Paddle the Adirondacks
Pristine Adirondack water feeds miles of accessible rivers and crystal clear lakes, making Lake Placid and the High Peaks Region a favorite paddling destination. Whether canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, or paddle boarding (SUP), we have thousands of reasons, not to mention 6-million acres, why this is a trip for your bucket list. The Adirondacks have more than 2,300 ponds and lakes, 1,500 miles of rivers, and well over 30,000 miles of streams and brooks. That being said, there are more than a few paddling options within the Adirondacks and the Lake Placid Region.
Reasons we love paddling in Lake Placid
- The thrill of whitewater. Rushing through the Adirondacks, taking on the fastest and most challenging rivers.
- The serene view into the lives of all species of wildlife, from schools of fish to the birds that feed on them, and from small, almost unnoticeable mink or fox to the great moose that have been relocating to the region.
- Witnessing a sunset or sunrise from an open body of water, and knowing that it is possibly one of the most peaceful moments you can experience.
- Unforgettable special events from a concert at the bandshell on Mirror Lake, to the Fourth of July fireworks. Mirror Lake and Lake Placid both give stellar views.
- Gazing at a galaxy full of stars under the clear Adirondack sky.
- The array of waterside lodging options, where you can stay and paddle the Adirondacks right from the property.
- Access to island lean-tos, and picnic and camping spots.
- All of the places to explore and the many, many places that are only discoverable by boat.
Springtime brings the best whitewater experience; as the snow melts out of the mountains and the spring rains start to settle in, the rivers swell and you will start to see more whitewater boats on the waters and atop cars throughout the park. But even if you can’t make it to Lake Placid in the spring, don’t think you’ve missed out, the Adirondacks offer year-round paddling experiences, including whitewater rafting.
Whitewater paddling requires a special boat, gear and experience. Consider working with an experienced guide before attempting any sort of whitewater paddling. Learn about whitewater kayaking & canoeing in the Adirondacks, and plan your whitewater adventure trip.
Overnight trips in the Adirondacks
Overnight paddling trips in the Adirondacks are easy and accessible, and many folks choose to start their travels right here in Lake Placid. Within the Adirondacks your options are seemingly endless. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is a body of water just waiting for you to try. Kayak or canoe camping opens up more options, allowing for longer trips to more remote locations. Picnic for lunch on one island and then camp overnight on another — with all of these lakes, ponds, rivers, and lean-to camping options you can create a perfect paddling vacation all your own. Take the pain out of planning by organizing your trip with the help of one the area's many skilled gear shops and guides.
Tips for a paddling outing
- Pack accordingly, and think of your boat like your backpack. It needs to be packed with stability and weight in mind.
- Check the weather.
- Pick the right boat for the trip, and know the type of water you'll be navigating.
- Keep in mind that what you bring in needs to come out.
- If you do plan on camping please do so in designated areas. Check the local requirements and regulations before you head out.
- Take a lesson and/or enlist the help of a guide.
Fishing while canoeing or kayaking
Fishing and paddling have always been a great combination. Canoes and kayaks offer access to endless fishing opportunities. Enjoy a quiet day on the water reeling in your catch from our clean, clear, spring-fed lakes, ponds, and rivers. Cook up that catch at any number of public fire pits and lean-tos.
Be sure to check local regulations before heading out. Some regulations are specific to bodies of water. Pick up a fisherman's guide of fishing regulations at any local New York State Department of Environmental Conservation office and learn about fishing in Lake Placid.
Paddling rentals and lessons
If you have never paddled before, a local guide service can help! Many guides offer a two-hour introductory course for a very reasonable price and will help get you ready for exploring the Adirondacks by boat.
Don’t have your own boat, or not sure you want to transport it to the Adirondacks? No worries, we have several gear shops throughout the park who rent and sell everything you'll need for that perfect paddle.
Paddle from your room
Many area lodging properties offer waterfront access, and some even offer boats and boat rentals right on the property for guests to use. With so many options to choose from, indulge yourself by planning that perfect paddling vacation!
Click on the image to download a map of regional waterways: Ausable River, Chubb River, Saranac Lakes Chain, Saranac River, St Regis Canoe Area.
Leave No Trace
The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.