Hiking challenges abound in the Adirondacks, and with good reason. With thousands of miles of hiking trails and hundreds of peaks, destinations, and scenic vistas, there are no shortage of hikes that can be grouped together to make for a great challenge.
One of those challenges is the Tupper Lake Triad, which combines three short hikes near Tupper Lake into a challenge that can easily be done in a day by most people, even the most novice of hikers.
But what about the thousands of lakes and ponds and miles of river that people have been paddling for 200 years? What about the peaceful waterways that house otters and beavers, wading birds and unique views around every bend? Why aren’t there any paddling challenges?!
Well, dear reader, you’re in luck! Tupper Lake is now home to not one, but two Triads! After 5 years and 5,000 registrants for the hiking Triad, Tupper Lake has now announced its paddling Triad.
Made up of three family-friendly paddles in and around the community, the Tupper Lake Paddling Triad is a great jumping off point whether you’re just getting into flatwater paddling or have years of experience.
To earn the Triad paddling patch, simply complete all three paddles on whatever type of hand-powered watercraft you like and then register. It’s really simple!
Axton Landing to Stony Creek Ponds
Starting at the historic Axton Landing, head upstream against the easy current of the Raquette River. At the well-marked turnoff, paddle up Ampersand Brook and into Stony Creek Ponds. In addition to quiet paddling, this route offers a good chance of wildlife sightings, so bring a big lens or just keep an eye open for moose, muskrat, otters, and tons of birds. This portion of the Triad comes in at about 8 miles round-trip.
The Crusher to Big Tupper Boat Launch
The Crusher is the local name for the state’s Raquette River boat launch on state Route 30, just a few miles out of town. On this part of the Raquette, the current is low and slow, and the bends in the river wide. Unique views and natural features make this 7-mile trip feel totally different from the Axton Landing part of the river. Leave a second car at the state’s Tupper Lake Boat Launch for the challenge.
Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam
The final leg of the Triad - though it doesn’t matter in which order the paddles get done - is a great way to either start or end the day. Whether you need a little time to digest after a lumberjack breakfast or want an easy outing before a night on the town, paddling Raquette Pond 3 miles to Setting Pole Dam is a great way to experience Tupper Lake. At 6 miles round-trip, this leg offers views of the village and great fishing near the dam, while starting and ending at the waterfront park.
Of course, the hiking Triad is still going strong both in summer and winter. The three hikes can be done in a half-day by many people, meaning an early start can end with lunch and a beer in town. The three short hikes, all within just a few minute’s drive of Tupper Lake, aren't all that steep, and offer world-class views!
Goodman Mountain is named for a civil rights volunteer who was murdered while working for equal rights in the south during the Jim Crow era. The trail begins following an old road, where the forest is quickly encroaching on the old blacktop. The first half-mile or so is wheelchair accessible, and the 1.7-mile hike to the summit yields views of nearby Coney Mountain and the north-central Adirondacks.
Just down state Route 30 from Goodman Mountain is Coney Mountain. At just shy of a mile, Coney Mountain is even more rewarding than Goodman, if that’s possible. With a long, open summit ridge, there’s plenty of room to spread out and soak in the views.
Mount Arab is located on the other side of Tupper Lake, going toward Piercefield. The trail up Arab clocks in at 1 mile each way, and continues the trend of the Triad with a pretty easy grade on the way up. Near the top, there are some nice lookouts and even a perfect wooden bench. But don’t stop there! At the summit is the century-old restored fire tower and caretaker’s cabin, which, when open, has historical information and displays. A summit steward may also be on hand to answer questions.
And when the waters freeze this winter, the hiking Triad is still a perfect way to spend the day snowshoeing!