Forked Lake is one of the more popular lakes in Hamilton County and with Forked Lake State Campground on the eastern end of the lake you will find it very busy. Some camping areas are drive up sites but many are located slightly off the beaten path where you will either have to hike a bit to them or paddle over to. These state sites do give an outstanding back-country feel, even during the busy season. To put your boat in at the state campground you will have to obtain a day-use permit and pay a small fee. These can be obtained on site at the caretaker cabin. Also, as another amenity, there are state DEC canoe rentals for you to use to get to and from your campsite or to just enjoy the water. Reservations for the campground can be made online.
How to Get There
From the 3-way intersection in the Hamlet of Long Lake follow Route 30/28N toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue for just over 3-miles to North Point Road on the right. Follow North Point Road for 3-miles to Forked Lake Road on the right. Forked Lake Road is very rough and narrow with heavy traffic during the summer. Drive to the end at Forked Lake Campground.
From the 3-way intersection in the Hamlet of Long Lake follow Route 30/28N toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue on North Point Road past the Raquette Outlet Bridge. Take first right, short dirt road to good deep water launch. Please don't blog the road when parking.
Forked Lake has two distinctive boat launch areas. The eastern launch is located at the Forked Lake State Campground where a day-use fee is required. The western end is free to use and equally as wonderful. The western launch is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and is designated a canoe carry between Raquette Lake and Forked Lake.
When out on the lake be sure to explore the many fingers of the pond including going up the Raquette River to the rapids. The eastern end near the campground is where the dam resides; you will not be able to paddle further downstream. You can continue up the Brandreth Lake Outlet for a bit, but it soon narrows out. The Northern Bay is an attractive course to take, but you will not be able to proceed further into Little Forked Lake, it is a private lake.
Much of the north Shore of Forked Lake is undeveloped private property, so you have very little opportunity to get out of your boat, but feel free to explore the south shore as much as your heart desires.
Type of Launch
Both are graded with gravel, hard packed and heavily used
Type of Carry
Both launches are less than 100 feet in distances
Type of Water
Forked Lake has wider areas and in those areas it is much less sheltered. In these areas there is potential of smaller waves, but overall the lake is generally calm.