In Lake Placid, it’s not all big hiking adventures and Olympic Winter Games dreams. With “lake” right in the name, it’s not hard to see why the paddling is perfect here! Don’t believe us? Look no further than the placid (see what we did there?) waters in and just outside of town. Whether you want to carry a lightweight canoe into the wilderness, rent a kayak right in town, or just get out on a famous lake, there is something for you here! You don’t want to miss the boat and not paddle this summer. What are you waiting for?

Perfectly safe

Don’t worry - there are no alligators in Lake Placid! But that doesn’t mean you can throw safety overboard. Always prepare for varying water conditions and the weather. Don’t forget life vests (PFDs), sun protection, and waterproof containers. And always check canoes, kayaks, SUPs, paddles, and equipment to be free and clear of all non-native aquatic invasive species. When we do our part to recreate responsibly, we are ensuring that the woods and waters of the Adirondacks remain protected for future generations to enjoy.

A brochure held in a canoe that explains that harmful effects of invasive species with a graphic.

Easy access

Lake Placid’s inviting Main Street is not the only attraction downtown. Mirror Lake is more than a pretty view from the many restaurants that line the street, it’s a great place to paddle! Rent a kayak or paddle boat, and get on the lake without having to travel. Most motorboats are not allowed on Mirror Lake, so the waters are usually calm – perfect for your first time paddling or if your family wants to join for a quiet trip. Hey, in summer, maybe you can catch a concert from Mid’s Park. How cool is that, to watch a concert from your canoe?

Kayakers and a woman on a SUP relax on a lake with town buildings in the background.

Big lake, fun paddling

Maybe Lake Placid’s namesake lake is better known for boating and waterskiing, but don’t forget about paddling! Lake Placid, the lake, is otherworldly beautiful and has over two hundred private (many of them historic) camps on the shoreline. Two boat launches offer free public access to the lake and each launch has a rental company located just next door. Since there is motorboat access on the lake, paddlers might find the waters more relaxing earlier in the morning when there is usually less traffic. Or, for a quieter experience, explore Paradox Bay, the shallow bay at the southern end of the lake where few boats with motors go. If you’re up for a longer canoe trip, there is a free campsite on one of the lake’s islands. What better way to enjoy Lake Placid than to spend a day kayaking and then fall asleep listening to waves softly hitting the shore? Don't forget to bring Fido, too! (Bonus: there's a boat wash station located at the State Boat Launch on Mirror Lake Drive so you can ensure your vessel is invasive species free!)

Two women and a dog in a brown canoe.

Views galore

Okay, okay. There are beautiful views everywhere around Lake Placid, but there are some places that have unparalleled incredibly spectacular views. Connery Pond and the Cascade lakes are two of those places. Connery Pond, located between Lake Placid and Wilmington, is a small pond with big views of Whiteface Mountain. Its location is not far from the road, but the pond has a remote feeling that certainly evokes strong feelings of solitude and wonder.

A green canoe with two people paddles on a calm lake with a large mountain in the background.

The Upper and Lower Cascade lakes are dramatically cut from the side of a mountain just 10 minutes outside of Lake Placid. Even though these lakes are right alongside the road, the views are so breathtaking you’ll hardly notice cars going by. On a narrow strip of land between Upper and Lower Cascade lakes, you’ll find a lovely place for a picnic and there’s even a view of a waterfall!

The peaceful waters of an Adirondack lake with dramatic cliffs on each side.

Get wild

For those who want a little more adventure, try carrying your canoe or kayak into the wilderness to paddle remote ponds that don’t see a lot of on-the-water activity! Owen, Copperas, and Winch ponds offer a tranquil setting for those looking to get away from it all. A light-weight canoe is recommended for a trip to these three ponds since the carry is longer than others mentioned here (possibly 1 mile or more!). You’ll have to be prepared for a wilderness hike and a paddle, but the chance to canoe on a pond that doesn’t see many canoes or kayaks is worth it! A lean-to on the shore of Copperas Pond is a great place to camp, too! If you're so inclined, these ponds are great for fishing.

A red canoe and wooden paddle

A river runs through it

It’s not all lakes and ponds here. The Chubb River is a small tributary of the fantastic Ausable River with calm waters that meander through a wooded tunnel of alders. This is a wild river, so you will encounter beaver dams, but it just adds to the experience. You’ll be able to paddle 4.5 - 5 miles before the river becomes impassable and you’ll have to turn around. All the while, though, there are interesting views of mountains, marshes, and all sorts of majesty. Other areas in the Adirondacks are better known for river paddling, but this river should not be overlooked! Plus, it’s a fantastic place for wildlife viewing. River otters, beavers (obviously), tons of birds, and even moose are seen here. 

A  light brown lightweight canoe at a launch on a backcountry river.

A new day

Nature is never far away when you’re in Lake Placid. Whether it’s your first time paddling or you’re a seasoned pro, take some time to explore the waters around this mountain town. If you can’t get enough of the lakes, there are plenty of hotels right on the water or hikes that lead to ponds. Picturesque paddling. Lakeside lodging. Sunny, sublime scenery. It’s all here, and it’s all perfect.