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Lake ClearPaul SmithsSanta Clara
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Paddling
 

DISTANCE: Up to 7 miles round trip

SHUTTLE: No

ROUTE: Paddle across the flow to Quebec Brook, which isn’t really a brook until much further upstream where it flows through private property. It’s still really a flow as you paddle upstream. There’s no current and plenty of shallow sections in this boreal wetland. After 2 miles, you’ll see Rice Mountain on the left. A half-mile further, you’ll come upon a derelict hunting cabin on an island. In this general area, according to maps and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, you are no longer on state property although there aren’t any obvious signs that tell you to turn around. Paddle from here at your own discretion. The waterway is navigable for quite a bit further.

CARRIES: Just one. You have to carry from the parking lot to the water. You have two options for the carry. One is to continue down the old road past the gate for a little more than four-tenths of a mile. The other is to take the road to the left of the parking lot, which is a little less than one-tenth of a mile shorter. The first option means you’ll paddle through the shallow area of the flow while the second leads you to slightly deeper water on Quebec Brook.

PERKS: Lots of boreal bird and animal life. Beaver lodges are in abundance. The setting feels quite remote, especially because you have to drive more than six miles down a dirt road to get to a put-in.

OBSTACLES: In the flow, the water can be shallow. You may wind up hitting bottom a few times. West winds can be strong when paddling downstream back to your car. The area isn’t well marked or maintained but that’s not too big a deal. Just make sure you have a map to find your way around.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Take Route 30 north from Paul Smiths. Turn left on Route 458 and drive for 1.4 miles until you come to a sign on the left for the Santa Clara Tract and Madawaska Road. Drive about six miles down a dirt road to a parking lot, where there is a trail register. You’ll know you are almost at the end when you start passing hunting camps at about 5.7 miles.

MAPS: Adirondack Paddler’s Map, National Geographic’s Adirondack Park Saranac/Paul Smiths