Lake Lila

Paddling

Lake Lila is located in the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area in Hamilton County. It is a remote, motor-less lake with 24 first-come, first-served camping sites along its shores. It remains a popular wilderness destination for paddlers.

How to get there

Head south on Route 30 for 12 miles until Route 30 intersects with Hamilton County Route 10A, or the Sabattis Road. When you reach this intersection, turn west onto Route 30 and continue on until you hit the Lake Lila Access Road. You will know you are on this road when the road turns into a dirt road. Continue on for 5.6 miles until you see the gate and a parking area. Take your boat out here, and there is a carry for 3/10 of a mile to reach the lake.

Type of launch: hand launch

Type of water: flat water

How to Get There

From the intersection of Routes 30 and 28 in Long Lake, proceed 7.1 miles northwest on Route 30 to a left turn onto Sabattis Road (CR 10). (This is a half-circle road, with two access points on Route 30.) Travel 2.9 miles to a left turn. There are a number of signs at this intersection, including a sign for Lake Lila and Little Tupper Lake Headquarters. The sign directs you to the Lake Lila Road (reached in 4.5 miles). After driving 4.5 miles, take a left onto the Lake Lila access road. Travel for 5.6 miles to reach the Lake Lila parking area. The speed limit is 15 mph. A high clearance vehicle is helpful on this rough dirt road, but a low clearance vehicle can make it with great care.

The canoe carry is three-tenths of a mile from the parking area to the lake.

Lake Lila can be rough in windy conditions, so monitor the weather forecast before any planned outings.

Paddlers can also explore Shingle Shanty Brook. It is a scenic, winding brook in boreal habitat. There are several beaver dams across the brook and it requires getting out and pulling your canoe or kayak over.

The trail to Mount Frederica can be accessed from the western side of Lake Lila. For paddlers, the hike is 3 miles round trip. (From the parking area, the hike is 9 miles round trip on a trail.) It is best to canoe to an open area near camp sites 8-9 to pick up the trail. There is a sign at this location for the trail.

Camping

Paddlers can spend the day or camp at one of the 24 designated sites along the lake and on several of the islands. There is no permit system, and the camp sites are first-come, first-serve. Privies are the new, wall-less kind.

Biking

Bicycles are allowed on the Lake Lila Road, but not beyond the parking area on the trail to Mount Frederica.

Birding

Lake Lila can get quite rough, so use extreme caution on windy days. There is a nesting pair of Osprey on the lake shore and Common Loons on the lake. The forest surrounding the lake was hard-hit by a 95-mph wind storm several years ago, so getting onshore away from the lake is difficult.

Wood Warblers can be found on the shoreline and Boreal Birds inhabit much of the area. (A Cape May Warbler has been seen in the parking area.) Canoe to the west end of the lake where an Adirondack Great Camp once stood or walk down the road past the barrier at the parking lot to the railroad tracks.

Both treks lead to superb birding areas. Spruce Grouse have been seen south of the lake in recent years.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Visitors can enjoy the Lake Lila Road in winter for a beautiful backcountry experience. It is a seasonal use road that is not snowplowed or groomed.

Find out more

Read our suggestions for a Summer Paddling Bucket List. One of them is Lake Lila!

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