Adirondack Canoe Classic, New York

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14201A, Canoe


  • Travel part of the historic Adirondack Canoe Trail and scenic Northern Forest Canoe Trail
  • Enjoy a layover day with a hike to Cold River Falls on the Northville-Placid Trail
  • Visit the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY


  • All rentals (including lightweight Kevlar canoes), camping fees, and admissions
  • All meals, which will be interesting, tasty, and nutritious
  • Clear lakes, wilderness rivers, waterfalls, and great scenery


DatesJun 22–28, 2014
StaffTerry DeFraties

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Trip Overview

The Trip

This is a lifetime "bucket list" adventure for beginning and experienced paddlers alike, canoeing the historic Adirondack Waterways and sections of the scenic Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The Adirondacks have long been recognized as an outdoorsman’s paradise, with the lakes, ponds, and rivers connecting to canoe trails, including the classic Adirondack Canoe Trail as well as the more extensive Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Our route includes parts of both trails. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is the longest paddling trail in the nation and runs from Old Forge, New York through Vermont, Quebec, and New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Maine. In 2011 the trail was named “Best Canoe Trail” by Outside Magazine and in 2012 the magazine named it a “Best East Coast Adventure.” We will stay at lakeside and riverside campsites and soak up the scenery and atmosphere.

At six million acres, Adirondack Park in northern New York State is the largest park in the Lower 48 and the Northeast’s last great wilderness. Established as a state forest preserve in 1885, the park boasts more then 2,000 lakes and ponds, over 1,200 miles of rivers, and some of the highest mountains in the eastern United States. The area contains a unique mixture of state-owned wilderness, private lands, and several towns and villages. 

This is an easy to moderate trip and no canoeing experience is necessary. We will be on lakes, wilderness rivers, and trails, with varied habitat and opportunities to see wildlife such as eagles, loons, osprey, and more. We will break up the trip mid-week to hike to Cold River Falls on the Northville-Placid Trail, eat lunch, and swim prior to returning to camp. We will end our trip with lunch at the turn-of-the-century Adirondack Hotel and a visit to the Adirondack Museum to learn about the fascinating history of the Adirondack Park.


The leaders will arrive on Saturday and be busy with the final preparations for our trip. Participants who arrive early are welcome to camp with the leaders Saturday night at their lakeside campsites at Lake Eaton where, among other things, there are hot showers.

Day 1: The trip will begin with brunch on Sunday morning.  We will get acquainted, go over equipment, do our final packing, and review canoeing safety and techniques.

Day 2: We will shuttle vehicles to our take-out and move to our launch point on Long Lake. We will camp at the north end of the lake.

Day 3: We will lay over and do a day hike on part of the Northville-Placid Trail along Cold River to Cold River Falls, where we will have lunch, possibly swim, and return to camp.

Day 4: We will continue north on the Raquette River and see three more falls, this time from our portage trail. This is our only carry, but it is fairly long (1.3 miles). So we will eat lunch and/or, most likely, camp near one of the falls to break the carry. We will have lightweight Kevlar canoes (roughly 40 pounds) and we will work together to do the carry, taking our time as needed.

Days 5-6: Thursday and Friday, we will continue on the Raquette River toward Tupper Lake and camp along the river. Friday night we will camp across Tupper Lake from our take-out at the NY State Boat Launch.

Day 7: We will get up early, eat breakfast, and paddle across the lake to our take-out point, arriving by 9 a.m. Then we are off to the Adirondack Hotel in nearby Long Lake, where we will clean up with hot showers and enjoy our final lunch together. Afterward, we will load up our gear and drive our cars a short distance to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. The trip will end at the museum. (Admission is included in the trip price).

It may be necessary to adjust our trip or our schedule due to weather, circumstances, and conditions, so it is important that everyone be flexible.



Getting There

We will meet Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. at Lake Eaton Campground in Long Lake, NY. The nearest airport is in Albany, NY, about two hours and 10 minutes by car. New York City (with its three airports) and Boston are each about five hours by car. Participants are expected to provide their own transportation to and from our departure point, though carpooling is encouraged. The trip leaders will provide contact information and detailed directions to confirmed participants.

Accommodations and Food

Our first night, Sunday night, we will camp in the relative comfort of Lake Eaton Campground, enjoying relatively secluded lakefront campsites and amenities, such as flush toilets and hot showers.

Monday through Friday nights we will camp along Long Lake and Raquette River, with lake and riverfront campsites, and in one case the possibility of a lean to. The sites will be primitive -- they may have outhouses and, of course, only the lake and river for swimming to get “cleaned up.”

Our first group meal is brunch Sunday morning and our last is the final lunch at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake, NY on Saturday, June 28th.

Plan to work together to make camp, prepare, and clean-up meals. The trip leaders really like to cook and to eat, so count on interesting, varied, and nutritious meals. There will be plenty of food. If participants wish, they can bring additional between-meal snacks. The trip leaders will do their best to accommodate vegetarians and medical dietary restrictions. Those with challenging restrictions may be asked to bring or prepare some of their own food to supplement group food. Please contact the leader if you require accommodation.

Bear in mind that we will be carrying all of our food and commissary equipment with us, so there will be a few limits to what we can do. 

Trip Difficulty

This is an easy to moderate trip. No canoeing experience is necessary. We will review and teach basic paddling techniques on Sunday.  We do have one 1.3 mile (about 400 canoe lengths) carry, which we will divide into two segments, if possible, by camping near one of the falls part way along the trail. Our canoes are lightweight and we will work cooperatively as a group to complete the portage.

If you have cardiac problems, asthma, diabetes or carry an epi pin, please let the trip leaders know. If you have any medical or other condition or device that could conceivably cause any problem or might need accommodation on this outing, please let them know. They would like you to know how to swim, but if you do not or are not a strong swimmer, please also let them know.

Rescue and advanced medical care will usually be at least several hours away due to the remoteness of the area. We are advised that the area has a low population of deer ticks, but abundant giardia bacteria. The trip leaders recommend not drinking water from streams or lakes.

Equipment and Clothing

Participants are expected to have standard equipment for a week of camping, including your own tent (though we encourage sharing tents to the extent possible), sleeping bag and pad, and your own personal dishes and flatware. The leaders will furnish a detailed clothing and equipment list to confirmed participants. They will also supply all water purification, camp cooking equipment (stoves, cookware, etc) and food. Our outfitter will provide canoes, paddles, and life jackets, though participants may bring their personal paddle and personal flotation device, if it meets standards. A good two-piece waterproof rain suit is a must. Participants must have a 70- to 115-liter dry bag with shoulder straps to carry personal gear, with enough space left to hold some group gear. With advance planning, most gear can be rented on an individual basis. Of course, if you have any questions about gear, please contact the leader.

You will want quick-drying synthetic clothing that can be layered. For comfort and safety, avoid any cotton garments on the water. Wet cotton becomes cold, does not wick moisture, and can speed hypothermia. While daytime temperatures may reach the 90s, at night they can dip into the 30s. Participants should have at least one warm extra layer for cold evenings and mornings.


  • DeLorme Mapping Co.'s New York State Atlas and Gazetteer contains topographic maps of the entire state.
  • The Adirondack Mountain Club can provide a useful list of books and materials. They can be reached at or by telephone at (800) 395-8080 or (518) 668-4447. The Adirondack Mountain Club also has an online store where you can purchase gear, maps, and guidebooks.
  • Adirondack Park Interpretative Centers, Newcomb NY (518-582-2000) and Paul Smiths, NY (518-327-3000). Centers are operated by the Adirondack Park Agency. The Interpretative Centers' website is
  • The Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake NY (518-352-7311), A private non-profit educational institution.


We will use the principles of responsible Leave No Trace minimal-impact camping and use of the great outdoors. The leaders will also encourage discussion of preservation and environmental issues of the Adirondacks.

In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.
While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.

Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under a permit from Adirondack State Park.



Terry DeFraties leads local outings for the Thomas Hart Benton Group (Kansas City) of the Sierra Club Missouri Chapter and lives in the Kansas City area. He owns a small construction company and backpacks, canoes, kayaks and caves whenever he can. He has participated in, organized and led wilderness trips for over thirty years. With Sierra Club national outings, he has led or assisted on service, backpack, kayak and canoe trips. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder.


Jeanne Blauner has led more than 30 Sierra Club trips since 1981, including hiking, cross-country skiing, backpacking, sailing, and international trips, as well as Family River trips trips to Maine and the Adirondacks in New York and Family trips to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, Acadia National Park, and Cape Cod. In her "other" life, Jeanne works in business and new product development, and recently renovated an old mansion. Jeanne also leads trips for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).

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