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Old 10-05-2021, 12:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 10
Camping near axton landing, stoney creek ponds?

Hello everyone. My friend and I are going to paddle-camp up by Axton Landing on the Raquette River. We have never been there so I thought I'd ask for any suggestions. I see we could paddle west from Axton Landing, toward Crusher and Tupper Lake, and there are several campsites along the way... or we could do the opposite and go east then north up to Stoney Creek Ponds, where there are 6 campsites as well.

I'd be happy to hear opinions on whether one set of campsites is necessarily "better" or more desirable than the other, Raquette River vs Stoney Creek Ponds. Whichever way we go to camp, we thought we'd explore the opposite direction on the following day, not camping, just paddling with unladen boats. Or possibly go south on Raquette toward the falls if that's a better paddle.

Thanks for any insights, really appreciate it.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:47 PM   #2
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I've never paddled Stony Creek and don't have any familiarity with the sites there.

But I will say that the campsites between Axton and the Crusher all tend to be pretty nice. A couple of considerations for this stretch of the river, though:
  • You'd be sharing the river with motorboats. My experience is that the river usually doesn't get too crazy with boat traffic, but it's something to be aware of and prepared for.
  • If you're going this fall, there's already permit hunting camps going up on some of the nicer campsites for the duration of the fall hunting season.
Another possible route worth considering either for camping or day explorations is to paddle upriver from Axton Landing to Raquette Falls. There's a number of nice lean-tos on the river between Axton and Raquette Falls, and near the ranger station at the falls there's 4 nice designated tent sites. The falls are worth checking out also.

Is your trip planned for the upcoming holiday weekend? If so, I would definitely try to get as early a start on the weekend as you can to give yourself the best selection of campsites.
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Old 10-05-2021, 01:36 PM   #3
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Trip is this week. Thanks for the insight, I'm not familiar with the hunting situation (just recently moved to NYS)... so I think you're saying that hunters may have gotten permits to stay long-term at the DEC designated camp sites, is that right? Good to know, I wouldn't have thought about "land based" hunters going kayak/canoe camping but I suppose water fowl season is here.

We are considering paddling toward the falls for just a day trip, good to know that there will be additional camping options if all the others are taken over by hunters.
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Old 10-05-2021, 02:10 PM   #4
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Big game hunters use canoes to reach more remote places. You'll often see bear and deer hunters posted up at leantos starting the end of September.
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Old 10-05-2021, 03:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by d31u58 View Post
Thanks for the insight, I'm not familiar with the hunting situation (just recently moved to NYS)... so I think you're saying that hunters may have gotten permits to stay long-term at the DEC designated camp sites, is that right?
Yeah, in NY State you can get a camping permit from the DEC to maintain a campsite for the full duration of hunting season- which in the ADKs runs from mid-September to early December. So what often happens is a bunch of hunters will go in together on one permit, spend a weekend hauling out a canvas wall tent, wood stove, etc., and then they have their weekend hunting camp for the hunting season.

The Raquette River is moderately popular for this for a few reasons. The nice campsites is one. Another is the fact that motorboats are allowed up to the base of Raquette Falls, so this facilitates easy access into what is otherwise a fairly wild and remote area. Most folks aren't really actively hunting on or near the river; rather they are just using the river as a means getting to spots in the interior of the High Peaks Wilderness to the east to hunt larger game (deer and bear).

It's also worth noting that you don't actually need to be hunting- or have a hunting license- to take advantage of the camping permit. Some of these permitted camps are much more "weekend drinking and hanging out camps" than they are hunting camps.

That's not to say that the river will be packed with hunters (although you'll almost certainly see a few- bring blaze orange for sure!), nor will every site have a hunting camp on it. More so just making you aware that a few of the nicest campsites will likely already be occupied by hunting camps and therefore generally not available for others to use.

If you do go all the way to Raquette Falls, the loop trail to the top of the falls and back is worth doing. One leg follows the river shore and provides excellent views of the falls along the way. The other leg follows the portage trail, which is on an old road, and gives you a quicker way up to or back from the head of the falls than the scenic route.
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Old 10-05-2021, 04:24 PM   #6
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I was up that way back in July
I would pick any of the River sites over the Stoney pond sites
But that’s me
There is a site near axton that is accessed from from the river but also abuts Stoney creek
I spent some time wiggling up ampersand Brook, it was a nice alternative to the raquette, very quiet, even had a bald eagle above me in spots
The falls are worth a visit, especially since we’ve had some good rains
Also there are many sites along the road beyond axton. 9 or 10 of them if you need a car camping or walk in spot
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Old 10-05-2021, 06:57 PM   #7
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I also would favor the Raquette River campsites over Stoney Ponds. I really like the sites between Axton and the Crusher. I don't think I've ever seen the campsite at the Stony Creek mouth unoccupied.

Speaking of the area, I'm also hoping that sometime soon the state takes over and opens up Follensby Pond for paddling and camping.
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Old 10-05-2021, 08:25 PM   #8
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Stony Creek Ponds

This summer I camped at site #3 on Stony Creek Ponds over Labor Day Weekend. The ponds are an attractive location - the Forest Preserve land (with the campsites) is on one end of the ponds and there are camps on the other. The sites are spread out enough and there are picnic tables on them. However, there is road noise from route 3 and worse (at least on the site I was camped), the toilet paper from people doing their business was scattered all around the site. Personally, until the DEC puts "facilities" in there to get some control over people's waste disposal, I will not be going back. I wrote them and supposedly they are going to do that and put a register at the put-in on Corey's road to monitor the usage.
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:31 PM   #9
Join Date: Aug 2021
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Thanks for all the tips. Had a great trip, stayed on the raquette river between Axton and Crusher, no problem getting a camp site. There were only a couple of sites taken, all by the larger hunting type camps you were talking about. Almost no motorized boat traffic... I think we passed one motorized boat the whole time. Paddled 14 miles the first day, perfect night at camp, and then another 8 miles up to and back from Stoney Creek Ponds in the morning. The ponds are gorgeous once you finally get there. The sites look nice on the ponds but I can totally understand concerns about the road noise, and I'd even add all the noise from people around the houses or cabins that are out there. Great trip, the trees were probably at peak color, and we rarely encountered anyone else out there. It was mid-week, which I'm sure helped. Now next time we go we can explore south to the falls.
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