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Let’s face it: there are hiking challenges galore in the Adirondacks with big mountains, small mountains, family-friendly hikes, pet-conscious adventures, and, of course, lots of views. It’s time to spread the love! And that’s where the Tupper Lake Padding Triad comes in. You won’t be hiking anything to complete this challenge. All you have to do is get in your canoe, kayak, or SUP and paddle three awesome routes near Tupper Lake! The three trips are: Stony Creek Ponds to Axton Landing, Raquette River Boat Launch (the Crusher) to Tupper Lake Boat Launch, and Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam. Ready to take on the Paddling Triad?

A solo kayaker paddling down a river in the morning fog.

These routes don’t need to be done in any particular order, or in any particular time frame. You can do them all in one vacation or over the course of several years. All that matters is if you’re out there having fun (safely). Don't forget your PFD!

View from directly above of a solo man in a canoe.

Stony Creek Ponds to Axton Landing

Stony Creek Ponds to Axton Landing is a beautiful flatwater paddle. It starts at Stony Creek Pond on Coreys Road, crosses Stony Creek Ponds, takes you down the beautifully meandering Stony Creek to the famous Raquette River to end at Axton Landing, a great scenic spot to explore. In fact, the whole trip is scenic and wild. There’s a good chance you’ll see some wildlife! Paddle out and back, or make it a one-way trip with two vehicles; either way, you can't go wrong!

The details:

  • Distance: 3.25 miles one-way
  • How to get there: From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 3 in Tupper Lake, follow Route 3 towards Saranac Lake. In about 2.5 miles Corey's Road will be on the right. Turn here and continue down to the state boat launch at Stony Creek Ponds. The launch is within 0.5 miles from Route 3; there is a 250 yard access trail that runs parallel to the southern shore of the pond. Park along the road, but take care to not block the private horse trail.
  • Put-in coordinates (Stony Creek): 44.224302533627444, -74.3147137376258
  • Take-out coordinates (Axton Landing): 44.20362006757268, -74.3266073010624
  • Helpful tips and tricks: This is a winding, flat river and pond paddle route. Once you get out of the ponds and into the Raquette River, it’s downstream to Axton Landing.
  • One cool fact: Bring a fishing pole along! There are lots of good places for fishing along this route. And rumor has it Stony Creek Ponds are good for prize walleye.

Two people in a green canoe with red life vests paddle with a green forest reflecting on the water.

Raquette River Boat Launch (Crusher) to Tupper Lake Boat Launch

Canoeing, kayaking, or paddling a SUP from the Crusher to Tupper Lake is, by far, one of the most enjoyable trips around. We promise, the name is much more intimidating than the actual location. The Crusher name only came to be because of the launch's proximity to a former gravel crushing operation. From here, the slow, gentle current makes for a pleasant trip with incredible scenery as you wind through twists and oxbows. Since the distance is on the longer side, one attractive option is to make this a one way-trip and just paddle with the flow of the Raquette River! 

The details:

  • Distance: 7.75 miles one-way
  • Where to park: If you park at the Crusher, it’s all downstream and easy paddling. From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 3 in town in Tupper Lake, head 4 miles toward Saranac Lake. There is a large parking area on the right.
  • Put-in coordinates (Crusher): 44.240124385635546, -74.3834349934199
  • Take-out coordinates (Tupper Lake Boat Launch): 44.19643418566628, -74.48379252178911
  • Helpful tips and tricks: Since this route is longer, it’s nice to have a second vehicle to make this a one-way trip. Make sure you take some time to appreciate the scenery around The Wild Center and enjoy the famous oxbow! 
  • One cool fact: This route is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which stretches from Old Forge, NY to Fort Kent, Maine. And The Crusher is the stopping point of day 2 of the Adirondack Canoe Classic (90 Miler).

Two kayaks sitting on the shore of the river with a lush forest surrounding.

Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam

To enjoy paddling from Raquette Pond to Setting Pole Dam, you can launch right from town! From the Tupper Lake Municipal Park, canoe, kayak, or SUP across Raquette Pond to the Raquette River, where you’ll float all the way to Setting Pole Dam. This is another of the three routes where you have an option to make it a one-way instead of an out-and-back. Along the way, you’ll see great views of the village and the low mountains beyond. 

The details:

  • Distance: 3.25 miles one-way
  • Where to park: Launch right from the Tupper Lake Municipal Park in town! It doesn’t get more convenient than this.
  • Put-in coordinates (Raquette Pond): 44.22739436950826, -74.46396563465284
  • Take-out coordinates (Setting Pole Dam): 44.23432435786921, -74.52944063719195
  • Helpful tips and tricks: Be careful exiting around the dam. 
  • One cool fact: The Raquette River winds its way 146-miles long through the Adirondacks before ending in the St. Lawrence River.

Two women paddle a red canoe along a river with trees in the background.

On to the next adventure

Once you’ve completed the Paddling Triad, register online or via mail to be added to the official roster! For a $5 registration fee you’ll receive a commemorative patch and sticker. (The $5 covers cost and postage.)

Does it all sound good, but you don't have a canoe or kayak of your own? Stop by Raquette River Outfitters to check out their selection of rental canoes, kayaks, and SUPs! Knowledgable staff will help get you on your way, if it's your first or 100th time paddling.

Canoe rentals stacked next to a wooden building.

Looking for more adventures? There are plenty of other places to canoe or kayak around Tupper Lake, as well as a whole range of outdoor activities to complete your trip! After a day paddling down a river, you’ll probably be hungry, so be sure to stop by a local restaurant for a delicious, Adirondack meal! You don’t have to complete the Triad in one day; stay for awhile and relax in between trips on the water.