Paddling Raquette Lake

Many options for a weekend paddle on one of the Adirondacks premiere lakes

Raquette Lake is an interesting body of water, not only is it a large body, but its structure is unique in itself. With numerous inlets and outlets you can extend your paddle beyond the long shoreline. With two distinct hiking trails you can also add a bit of turf to your surf. Even with a short easy portage you can access Forked Lake and continue beyond to Long Lake.

raquette lake map
raquette lake map

Where to put in for Raquette Lake

There are a few really good options for put-ins for this lake.

  1. Golden Beach State Campground. There will be a small day users fee for this launch area but the attractive sand beach make it all worth wild.
  2. Route 28. Just east of Raquette Lake along Route 28 you can park and carry your boat a few feet down to a put in near South Inlet.
  3. Village of Raquette Lake. What would a small village be without a put-in of their own? You can launch near the center of town by the marina and small country store.

Hiking destinations along the shores of Raquette Lake

There are two distinct hiking trails off the Shore of Raquette Lake that will get you access to two very attractive backcountry destinations.

West Mountain Trail
West Mountain Trail
  1. Sargent Pond Trail. This trail is accessed through the Tioga Point State Campground, which is only accessible by boat. There will be a small day use fee. This a 4-mile trail through a very attractive forest. Along the way you will have some outstanding views out over the water as well as into several small wetland areas. These wetland areas will offer great birding opportunities as well as a peaceful walk through the Sargent Pond Wild Forest.
  2. West Mountain Trail. This hike will bring the visitor through an open hardwood forest which will lead moderately uphill to the summit of West Mountain. West Mountain was home to an Adirondack fire tower, but it has been removed. While the observations are becoming a bit overgrown you still have some great views out over the region and several water bodies.

Camping along Raquette Lake

There are several opportunities for camping along Raquette Lake where you could change you day trip into a multi-day excursion and then some.

Golden Beach Campground
Golden Beach Campground
  1. Golden Beach State Campground. This state campground is located right off Route 28 between Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake. With ample room for camping within, they also have drive-up camping spots along Route 28 to add additional privacy. This is also an excellent spot to launch your boat.
  2. Tioga Pint State Campground. This campground is only accessible by boat and is one of the smaller state campgrounds in the park. With only about 10 tenting sites and equally as many lean-tos, it fills up rather quickly.
  3. Beaver Bay. This area has a couple lean-to's which are on a first come/first serve basis. This area is one of the nicest for scenic beauty and tranquility.
  4. Big Island. This is also an excellent spot with a couple lean-to's to inhabit.
  5. Outlet Bay. This bay is an outlet of the Raquette River but also homes several lean-to's to occupy. There is also some tenting sites right off North Point Road at the tip of the outlet.

Extended paddling options for Raquette Lake

There are several areas where you can paddle beyond the shores of Raquette Lake and I highly recommend you do some exploring in these regions, you won't be sorry.

Raquette Lake Sunset
Raquette Lake Sunset
  1. South Inlet. This narrow moving stream will get you out and about and up into the beaver swamps. While it starts out rather wide it eventually gets much narrower, but the scenery along the way is still big.
  2. Brown's Tract Inlet. This is a popular side trip amongst locals and visitors. This grassy passage will bring you along the base of Fox Mountain and back toward Brown's Tract Ponds. Take your time along this backcountry passage, maybe you can glimpse a moose.
  3. Marion River. This river route will bring you back to Utowana Lake, a popular paddling destination in itself. A foot trail from the river leads back to Lower Sargent Pond, if the desire so strikes you. Enjoy the sharp oxbows as you seemingly come back upon yourself a few times.
  4. Forked Lake Carry. This is a short carry along a road which will bring you to Forked Lake, the next major body of water along the Raquette River. Another State Campground is on the eastern end of the lake.
  5. Other fun side trips. While these small streams can be approached from Raquette Lake, they offer only a small bit of excursion potential due to their size. But under higher water conditions, feel free to explore as much as possible. Be sure to check out Sucker Brook, Beaver Brook, and Boulder Brook if you have the time.

As you can see the potential for Raquette Lake is almost limitless, the limitations are your imagination and drive to explore. If you are interested in heading out on the Raquette River or maybe want to get an introductory class in paddling see what one of our local guides can do for you? Need some gear, map and compass, or maybe just a pair of sandals for paddling, our outdoor gear shops can hook you up?

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