Paddling the Waters of Raquette Lake

Paddling the Waters of Raquette Lake - Pure Adirondacks

Once I slid my feet over the side of my kayak into the cool lake water, the instant refreshment and relief from the heat confirmed that we had made the right choice.  With so many names on our seemingly ever-growing list of places to see, Evan and I always have a really hard time deciding what to do with our limited summer weekends.  After much deliberation we finally settled on making our way to Raquette Lake for a kayak camping trip. The lake has 99 miles of shoreline, making it the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. With about 80% of the shoreline being owned by New York State, there is plenty of area to explore this body of water. There are also some nice designated camping areas that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The lake was surprisingly calm as we set out – our kayaks filled to the brim with gear.  We have definitely gotten more efficient with our quick outing packing, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.  Heading North on the lake, we started paddling toward our campsite for the night.  Along the way we passed several beautiful private camps and the Raquette Lake Boys Camp – they have so many fun toys to play with on the water there… from a water trampoline to a fleet of Ski Nautiques, good times must certainly be had!

We moseyed over to our campsite, and after receiving a warm welcome from the blackflies and mosquitoes, we set up our tent and made some Italian sausage on our handy PRIMUS stove – a perfect tool for trips where space is limited.  Heading back out in the kayaks, we paddled further North on the lake seeking some front-row seats to the magical hour when the sun begins to set.  The sky clouded in, but for a few minutes when the sun was low enough, we were treated to a beautiful light show on the clouds.  Evan snapped some great photos of one of the lake buoys with the sunset in the background.

The mosquitoes were out with a vengeance once we returned to the site so we decided to forgo a fire.  Waking up to an overcast but still very warm morning, we packed up our gear and set out back toward our car.  The water was calm once again, so after dropping off some of our gear at the car, we decided to wander down the channel that connects Raquette Lake to Sagamore Lake.  The paddle along the channel was beautiful!  The water was incredibly still and dragonflies filled the air.  We followed the channel back to a set of falls where we stopped for lunch and then meandered our way back to the car. Paddling on Raquette Lake made for a wonderful weekend trip – one that I’m sure we will do again!

Check out more Adirondack Paddling opportunities throughout the park. 

External Resources

Paddling Options Around Raquette Lake (via

Raquette Lake to Blue Mt Lake (via PureADK Pioneer, Tyler Merriam)

Book Recommendation

Adirondack Paddling

65 Great Flatwater Adventures, 2nd edition, describes day trips that appeal to paddlers of all tastes and abilities, from parents with young children to hard-core wilderness junkies. The revised and expanded edition adds five new destinations, including Boreas Ponds and Essex Chain Lakes containing 150 color photos of waterways, wildflower, and birds.

Keep it PURE

Remember to Leave No Trace! Buy a physical map, read it, plan, and prepare. Think about the NYS Rangers and medical personnel that exhaust themselves for a rescue that could have been avoided. Pack out your trash. Use a bear canister when primitive camping and cook away from where you’re sleeping. Do the rock walk to help reduce the impact on fragile alpine vegetation. Camp at designated campsites and never camp on or near summits.

Sponsored By

Take The Pledge!


Each year, millions of people visit the public lands inside the Adirondacks. However you choose to spend your time here, we know the Adirondacks will hold a special place in your heart. We feel the same way. To Love Your Adirondacks is to protect the lands, waters, and communities we all know and love.