Embark photo — Mike Lynch
Long Pond Mountain not only offers views of the nearby St. Regis Canoe Area’s ponds but of the High Peaks in the distance.
 
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For those who enjoy excursions that combine paddling and hiking, some Adirondack outdoorsmen have some suggestions for you. Here are three trips that include the best of both worlds.

Get hooked on Hitchins Pond

Activity: Paddle on Bog River and Hitchins Pond, hike at Upper Lows Dam

Rating: Novice 

Distance: Seven miles of paddling, two miles of hiking

Parking: 5.5 miles down state Route 421 south of Tupper Lake at Lows Lower Dam parking lot

Basics: Beautiful paddle on protected waterway, views of small mountains, bogs, lots of wildlife sightings including bald eagles, loons, kingfishers, herons, ducks, all kinds of birds, beaver, river otter, deer, bear and even moose have been seen on this stretch of river. The hike along the Hitchins Pond Overlook trail starts near Lows Upper Dam. This marked trail is a meandering switchback that takes you to an exposed rocky ridge that affords nice views of the surrounding waters and hills. There’s also a good swim after the hike to cool you down for the return paddle.

Obstacles: Procrastination, laziness

Perks: Fresh air, exercise, wildlife viewing, swimming, peaceful surroundings

— Anne Fleck of Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake

Looking down on the St. Regis Canoe Area

Activity: Paddle Long Pond and hike Long Pond Mountain

Rating: Intermediate

Distance: Four-mile paddle, four-mile hike

Parking: The parking lot for Long Pond is located near the end of Floodwood Road past the railroad tracks.

Basics: If you’re looking for a great way to spend a day in the St. Regis Canoe area, the Long Pond paddle and hike is a great option. Long Pond offers some of the quietest waters in the Adirondacks, and Long Pond Mountain is only accessible by canoe. Paddlers can expect to carry a quarter-mile from the Long Pond parking lot to Long Pond. Once on the water, approximate paddle time is around one hour to the trailhead to Long Pond Mountain. When you reach the trailhead, be sure to leave your boat to the side to avoid any congestion. The first mile of the hike offers easy rolling terrain and leads to Mountain Pond. After this point, the trail becomes steep for the final mile to the summit of Long Pond Mountain.

Obstacles: Be aware that Long Pond does become windy, and since this may affect paddle time, you should plan accordingly. The trail up Long Pond Mountain does have roots, rocks and at some points involves a bit of scrambling.

Perks: The views of the St. Regis Canoe Area from the large rock patios on the summit are spectacular, and a dip in Mountain Pond will refresh you for your paddle back to your car.

— Jason Smith of Adirondack Lakes and Trails in Saranac Lake

Finding Raquette Falls

Rating: Novice hiker, some experience handling canoes or kayaks

Distance: About a five-mile hike, seven mile downstream paddle

Parking: Ample space in the horse trail parking lot on Coreys Road

Basics: Easy hiking, with little ascent or descent; easy paddle downstream. The trailhead is on Coreys Road, which is a right turn off Route 3, nine miles east of Tupper Lake village. Shortly after crossing a small iron bridge on the dirt road, the large horse trail parking lot is on the right. The hike proceeds through conifer and bottom-land hardwood forest, with little elevation change until reaching the descent to the Raquette River. The paddle begins at scenic Raquette Falls. The river current carries paddlers downstream with little effort and returns them to the Raquette River landing in close proximity to the beginning horse-trail parking lot. Allowing a full day for this trip gives an ample opportunity to enjoy nature, eat lunch at the falls and swim in the river.

Obstacles: Need someone to haul canoes/kayaks upstream for you from the state “Crusher” boat launch on Route 3/30 east of Tupper Lake village.

Perks: Great bottom-land hike, lots of birds, spring wildflowers and fall foliage. Paddle through extensive flatwater meanderings of the second-longest river in New York state, and end up back where you started!

— Sheila Young of Adirondack Foothills Guide Service in Saranac Lake