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Old 08-23-2017, 12:20 PM   #1
MrKawfey
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Forked Lake Info

Looking to get some info for a trip next week. First, let me apologize for so much fishing, I tend to prefer getting just enough info to be safe and enjoy figuring out the rest on the spot. However, learning to camp with a young family means learning to compromise.

So, I haven't been to Fork-ed lake in 15-20 years so my memory is a bit fuzzy. First, it looks quite busy. The couple of times I have been there, before the reservation system, it was empty. Got the big island to ourselves at least twice. I guess the reservation system is a mixed blessing. It spreads people over more resources, but it means fewer secret spots for the regulars.

We reserved site 40 (peninsula, maybe breeze, swimming) but now looking at google satellite view I am concerned that it may be a bit tight for 2 tents (2 person and 3 person). Anybody have specific knowledge of that site? 41 is also available, but 42 is taken and I would prefer the one site buffer unless 41 is significantly better.

It also looks like 59 and 60 are available if there was a compelling reason to switch. Compelling reason might be better tent areas or more screening/privacy, better swimming. 44-40 look pretty bunched up without much screening between them.

Also I should mention I did quite a bit of reading through old posts and didn't quite find what I was looking for.

Next question, wilderness campsites (still no ump online): ARGIS (looks like they need some funding) shows sites down by the Raquette lake carry trail and some at the far west end but shows none by the lean-to. The ADK paddlers map also does not show tent sites by the lean-to. The NFCT map shows tent sites by the lean-to. NatGeo doesn't even show the lean-to. SLIM shows lean-to only. I don't think I have ever been to a lean-to that doesn't have tent sites around it. Can someone confirm tent sites at the lean-to location?

Lean-to location: SLIM and ARGIS show the lean-to just past the campground boundary across from site 60. Paddlers map and NFCT map show it right next to the outlet from Raquette lake. Can anyone clarify?

I'm kind of hoping that once my wife sees how small and manageable Forked Lake is, we could ditch the campground and get out a bit further.

Finally, can anyone recommend a nice quiet stream paddle from this lake? Something similar to Single Shanty Brook from Lake Lila. Small, slow and meandering. I think the Raquette river towards Long Lake might be ok in sections, but really wouldn't want a carry, much less 3 for just drifting with the kids.

How's the North Bay Stream or Brandreth Lake outlet?

Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:12 PM   #2
snapper
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MrKawfey - It's been a while since I was on Forked so I'll only attempt to answer some of your questions. Regarding the location of the lean-to, unless it's been move, it was on the point of land just before where the Raquette River enters into the lake; as you're paddling up from the state campground/beach area. There still seems to be some confusion as to whether tents can be pitched near lean-tos or not. Most folks speak with the local ranger to get their take on it. Some rangers are OK with tents next to the shelter and others want you 150' away. Whatever their answer, go with what they tell you as they're the one who will decide on whether you get a ticket or not.

As for paddling options; other than exploring the lake, the only stream paddling is up the Brandreth outlet. If you do that, how far you go will be predicated upon how many beaver dams you're willing to pull over.

The initial portion of the Raquette River where it leaves Forked Lake isn't a real paddling option and you'll need to carry about 1.5 miles below the campground before it's suitable for a canoe or kayak. There is a lean-to at this spot on the river and when walking the road, there's a path that goes off to the left, with a barrier to keep out vehicles, that indicates where to go. From there you can paddle about a mile down to the top of Buttermilk Falls but that's about it unless you want to carry around the falls. Even then, there's only about a half mile of water before you need to get out and do a half mile carry to the lean-tos at Deerland.

As for camping, if you are going to consider camping down by the Raquette Lake to Forked carry, you can drive down to that area. Just continue down the road you'll be driving on to the campground. Go past the right turn to the campground and continue on until you cross over the Raquette River where it comes out of the lake. Just past there you will come to a right hand turn. Make the right and continue down the dirt road about a half mile where you'll find yourself at Forked Lake. Put on the water, follow the shoreline to your left and you'll see the primitive campsites as you paddle up that way.

Hopefully some of this information will be of assistance to you. I also hope others, who know about the campsites you're wondering about, will also chime in.

That's all for now. Have a great trip and until next time....be well.

snapper
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:10 PM   #3
Grey-Jay
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The west end has four or five sites and only one was taken Monday night. I could only get down the Brandeth about a mile before a huge spruce lay across the outlet. During a full day, only two motorboats came down the west end, surely less busy than the campground end. Some of the shoreline is posted public and some is private. No hiking ops down the west end. You can faintly here the jet skis and motorboats plying the northern end of Raquette Lake here. We also heard numerous explosions, which I once confirmed was Ft. Drum training.
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:13 PM   #4
Grey-Jay
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The west end has four or five sites and only one was taken Monday night by kayakers. I could only get down the Brandeth about a mile before a huge spruce lay across the outlet. During a full day, only two motorboats came down the west end, surely less busy than the campground end. Some of the shoreline is posted public and some is private. No hiking ops down the west end. You can faintly hear jet skis and motorboats plying the northern end of Raquette Lake here. We also heard numerous distant explosions, which I once confirmed was Ft. Drum training. I have likewise heard these at Lila and Lowes. I was a the campground end last week and was impressed with the number of boat trailers parked.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:17 PM   #5
MrKawfey
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Thanks guys for the info. When I get back I will share whatever I learn. Re: lean-to sites, I'm not looking for improvised campsites where you just following the setback rules. Would prefer an improved site under a yellow disc.

I don't recall seeing a lean -to that didn't have yellow disc overflow tent sites nearby. Maybe the ones at the west end of the lake are considered the overflow sites.

Per the DEC campground sites, the reservation system ought to have more site specific info. Like I said, I love the idea of venturing out without knowing every little detail before hand, but that's when you can adapt and make choices one the fly. If I'm forced to commit to putting a tent on one particular piece of ground a week ahead of time, I'd like to know more about it since it prevents me from scouting and choosing when I get there.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:36 PM   #6
bluequill
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On the northwest portion (west of the Raquette Lake Carry) there are three sites that I know of. All have tables, fire ring and privy. Plenty of level areas for tents in a nice, white pine grove.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:05 PM   #7
MrKawfey
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Had a great time at Forked Lake last week.
Here is some info for those who may need it:
Site 40 turned out to be a great site with a caveat. 40 and 41 are very close together without much screening. Fortunately there was no one at 41, but in the future I think we would chose a different site if there was.

41 and 42 are spaced and screened relatively well. 42 to 43 and 43 to 44 are all spaced and screened similarly.

41 and 42 are really open in the front where they face the lake and have steep rocks down to the dock.

45 was nicely tucked in and well screened, but it looked like it would be sheltered from most breezes unless the wind was just right. That could be good (protect from cold) or bad (wouldn't help keep bugs down. It also looked like it could be pretty lumpy with rocks and roots.

40 was really a great site. There was plenty of room for 2 tents (4 person and 2 person) and could have squeezed another one in. The peninsula gives you lots of room to spread out and the rocks at the end are great for swimming or sunning on.

We didn't really check out any other sites so not much else to report.

We did paddle up the small in-flow on the north end of North Bay. It was really beautiful, calm and relaxing. The kids loved spotting game trails and we saw plenty of wildlife. We were able to paddle about a half mile as the crow flies, which worked out to about a mile with the bends. This was without ever having to get out and pull the canoe over obstacles. We could have gone plenty further if we were willing to work for it.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKawfey View Post
Had a great time at Forked Lake last week.
Here is some info for those who may need it:
Site 40 turned out to be a great site with a caveat. 40 and 41 are very close together without much screening. Fortunately there was no one at 41, but in the future I think we would chose a different site if there was.

41 and 42 are spaced and screened relatively well. 42 to 43 and 43 to 44 are all spaced and screened similarly.

41 and 42 are really open in the front where they face the lake and have steep rocks down to the dock.

45 was nicely tucked in and well screened, but it looked like it would be sheltered from most breezes unless the wind was just right. That could be good (protect from cold) or bad (wouldn't help keep bugs down. It also looked like it could be pretty lumpy with rocks and roots.

40 was really a great site. There was plenty of room for 2 tents (4 person and 2 person) and could have squeezed another one in. The peninsula gives you lots of room to spread out and the rocks at the end are great for swimming or sunning on.

We didn't really check out any other sites so not much else to report.

We did paddle up the small in-flow on the north end of North Bay. It was really beautiful, calm and relaxing. The kids loved spotting game trails and we saw plenty of wildlife. We were able to paddle about a half mile as the crow flies, which worked out to about a mile with the bends. This was without ever having to get out and pull the canoe over obstacles. We could have gone plenty further if we were willing to work for it.
So, how did the wife like the paddling trip?
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:32 PM   #9
MrKawfey
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She loved it. And she admitted that she had been nervous for no reason.

I had taken a trip to Lake Lila the previous year with my son (5 at the time)(and others) and we had wicked wind that whipped up serious waves while we were paddling out. It took us about 3+ hours of paddling as hard as we could directly into the wind just to reach site 20 on the point. I think that story had her nervous about heading out with two kids and a loaded canoe. Also the thought of potentially needing to paddle back due to an emergency without regard for conditions had her concerned.

All valid concerns, but it wasn't until she saw it with her own eyes that she was able to appreciate how small and close everything is in the DEC campground.

In the end, everyone agreed that it was a fantastic trip. As a side benefit, SHE initiated a push to find a new family tent as my early 90's Kelty is too stretched out to shed water and as the kids get bigger it's starting to get pretty cramped in there. It's hard to stomach a 6 person tent, but there are some pretty nice options out there nowadays.
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