Adirondacks State Park
Main Route - Old Forge to Third Lake: Begin in the hamlet of Old Forge, on the south side of Route 28, immediately adjacent to the Town of Webb Tourist Information Center. A nearby municipal parking lot allows long-term parking. Before starting, consult the large map mural in the parking lot and sign the registration book. Canoeists are advised that there is often heavy motorized boat traffic between Old Forge and Inlet, including the Alger Island State Campground.
From Old Forge, you pass through about 1.5 miles of winding stream and come out into First Lake at its western extremity. Keep right of the channel buoy and head slightly southeast toward DeCamp Island, a State-owned property with four designated campsites and no open fires. Passage from Second Lake into Third Lake is not apparent. Mileage from Old Forge to the head of Third Lake is 4.5 miles.
Third Lake to Seventh Lake: A narrow, winding passage leads from Third Lake into Fourth Lake, the largest of the Fulton Chain. DEC maintains a picnic area (Fourth Lake Access) on the south shore of Fourth Lake just after you enter the foot of the lake. Cartop boat launching and parking facilities are available. Nearby Alger (Big) Island is a public campground with 15 lean-tos and a facilities supervisor in attendance. Camping on Alger Island requires a camping permit issued at Fourth Lake Access. There is a service charge, and accommodations on this island are dependent on whether all sites have been reserved. Distance across Fourth Lake is 5.5 miles to the Village of Inlet. Canoeists should exercise caution on Fourth Lake because of frequent high winds and very rough water.
The inlet to Fifth Lake (merely a small pond) enters at the southeastern corner and is about 0.5 miles long. At most stages of water level the area is navigable by canoes and small boats. Once through the inlet, proceed directly across the lake and enter a winding stream (passable except in very dry weather) that comes in on the left. This leads to an evident landing place to begin a 0.5-mile carry. Carry canoes uphill along the path and to the left 300 feet to NYS Route 28. Be aware of traffic. Proceed right up hill along the highway until you reach 6th Lake Road on the left. Turn left, proceed down the road to the breakwall at Sixth Lake Dam. Put canoe in and follow the south or right-hand shore of Sixth Lake. Go under the County Route 13 bridge into Seventh Lake.
Seventh Lake to Raquette Lake: Paddling across Seventh Lake is hard on a windy day. When entering the lake, keep to the north shore and head due east to a point of land plainly visible at the far end of the lake. Unless heading for the north shore lean-tos, avoid the bay to the northeast. Keep right of this point and swing easterly through a winding stump-strewn channel. Stay right of an island with a lean-to, and head to the dock that suddenly appears—this begins the Eighth Lake carry. A confusing spot to reach, watch for signs that indicate the channel. Note: At higher water levels, it is possible to canoe up the inlet to the Bug Lake Trail crossing to eliminate some of the carry to Eighth Lake.
Eighth Lake Carries: The carry to Eighth Lake, which extends through the Eighth Lake Public Campground, is one mile. From the dock, take the right fork of the road. Approximately midway there is a trail intersection: The road to the left leads to Bug Lake; the road to the right leads to the campground caretaker's headquarters where there is a public telephone; 0.25 mile ahead is NYS Rt. 28. For Eighth Lake, proceed straight.
On Eighth Lake you will find several lean-tos: One on a small island near the west side of the lake, one on the north shore, and another on the lake's north end. Also at the lake's north end (approx. 1.5 miles from the lake's other side) is another carry. The carry crosses the low divide between the watersheds of the Moose River and the Raquette River, a distance of 1.1 miles from the head of Eighth Lake to the access on the Browns Tract Inlet. Midway on the carry there is a short spur trail to the right that leads to the Old Forge-Blue Mountain Lake Highway (NYS Route 28).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication