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Old 03-13-2017, 04:32 PM   #4
Wldrns's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,783
I've paddled this section many times. Paddle BML 2 miles from the beach to all private shore Eagle Lake, then 1.6 miles on Eagle to Utowana Lake, 2.6 miles on Utowana to the half mile portage from the end of Utowana to the Marion River. The carry (portages in the adirondacks are generally known as "carries") here is easy and cart friendly if you have one. Then 4.1 miles down the Marion River to Raquette Lake. Try to avoid being on Raquette Lake in the afternoon, as it often gets quite windy and rough, especially on the north east end, where you are heading, 6.5 miles to the carry from the end of the Marion river where it enters RL. From RL to Forked Lake it is also an easy carry, mostly on a gravel road with access that begins on private property (access is permitted, don't litter). Half mile carry RL to Forked Lake. Be careful when approaching the landing on Forked Lake, as there are numerous boulders just under the surface ready to grab you as you reach the campground. You can get fresh water from the campground faucets, and use the outhouse there.

Then the carry to Long Lake is almost all on a road, gravel at first, then paved. It is a long 3.75 mile haul to the Deerland Leanto put-in. Do not be tempted to paddle short sections of the river, it is not worth the trouble to put in and then take out almost immediately due to rocks. Buttermilk Falls is worth seeing, but not by paddling to it. Just plan on a long carry (a cart is very useful here). At the end of the carry there is a very rough rocky trail down to the water; it can be tough to negotiate safely.

Paddle Long Lake with a potential stop at the bridge/beach (5 Miles) for supplies if needed at a nearby store, and a restroom at the beach.

It is 9 miles from the beach to the north end of Long Lake. Be careful of motorboat (and floatplane) wakes near the beach end, and potential high wind and rough water as you approach the north end. The entry to the river at the end of LL is quite shallow, watch the buoys and head further left than you might think. Watch for current flow to know where to go.

Another half mile on the river and there is a popular stopping place on the left shore where you can stretch your legs, but watch out for TP flowers. In another half mile you will approach the Cold River with a giant boulder in the middle of the river. Go to the right side of the boulder to stay in safe water.

5.4 miles from entering the river you will come to the Raquette Falls carry. You must carry here. The trail is obvious but very rough, especially for the first third, and not at all cart friendly. A cart is useless for the first 3/4 mile. You will have the most trouble here. Take your time and make multiple trips if you must, total 1.1 miles to the put-in. There is a leanto near the end, and a ranger's cabin where caretaker Gary would be happy to assist you.

It is easy paddlng for another 5.7 miles to Stony Creek. Turn right and paddle upstream against a mild current up a winding creek with pretty waving hair-like weeds on the bottom. Watch the flow of the weeds to determine the direction to go. Beware you do not take the wrong turn, missing a sharp left into the current and end up going into ampersand Creek instead, watch for the sign.

Turn left on the pond after passing the bridge under Corey's Road. There is a carry trail at the far north end of the pond (a sign will mislead you to go there), but I recommend not taking that rough woods carry trail. Continue heading left (west) in to the last pond, through a narrow and shallow passageway, then head left to where you can take out at a landing next to Corey's Road, 2.6 miles from leaving the river. Take the road (with a canoe cart) to Route 3. Turn right on the highway and walk a couple hundred yards north to the DEC Indian Carry sign (the road directly across from Corey's Road is labeled Indian Carry, but that is not the road you want). it is 1.3 road walk miles from the Stoney Creek landing to put-in at the dock on Upper Saranac lake.

Now paddling on Upper Saranac Lake, stay close to the eastern shore, watch out for motorboat wakes and windy conditions for 2.1 miles to Bartlett Carry.

Next into Bartlett Carry, use the DEC sign-in board. It is a mostly gravel road with a short section going through the woods to a muddy put-in into a 2 mile paddle directly east down the length of Middle Saranac Lake. Stay to the left of the island on the far end of MSL to enter the river current again.

in about 1.5 miles on the river you will come to the Upper Lock, which you can carry around, or have the lock tender guide you through, or you can operate the lock yourself, following posted directions.

Another mile puts you at the head of Lower Saranac Lake. Watch out for rocks in the river on the way, safest is to stay within the red/green buoys.

Be sure to take the correct right turn on LSL to head toward the Rt3 bridge, do not turn into a dead end bay too early. The sharp high rocky bluff on the left is the signal to turn right. 3.1 miles from the beginning of the lake you go under the bridge, then back into the river. Watch for rocks outside of the buoys.

2.3 miles from the bridge puts you at the Lower Lock, which you can carry around on river right over a fairly steep up and down hill. Or you can go through the lock as before. Now on Oseetah Lake, you will enter a field of submerged stumps, which you can carefully negotiate north past a small island if you do not want to follow the long way around where motorboats go in the buoys.

It is 4.3 miles from the Lower Lock to Lake Flower and the park at Saranac Lake village. The cedar tree is the official finish line for the 90 mile race.

Best maps IMO are always USGS topo maps, but either the ADK paddler's map or the NFCT would be helpful.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 03-14-2017 at 10:53 AM..
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