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Camp Santanoni Historic Area

fishinghikingbikinghorseback ridingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingprimitive campingparkingpicnic areaaccess for people with disabilities icon key

Camp Santanoni Locator Map

The Camp Santanoni Historic Area is a very unique location in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. It is considered one of the most sophisticated and distinguished of all of the surviving great camps in the Adirondacks. This National Historic Landmark was created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Robert C. and Anna Pruyn, serving as a place to entertain guests and find refuge from city life. Today, the area is a popular day hike destination during summer months, as well as a cross country skiing destination in the colder months. The three Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend events held annually are very popular.

Many of the original buildings are still standing and in use today, prime examples of local Adirondack craftsmanship in construction, rustic architectural detail, finishes and decoration. DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (leaves DEC website), and the town of Newcomb (leaves DEC website) partner to restore, maintain and interpret the historic features and facilities. The 32-acre historic area consists of three main areas of the camp and the old carriage road (Newcomb Lake Road) that connects them:

The Gate Lodge Complex includes a stone gate lodge, boat house, and frame guide house. An accessible vault toilet is available.

The Farm Complex consists of the ruins of a large dairy and horse barn lost in a tragic fire, as well as the stone dairy building, several houses, and ruins of many other buildings.

The Main Complex sits on the shores of Newcomb Lake and contains the main lodge, stone Artists Studio, boat house, and several smaller structures. In addition to these features, there are several other related remains scattered about the original estate. An accessible vault toilet is available.

History of Camp Santanoni

Photo of the Gate Lodge

During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, many of America's most successful businessmen built summer homes in the Adirondack Region of New York State. Intended as rustic but elegant retreats from city life, the largest of these Adirondack camps, became known as Great Camps.

Camp Santanoni was created by Robert C. Pruyn (1847-1934) and Anna W. Pruyn, his wife. A successful Albany banker and businessman, Mr. Pruyn used the camp for entertaining guests and for a refuge from city life. Mr. Pruyn entertained many guests, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt and the great grandson of the author James Fenimore Cooper along with many other prominent persons.

At its height, Camp Santanoni comprised over 12,900 acres. The Camp contained three distinct groups of buildings: the Gate Lodge Complex, the Farm Complex and the Great Camp Complex, as well as the 4.7 mile carriage road now referred to as the Newcomb Lake Road.

Camp Santanoni is one of the oldest and largest of the early great camps. It was the first to be comprehensively designed as a unit by a professional architect. The leading architect, Robert H. Robertson, who was a Yale classmate of Pruyn's, designed the Main Camp Complex. Mr. Robertson was responsible for the design of many early skyscrapers in New York City and elsewhere. Mr. Robertson also designed William S. Webb's Nehasane and buildings at Shelburne Farms in Vermont, also for Webb.

The Artist's Studio, the Gate Lodge, the Creamery and renovations to the Farm Complex were designed by the prominent architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich. The operational layout and working systems of the Farm Complex were designed by Edward Burnett who was an expert on "scientific farming". Contemporary assessments of Camp Santanoni characterized Mr. Pruyn's wilderness camp as the "largest and finest" in the Adirondacks.

Although less than half of the original structures remain, Camp Santanoni retains the core of its original form and layout and is therefore one of the few surviving great camps to retain the defining characteristics of the class. These include:

  • A compound design consisting of multiple, designed specialized structures;
  • Imaginative use of native building materials in construction and/or decoration;
  • A setting on a secluded, wooded lakeshore; and,
  • A high degree of self-sufficiency through service, food production and staff housing.

In spite of the loss of many of its buildings, all of these features remain at Camp Santanoni to one degree or another. Santanoni in fact epitomizes many of these features of great camp design. The rambling main camp building was constructed entirely (with minor exceptions) of on-site materials at an ideal location, carefully chosen by Mr. Pruyn. Robertson. The building was sited to take maximum advantage of the prevailing westerly breezes and the vista of Newcomb Lake and the Santanoni Mountain Range while artfully blending the large building into its wilderness setting and preserving the natural shoreline. Even today the effect is one of understated grandeur and harmony with setting.

Beginning at state route 28N the resource is composed of a Gate Lodge Complex where a stone gate lodge, boat house and frame guide house remain.

The Farm Complex is located approximately one mile from route 28N and currently consists of a large dairy and horse barn, stone dairy building and several houses. The ruins of many other buildings are also present.

The Main Camp is located on Newcomb Lake, five miles from route 28N. The 15,000 square foot main lodge, stone Artists Studio, log Boat House and several smaller structures survive. Other related remains scattered about the original estate include a bath house on Newcomb Lake, a maple sugaring complex, farm sheds, as well as the ruins of a hunting camp and boat house on Moose Pond.

The building complexes are connected by a five mile gravel carriage road.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

Newcomb Lake Road Trail is a 5-mile gravel former carriage road that extends from the trailhead at the Gate Lodge to Newcomb Lake. The trail ascends 350 feet in 3.0 miles and then descends 250 feet to the Main Complex on Newcomb Lake. The trail passes through the Farm Complex 0.7 miles from the trailhead. DEC and its partners use this road for administrative purposes include transporting materials and staff for restoration work at the Farm Complex and the Main Complex.

Santanoni-Lake Harris Trail extends 1.75 miles along the north shore of Lake Harris connecting the Gate Lodge Complex and DEC's Lake Harris Campground.

Santanoni-AIC Connector Trail connects with the Newcomb Lake Road Trail 0.3 mile from the trailhead and extends 0.5 mile to the Adirondack Interpretive Center's 3.6-mile interpretive trail system.

The 236-acre Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) sets on the shores of Rich Lake and Rich Lake outlet. AIC is managed the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forest (ESF). In addition to the trail system, AIC has an interpretive center with naturalists and holds many programs regarding the cultural and natural history of the Northern Forest.

The Moose Pond Horse Trail leaves the Newcomb Lake Road Trail and enters the High Peaks Wilderness approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead and the Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond Trail leaves the trail approximately 1 mile before the Main Complex.

The Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond Trail connects with the Newcomb Lake Trail to form a 4.2 mile loop trail around the Newcomb Lake which passes through the Main Complex. The trail has numerous ascents and descents of various heights but no more than 125 feet.

See the Accessibility section for information on access by horse and wagon.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

There are 7 designated primitive tent sites near the Main Complex.

5 of them are south of the Main Complex along the Newcomb Lake Road Trail on the shores of Newcomb Lake Outlet.

The other 2 north of the Main Complex on the shores of Newcomb Lake and may be accessed using the Newcomb Lake Trail.

An additional primitive tent site and the Ward Pond Brook Lean-to are located on the eastern shores of Newcomb Lake along the Newcomb Lake Trail in the adjoining High Peaks Wilderness.

The Newcomb Lake Lean-to is located along the Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond Trail on the western shores of the lake in the adjoining High Peaks Wilderness.

See the Accessibility section for information on access by horse and wagon.

Biking

biking

General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations

Newcomb Lake Road Trail is a 5-mile gravel former carriage road that extends from the trailhead at the Gate Lodge to Newcomb Lake. It is open to biking when there is no snow on the ground. The trail ascends 350 feet in 3.0 miles and then descends 250 feet to the Main Complex on Newcomb Lake. The trail passes through the Farm Complex 0.7 miles from the trailhead.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

cross country skiers

Camp Santanoni is a popular cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Newcomb Lake Road Trail is a 5-mile gravel former carriage road that extends from the trailhead at the Gate Lodge to Newcomb Lake. The trail ascends 350 feet in 3.0 miles and then descends 250 feet to the Main Complex on Newcomb Lake. The trail passes through the Farm Complex 0.7 miles from the trailhead.

Three Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend Events are held annually and attended by many cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

Newcomb Lake Road Trail is a 5-mile gravel former carriage road that extends from the trailhead at the Gate Lodge to Newcomb Lake. The trail ascends 350 feet in 3.0 miles and then descends 250 feet to the Main Complex on Newcomb Lake. The trail passes through the Farm Complex 0.7 miles from the trailhead.

This trail also provides access to the Moose Pond Horse Trail in the adjacent High Peaks Wilderness.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

Newcomb Lake, a deep, cold water lake contains lake trout and brook trout.

See the Accessibility section for information on access by horse and wagon.

Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing provides information on fishing in the Adirondacks and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish; populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.

Picnicking

picnic area

Picnic tables are available in the Gate Lodge Complex, the Farm Complex and the Main Complex. Accessible portable toilets are available in the Gate Lodge Complex and the Main Complex.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many birds (Common Loon, Peregrine Falcon) and mammals (Moose, Black Bear) are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another.

Accessible Recreation

Person on the porch looking out at trees
access for people with disabilities

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

A horse and accessible wagon may be reserved to travel the Newcomb Lake Road Trail between the Gate Lodge Complex and the Main Complex. Qualified persons with disabilities can ride for free. This service is provided by Newcombe Farms (518-480-1743) through a contract with DEC. Others can ride for a fee.

Accessible vault toilets are available at the Gate Lodge Complex and the Main Complex.

12-foot wide covered porches around the Main Lodge are accessible by ramp.

Accessible horse mounting platforms are available at the Gate Lodge Complex and the Main Complex.

Directions

Two people on a path looking at the Main Lodge

Camp Santanoni Historic Area is accessed from the Gate Lodge Parking Area, located on Newcomb Lake Road, off NY Route 28N. 43.9737°N, 74.1650°W Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts other backcountry users.

All users of Camp Santanoni Historic Area must follow all State Land Use Regulation and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Public motor vehicle use of the Newcomb Lake Road Trail is prohibited.

How We Manage Camp Santanoni Historic Area

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Camp Santanoni Historic Area Unit Management Plan -PDF (1.2 MB). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us r5.ump@dec.ny.gov

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Newcomb, Long Lake, North Hudson, and Olmstedville.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Long Lake, Minerva and Olmstedville
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Newcomb, Long Lake, Minerva, and Olmstedville
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Long Lake, Minerva, Newcomb, North Hudson, and Olmstedville.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Essex County/Lake Placid Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.