Peaceful canoeing in eastern New York

May 5, 2004
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Peaceful canoeing in eastern New York
Question: I would like to go canoeing with a little fishing for five to seven days, somewhere within a day's drive of Cleveland. I'm also looking for somewhere with a lot of wilderness and clean, clear water. There will be two in my party: me, 42, and my 60-year-old father. We have our own backpacking and camping equipment. We're looking for a peaceful and memorable experience together.

David McMillin
Valley City, OH
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: I'm taking you at your word on the driving, David, because within a day's drive of Cleveland you'll find 58 bodies of water, 120-plus miles of continuous lakes and rivers, and plenty of good trout fishing. No, this isn't Minnesota's much-touted Boundary Waters; it's the St. Regis Canoe Area in the north-central section of Adirondack Park in eastern New York.

Motorized boats get the boot here, which means you'll find plenty of peaceful flatwater, ample campsites, and--good news for your back muscles--well-maintained portage trails that aren't too long. Still, you'll need to think light when choosing your gear, and don't leave home without a padded portage yoke. For the best lakeside tenting, start at Upper St. Regis Lake then paddle and portage your way to Little Long Pond, where you'll have your pick of numerous campsites and lean-tos. From there, choose your next move from an extensive network of lakes and ponds. If you're planning your trip for fall, be prepared to reel in the brookies; this area's renowned for its fishing.

One word of advice: Ditch the canoe for a day and try an ascent of the mighty, 1,000-foot St. Regis Mountain (mountain?!) above St. Regis Pond. If it's a clear day, you'll get 40-mile views of the surrounding peaks and lakes. Upper St. Regis Lake is three miles north of the town of Lake Clear, New York, on New York 30--which makes it a good full-day drive from Cleveland. For more information, maps, and route tips, call St. Regis Canoe Outfitters at 518-891-1838.

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