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Bike, Paddle, Camp, Hike, and More!

Time to get out!

With spring comes work. There's so much to do: raking, spring cleaning, and putting winter gear away. Finally in late May I was able to get out for a bike ride with my friends, Trisa and Dave. Trisa and Dave are my very active friends, they are always ready to bike, paddle, camp, and hike. The three of us contemplated where we would bike and quickly agreed on our local DEC campgrounds.

Getting there

The staff at Fish Creek and Rollins Pond campgrounds have work to do in the spring to prepare for the onset of camping season. So, we thought these campgrounds would make an ideal place to bike because they wouldn't yet be flooded with campers. I was hoping my friends would be willing to bike to the end of Rollins Pond Campground, which is accessed from site number 135 in Fish Creek. That way we could bike through both campgrounds.

Cheerful staff in the registration booth.
Cheerful staff in the registration booth.

To our surprise, cars with all types of campers—and some hauling campers—were lined up to enter the Fish Creek Campground. Both Fish Creek and Rollins Pond are popular New York state campgrounds because of their numerous beautiful sites on the water and clean facilities. There are also many things to do on the grounds and around the area without having to travel far.

Rollins biking

As we turned onto the road leading to Rollins Pond, it was flat; however, we did encounter a few hills prior to reaching the registration booth. After the registration booth we headed to the right, as we neared the entrance to Rollins. The sky was threatening for a storm, but the forecast stated no rain until 9 p.m. 

Dave studying the map at Rollins boat launch.
Dave studying the map at Rollins boat launch.

After you pass the boat launch the road becomes hillier. The ride was continuously up and down — a great workout! I was pleased that I did not have to dismount and walk up any of the hills! Having your bike set in the right gear makes a big difference, so change those gears as necessary and be mindful of the speed bumps. Trisa and I hit one a bit too fast and hard; Dave got a chuckle as we both gave a shout. 

Watch out for the speed bumps!
Watch out for the speed bumps!

Rollins vs. Fishcreek—both are great!

Rollins Pond Campground is my preference for biking, camping, and paddling. The 290 sites are private because trees separate them. On this day not all the sites were open because the maintenance crew had to clean up brush from the winter snow storms and spring wind storms. Sites 182 – 290 were not open, they still needed to be cleaned up. As we biked, I noticed that some sites were closed for restoration and some needed new fireplaces.

Site 11, closed for restoration.
Site 11, closed for restoration.

Many paddlers, fishing people, and floaters (those who like to hang out on floatation devices for hours) prefer Rollins. The motorboat limit is 25 horsepower. However, others prefer Fish Creek because they can use their motorboats for water skiing, tubing, knee-boarding and wake-boarding, or just cruising! Unlike Rollins Pond, Fish Creek has a public beach, picnic area, playground, and amphitheater. Both campgrounds have many waterfront campsites, plenty of trails for hiking and mountain biking, and a boat launch.

Things to see

We checked out the campsites, rigs, and tents as we biked through the campground. We also watched a few campers maneuver their RVs into their campsites. It did not look easy. I guess that is one reason I will stick with my tent!

Fireplaces ready to be placed.
Fireplaces ready to be placed.

We noticed some fireplaces needed to be repaired or replaced. We came across a lot that contained new ones. It was nice to see the campgrounds were prepared to replace the fireplaces that weren't looking so good.

Creating fun memories!
Creating fun memories!

People were biking, walking, and playing along the park road, while others were either packing up to go or setting up to stay. We spoke to a family of four from the Albany area. The mom and her little guy were playing a game of catch with a Velcro ball, the little girl was being creative with colored sidewalk chalk, and the dad was busy at the campsite.

Different setups

How about this set-up?  A two story tent!
How about this set-up? A two story tent!

As we were leaving Rollins Pond Campground we felt a few sprinkles, but it didn't’t prevent us from stopping to chat with a family from Little Falls, NY. We had to check out their set-up. Their tent was two stories! The lower level contained a cot and a ladder to get to the upper level. The upper level was on a platform resting over the roof of their car. They sleep three family members in the upper level and one has her own cot below. The ladder and cot can be removed and a shower can be hooked up in the lower level. Very cool! The awning extends over the side of the car. One drawback, though, is you have to take everything down if you want to drive somewhere, but the owners said it only takes about 15 minutes to set the tent up. 

Rollins Pond and Fish Creek Campgrounds have a lot to offer. I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the grounds and activities this summer! If you want to head into town, Tupper Lake is a mere 20-minute drive. We have shopping, restaurants, and other attractions to enhance your experience!

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