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Camping at Middle S L Islands

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Overview of Middle Saranac Lake Islands

The Saranac Lake Islands located in the Adirondack Park of New York State offer a wilderness camping experience on state-owned islands. The Middle Saranac Lake, often referred to as the "jewel of the Adirondacks," is a scenic lake that is popular for paddling, fishing, and boating. Many of the islands provide designated campsites that must be accessed via watercraft.

Camping Information

Reservations and Campsite Selection:

  • Most campsites on Middle Saranac Lake Islands are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Some sites may be available through a reservation system managed by New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
  • It's best to check the current rules and reservation procedures before planning your trip, as regulations and systems can change.

Permits and Fees:

  • A camping permit is required for groups of 9 or more people or if you plan to stay at the same site for more than three nights.
  • There are typically no fees for camping at the primitive island campsites, but this may be subject to change.
  • Day-use fees may apply if you launch from or use certain facilities.

Campsite Amenities:

  • Most island campsites are primitive, offering a tent pad, a fire ring, and a primitive toilet.
  • There are no showers or electric hookups available.
  • Drinking water needs to be filtered or treated from the lake, or you can bring your own.


  • Follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment.
  • Campfires are allowed but use existing fire rings and do not cut live trees or vegetation for firewood.
  • Check for any fire bans or restrictions before making a fire.
  • Keep food secured and away from wildlife to avoid attracting bears and other animals.
  • Dispose of waste properly by carrying out all trash.

Safety Precautions:

  • Weather on the lake can change rapidly; always be prepared with appropriate gear.
  • Wear life jackets when on the water.
  • Be aware of the signs of hypothermia and take precautions in cold weather.
  • Familiarize yourself with local wildlife and how to handle any encounters.

Access and Transportation:

  • Access to the islands is by boat only. You can use your own canoe, kayak, or motorboat, or rent one from a local outfitter.
  • Public boat launches are available, such as the one located at South Creek on Route 3.
  • Boat shuttle services may be available from local outfitters.

Activities and Attractions

Boating and Paddling:

  • The Saranac Lake chain offers miles of waterways to explore.
  • Canoe or kayak through the interconnected lakes and ponds, or around the islands themselves.


  • The lakes are home to a variety of fish species, including northern pike, smallmouth bass, and trout.
  • Ensure you have a New York State fishing license and adhere to any size or catch limits.


  • Hikes are available within the region, some in close proximity to the lakes, offering stunning views and varying levels of difficulty.

Wildlife Watching:

  • The area is teeming with wildlife, providing excellent opportunities for bird watching and spotting other native animals.


Middle Saranac Lake Islands offer a serene getaway in the wilderness, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate a rustic camping experience. Plan accordingly, respect the environment, and enjoy the natural beauty that the Adirondacks have to offer. Always check the most recent information and guidelines from New York's DEC or local authorities before departing.

Location of Middle S L Islands
Other Campgrounds in SARANAC LAKE ISLANDS
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