St. Regis Canoe Area
The 18,400-acre St. Regis Canoe Area is located in the Towns of Brighton, Harrietstown, and Santa Clara in Franklin County. It is the only designated Canoe Area in New York State, the number and proximity of lakes and ponds make possible a remote and unconfined type of water-oriented recreation in an essentially wilderness setting. The St. Regis Canoe Area includes St. Regis Mountain, St. Regis Pond, Long Pond, sections of the east and west branches of the St. Regis River, and 56 other water bodies.
The St. Regis Canoe Area is part of a network of recreational waterways in New York State that attract canoeists and kayakers from across the country. In addition, the area provides excellent opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting and fishing.
The highest level of use occurs during the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August. Large numbers of visitors also come on most weekends between the end of June and the beginning of September. During these times, it can be difficult to find a campsite; visitors should be prepared to travel further to reach an open campsite.
Many of those coming to the St. Regis Canoe Area are seeking a wilderness experience. You can help everyone's enjoyment of the area by being considerate of others. One particular way you can help is by avoiding excessive noise. If you are not interested in a wilderness experience please consider enjoying the similar recreational activities available at the other nearby DEC lands or facilities.
Visitors to the St. Regis Canoe Area should be properly prepared and equipped for a remote, wildlands experience. Visitors should expect to assume a high degree of responsibility for their own welfare and for environmentally sound use of the area. Know safe hiking practices, camping & hiking rules, how to avoid getting lost (PDF) (191 KB), state land use regulation and current trail conditions.
Use the links in the right column to obtain important information for recreating on these lands.
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235.
Accessible Features: An accessible primitive tent site has been created off of Keese Mills Road. This provides a back country camping experience and no facilities, other than a parking area and path, are provided at this site. The site is two miles west of the trailhead for St. Regis Mountain
DEC welcomes all visitors to explore outdoor recreation on state lands and we are committed to providing an ever-increasing range of accessible opportunities.
Full Listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations
View from the summit of St. Regis Mountain
There are 19.7 miles of trails in the St. Regis Canoe Area, approximately half the trail mileage serves as canoe carries between ponds. There are popular hiking trails to the summits of Long Pond Mountain and St. Regis Mountain.
The St. Regis Mountain Trail starts at a parking area on Keese Mills Road, travels 3.4 miles, and gains more than 1200 feet of elevation to reach the 2874 ft summit.
The Long Pond Mountain Trail travels 1.5 miles from the shore of Long Pond to the 2530 feet summit. Hikers must paddle across Long Pond to reach the trail head.
Hikers also enjoy the 4.7 mile Fish Pond Truck Trail. The trail, and its 2 miles of spur trails, provide access Saint Regis Pond, Grass Pond, Ochre Pond, Mud Pond and Fish Pond.
There are 75 primitive tent sites and 3 lean-tos along the shores of the many waters of the canoe area.
In accordance with the St. Regis Canoe Areas Unit Management Plan members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program (SCA), under the supervision of DEC, created 14 new campsites, closed and rehabilitated 18 campsites, relocated 5 campsites, restored 5 campsites and replaced on lean-to. In 2011, DEC and SCA plan to create 7 new campsites, move 3 campsites and close 5 campsites. Please help the restored areas to recover by respecting closure signs.
Campers should observe all campfire safety practices. Use only dead and down wood. Don't leave garbage in the fire pit.
Better yet, carry a portable stove. Stoves heat more quickly, are easier to clean and do not leave blackened rocks and partially burned firewood. They are useful in rainy weather.
Firewood Alert - Don't Move Firewood!
Regulation prohibits the import of firewood into New York unless it has been treated to kill pests. The new regulation also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source.
Bringing your firewood with you? Most people don't realize they move bugs along with their firewood. You could be spreading diseases or insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Our forests are at risk from the transport of firewood infested with tree killers.
See Frequently Asked Questions for more information on firewood regulation.
The St. Regis Canoe Area is a popular destination for paddlers. Canoes and kayaks can access the water at Long Pond, Floodwood Pond, Hoel Pond and Little Clear Pond. The Town of Harrietstown maintains a public boat launch on Upper St. Regis Lake from which paddlers may access Bear Pond.
A popular canoe trip is the Seven Carries. This route travels from Little Clear Pond to Lower St. Regis Lake. It passes through St. Regis Pond, Green Pond, Little Long Pond, and Bear Pond.
The Nine Carries is another popular canoe route. There are a number of variations of this route that passes through Fish Pond and connects two of three waters - Long Pond, Hoel Pond, or Little Clear Pond. Along the way the route passes through Nellie Pond, Little Long Pond, St. Regis Pond and/or Ochre Pond.
Paddlers should be aware that some of the canoe carries may be in rough condition. The trails may become blocked by blow down or beaver dams. Some of the trails and canoe takeouts are muddy and rough. It is difficult to use wheeled canoe carriers on many of the trails.
- Inspect your fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it.
- Dry your fishing and boating equipment before using it on another body of water.
- Clean your fishing and boating equipment if it cannot be dried before its use in another body of water.
More information on how you can avoid spreading an aquatic invasives.
Native Windfall Strain Brook Trout
The St. Regis Canoe area is renowned for its Adirondack brook trout fishing in a wilderness setting. Fishing ranks as one of the more popular activities with anglers seeking high quality early spring brook trout pond fishing. 20 waters contain brook trout and other cold water lakes support fishable populations of lake trout and splake. Brook trout populations in several waters are maintained through annual stocking. The remaining waters with brook trout are maintained by natural spawning.
Protect Native Adirondack Fish - Obey all regulations regarding the use of baitfish and do not release bait of fish from other waters into any water. Human introductions of non-native fish have, and continue to, substantially and permanently affect the ecosystems of lakes and ponds. Populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.
Slang Pond, Turtle Pond and Long Pond are fished by anglers seeking largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Anglers should check the current fresh water fishing regulations for and know the statewide regulation and the regulations pertaining to specific waters.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping is allowed on all forest preserve lands including the St. Regis Canoe Area.
Big game hunting is a popular activity, particularly near easily accessible locations such as Keese Mills Road, Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Floodwood Road areas. The pursuit of white-tailed deer and black bear mostly occurs around the perimeter of the canoe area, however, some hunters seek a more wilderness experience. Camping permits can be obtained from for periods of a week or more so that people may camp on and hunt around interior ponds.
All hunters and trappers much comply with all applicable State laws and regulation.
Bicycles are allowed on the 4.7 mile Fish Pond Truck Trail from Little Green Pond to Fish Pond. Bicycles are also allowed to use the spur trail to Saint Regis Pond, known as the Saint Regis Pond Truck Trail.
Horse use is not common place, but does occasionally occur. Horse drawn wagons are used by some during fishing or hunting seasons in order to transport supplies and equipment. Horse use is of a rustic nature, as there are no facilities or improvements for horses. Most of the horse use is confined to the Fish Pond Truck Trail and its spur trail, the St. Regis Pond Truck Trail. At any one time, only one horse and wagon group is allowed to access trail system. Contact the DEC Lands & Forests office in Ray Brook (518-897-1291) prior to using horses in the St. Regis Canoe area.
Skiing & Snowshoeing
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing allow people to enjoy the St. Regis Canoe Area during the less used winter months. The ponds and lakes make for great skiing and snowshoeing opportunities when they are frozen over. The canoe carries create a variety of loop trails for people to ski or snowshoe.
The 4.7 mile Fish Pond Truck Trail from Little Green Pond to Fish Pond is one of the primary ski routes.
Side trails off the truck trail provide several loop routes that cross Saint Regis Pond, Ochre Pond or Fish Pond and connect through Little Clear Pond.
The St. Regis Canoe area has 75 primitive campsites, 3 lean-tos, 4 parking areas and 20 miles of hiking trails and carries.
Neighboring DEC Lands & Facilities
Saranac Lakes Wild Forest
Debar Mountain Wild Forest
The St. Regis Canoe Area can be accessed from several different parking areas. All of these are located a short distance off of State Route 30.
Floodwood Road provides access to the parking areas at Long Pond, Floodwood Pond and Hoel Pond.
Fish Hatchery Road is used to reach the rough, dirt road that goes to the parking areas at Little Clear Pond and the Fish Pond truck trail.
The Town of Harrietstown boat launch on Upper St. Regis Lake provides access to the St Regis Canoe Area through Bear Pond.
The trailhead to St. Regis Mountain is located on Keese Mills Road.
Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Gabriels, Fish Creek (in the summer), Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Gabriels, Fish Creek (in the summer), Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Lake Clear, Paul Smiths College, Fish Creek (in the summer), Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
Lodging may be found in Lake Clear, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.
A number of developed public and private campgrounds are available in-season within a 20-mile radius of the trailhead.
Tourism, Maps and Other Information
Adirondack Regional Tourism Council and Franklin County Tourism can both provide information about recreating in this area and other amenities. Use the links provided near the bottom of the right column to access their websites.
Numerous guide books are available with information on the lands and waters in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
A map of the St. Regis Canoe Area (PDF) (2.65 MB) shows the locations of trailhead parking areas, waterway access sites, trails, designated campsites and lean-tos. The DEC State Land Interactive Mapper can be used to print maps showing state lands, trails and facilities for this area or any location within New York State. There are also excellent printed maps and computer map programs from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Geographic and other sources. These are sold in outdoor retail shops, bookstores and on the internet. Use the USGS Maps link in the right column to order their maps online.
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.
Rules and Regulations
Motorized vehicles and vessels are prohibited in the St. Regis Canoe Area.
The maximum group size for camping is 8 people and the maximum group size for day use groups is 15 people. Larger groups that split into smaller groups to meet the size restrictions are required to be one mile apart and cannot camp or travel on the same pond at the same time.
Except where marked by a "Camp Here" disk, camping is prohibited within 150 feet of roads, trails, lakes, ponds, streams or other bodies of water.
Stays of more than three nights in one place requires a permit from the New York State Forest Ranger responsible for the area.
Use pit privies where they are provided. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6 - 8 inches deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.
Do not use soap to wash yourself, clothing or dishes within 150 feet of water.
Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through a filtration device to prevent instances of giardia infection.
Fires should be built in existing fire pits, if provided. Use only dead and down wood for fires.
Extinguish fires until they are cold to the touch. Camp stoves are safer and cleaner.
Carry out what you carry in. Practice "leave no trace" camping and hiking.
Removing plants, rocks, fossils or artifacts from state land without a permit is illegal.
The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited.
Carry an approved flotation device for each person aboard all watercraft.
DEC Forest Rangers are primarily responsible for search and rescue, wild land fire suppression and enforcing state land use laws and regulations. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers are primarily responsible for enforcing hunting, fishing, trapping and pollution laws and regulation. Both are state law enforcement officers and, as such, can and do enforce all state laws.
The St Regis Canoe Area is characterized mostly by gently rolling, relatively low terrain, with two exceptions - 2,874-foot St. Regis Mountain and 2,530-foot Long Pond Mountain. The natural features of the area are the result of glacial action. Interesting glacial features include kettle ponds and eskers. Little Clear Pond and Hoel Pond (on the boundary of the canoe area) are examples of Kettle Ponds. The St. Regis Esker starts near Fish Pond and ends between Upper Saint Regis Lake and Spectacle Ponds.
Water is the feature that characterizes the areas. There are 58 interior lakes and ponds totaling approximately 1,621 acres in surface area. St. Regis Pond is the largest individual water body, with a 401 acre surface area. Other notable waters include: Long Pond (338 acres), Little Long Pond (east) (82 acres) and Fish Pond (51 acres).
Approximately 2.6 miles of the West Branch of the St. Regis River, flows through the area and is classified as a Scenic River. The main branch of the St. Regis River is either contained in or forms the northern boundary of the unit and that section of the river is classified as a Recreational River.
There are a roughly 386 separate wetland areas covering 1,242 acres.
Birds associated with marshes, ponds, lakes and streams are numerous. In addition to several breeding pairs of common loons, many species of herons, shorebirds and ducks inhabit the St. Regis Canoe Area. Birds of prey and songbirds can be found in the many habitat types in the area.
Larger mammals known to inhabit the area include white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, fisher, marten, mink, muskrat, striped skunk, river otter, beaver, porcupine, and varying hare. A variety of smaller mammals are found in there too.
Recreation and logging have been historic uses of the lands of the St Regis Canoe Area. Since the 1850's, when the first hotels were built on nearby lakes, the lands and waters in this area have been attracting outdoors enthusiasts. Many of the canoe carries (portages) used today were created by the early recreationists. The State purchased major portions of the canoe area in 1898. Prior to State ownership, logging was an important activity on these lands. Motor vehicles and motorized vessels have been prohibited since 1972.
DEC manages these lands in accordance with manage activities described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan. The canoe area is essentially managed as a wilderness.
Unit Management Plans assess the natural and physical resources present within a land unit. The plans identify opportunities for public use which are consistent with the guidelines of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. They also consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use.
Important Phone Numbers
Forest Fire, Search and Rescue: (518) 891-0235 (24 hours a day) or dial 911
State Land Regulation/Backcountry Law Enforcement: (518) 897-1300
Environmental Law Enforcement: (518) 897-1326
Turn in Poachers and Polluters: 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) - call the TIPPs hotline to report any environmental violations or report it online.