains and Helldiver Pond. These remote destinations offer a sense of solitude and untouched wilderness that is hard to find elsewhere. Paddling through these areas will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Adirondack backcountry, with its dense forests, serene waterways, and abundant wildlife.

Table: Remote Backcountry Paddle Destinations

Destination Features
St. Regis Canoe Area 18,400 acres of designated canoe wilderness, network of lakes and ponds, primitive tent sites, and lean-tos
Essex Chain Lakes 18 interconnected waterbodies, secluded paddling experience, stunning landscapes, and abundant wildlife
Moose River Plains Remote and untouched wilderness, dense forests, serene waterways, and wildlife
Helldiver Pond Solitude and tranquility, immersive backcountry experience

Embarking on a remote backcountry paddle in the Adirondacks is a truly unforgettable experience. It allows you to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature in its purest form. Whether you choose to explore the St. Regis Canoe Area, the Essex Chain Lakes, or venture into the Moose River Plains and Helldiver Pond, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking scenery, peaceful serenity, and the opportunity to create lasting memories.

Paddling Safety

When embarking on a kayaking adventure in the Adirondacks, it’s crucial to prioritize paddling safety. Taking the necessary precautions will ensure a enjoyable and secure experience on the water. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

1. Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Always wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while kayaking. A PFD will provide buoyancy and keep you afloat in case of an accidental capsize or fall into the water. Choose a PFD that is suitable for your weight and size, and ensure that it is fastened securely before hitting the water.

2. Stay Hydrated and Energized

Bringing plenty of water and snacks is essential for staying hydrated and fueled during your kayaking trip. Paddling can be physically demanding, and it’s important to replenish your energy levels throughout the journey. Pack lightweight, non-perishable snacks that are easy to eat on the go, such as granola bars or trail mix.

3. Carry a Map and Know Your Route

Unlike trails, waterways often have fewer signs and markers. It’s important to carry a map for wayfinding and to have a clear understanding of your kayaking route. Familiarize yourself with the landmarks, key points, and potential hazards along the way. This will help you navigate safely and prevent any unwanted detours or mishaps.

By following these paddling safety guidelines, you can enjoy a worry-free kayaking experience in the Adirondacks. Remember to always prioritize your safety and be prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise. Happy paddling!


Kayaking in the Adirondacks is an unparalleled experience that offers something for every paddler. With its vast network of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, this beautiful region is a haven for aquatic adventurers.

Whether you’re seeking the tranquility of serene waters or the excitement of thrilling whitewater rapids, the Adirondacks have you covered. From well-known lakes like Lake George and Lake Placid to remote backcountry paddling in the St. Regis Canoe Area, there are top kayak spots in Adk that will cater to your preferences.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, the Adirondacks’ stunning natural beauty and abundant waterways provide the perfect setting for an unforgettable kayaking adventure. So grab your paddle, embrace the wonders of Adk’s scenic waterways, and immerse yourself in the ultimate aquatic experience.

Richard Dodds

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