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Stillwater Reservoir

Location Map of Stillwater Reservoir

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The Stillwater Reservoir, located in the western Adirondacks, offers a multitude of recreational possibilities. They include remote wilderness camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. The area receives considerable use during each of the four seasons.

In 1972, the Adirondack Park Agency was assigned to the task of classifying the different parcels of Forest Preserve lands into various land use categories. Surrounding the Stillwater Reservoir, there are two major classifications: the Five Ponds Wilderness Area and the Independence River Wild Forest. During recent years, popularity of the Stillwater Reservoir has greatly increased. In an effort to alleviate some of the problems and preserve remote camping opportunities, campers are now required to use only designated sites, along the shoreline or to camp at least 150 feet inland from high-water mark. The high-water mark is generally that point where the sand beaches end and the forested or vegetative area begins.

The Reservoir is 6700 acres, and provides undeveloped, remote camping on both islands and along the shoreline. Camping on sand beaches is no longer permitted. Camping within 150 feet of the high-water mark is limited to 46 sites designated and marked by the department. Camping beyond the 150 feet limit, as in past years, is relatively unrestricted. The intention here is to move camper use back from the water's edge to less fragile sites. The only exception is to the north of the Reservoir, which is the Five Ponds Wilderness, where group sizes are limited to nine people or less.

There are excellent flat water canoeing possibilities. There is questionable legal access beyond the eastern end of the reservoir towards Nehashane Lake. Because of its size and the fact that Stillwater lies east and west, high winds often cause wave conditions that give canoeists problems.

Stillwater Reservoir Sign

Camping beyond the 150-foot perimeter remains relatively unrestricted, except for five Ponds Wilderness. That is, persons may use any site or open area for camping, provided it is more than 150 feet from the high-water mark. Furthermore, campers must comply with department regulations governing the use of state lands. These regulations will be posted at the registration booth at the Forest Ranger Headquarters and may also be found on the reverse side of the Interior Use Camping Permit. As the designated sites become filled, users are urged to camp within the Independence River Wild Forest Area on the south.

Accessible Features

Universal symbol of accessible site
Raven Lake Primative Camping site
Raven Lake Primative Camping site

Raven Lake Primitive Accessible Campsite at Stillwater: This is a drive to campsite which is located on the water. It features an accessible tent pad, fire ring, picnic table and privy connected by a surface suitable for use with mobility devices. Reserved parking is provided at the site.

Site #44 at Stillwater Reservoir: This is a drive to campsite which is accessed by a short trail suitable for use with mobility devices. Reserved parking is provided for at the road. An accessible privy, picnic table and tent pad are located here. The site is situated in a wooded area above the reservoir.

Stillwater Reservoir Boat Launch Site: The boat launch (directions below), has been improved for universal access and has an accessible loading dock, restrooms and pavilion.

Full listing of DECs Accessible Recreation Destinations.

Directions to Accessible Campsites

Site #44 (Stillwater Reservoir)
Site #44 at Stillwater Reservoir

These campsites are located in the Independence River Wild Forest. Take Number Four Road east out of Lowville. At mile 4, Number Four branches to the left from Pine Grove Road. After another 13 to 14 miles Number Four ends at the intersection with Buck Point and Stillwater Road. Turn right onto Stillwater Road. At mile 2, just past Moshier Road, the Herkimer County Line, the road reverts back to the name Number Four Road.

Get to the Raven Lake Campsite by going straight to the hamlet of Stillwater. Take the first left in Stillwater then another left. Proceed approximately a mile to the Stillwater dam. Go another quarter mile and the campsite is on the right just before the bridge.

Get to site #44 by continuing to the intersection with the Stillwater Big Moose road a half mile shy of the hamlet of Stillwater. Turn right (south). Proceed approximately 2 miles. The campsite is on the left.


Located in northern Herkimer County, the Stillwater Reservoir Boat Launch Site and Forest Ranger Headquarters can be reached by traveling easterly from Lowville or northerly from the Old Forge-Eagle Bay area.

To reach the Reservoir from Lowville, turn easterly off Route 12 in the center of the village onto River Street. After a short distance, River Street becomes the Number Four Road leading to Bushes Landing. At this point, the Number Four Road turns to the left and continues 9.0 miles to the hamlet of Number Four. At Number Four, turn right onto the Stillwater Road, which you will follow 8.6 miles to the Reservoir.

A photograph of Stillwater Reservoir
Stillwater Reservoir
To reach the Reservoir from Eagle Bay, turn north off of Route 28 in the center of the hamlet onto Big Moose Road. At a point 6.5 miles from Eagle Bay, turn left at what is called the Glenmore Corner. In another 1.5 miles, the hamlet of Big Moose is reached. Here the Macadam Road ends and a gravel road continues on for another 10 miles to the Stillwater Road. At this point a right turn leads to the boat launch and the Forest Ranger Headquarters.

General Information:

Camping permits and general information may be obtained from the hamlet of Stillwater at the Forest Ranger Headquarters; 315-376-8030 or Forest Ranger Dispatch Line at Ray Brook at 518-891-0235.


Sites: There are no reservations. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis. No camping fee. Forty-six designated sites with capacity for 6 to 9 people, except for 3 sites which are set up for groups of 10 or more.

Designated Camping Sites
# Site Name Max.
# Site Name Max.
1 Kettle Hole 8 24 Gun Harbor Entrance 6
2 The Lagoon 6 25 North Branch 6
3 Evergreen Landing 8 26 North Point-East End 20
4 Peaked Mtn. Outlet 8 27 Fox Island 8
5 West end of Long Is. 6 28 Loon Island 6
6 East end of Long Is. 6 29 Bay Island Point 6
7 The Notch 6 30 Picnic Point 8
8 Lone Pine Point 8 31 Picnic Point West 8
9 North Shore 6 32 Hat Point 6
10 Island 26 6 33 Spruce Island 8
11 Halstead's 8 34 Twin Pine Island 8
12 Popple Point 8 35 Sandy Point 6
13 Rockwell Point 8 36 Island 16 6
14 Shallow Cut 8 37 Little Burnt Point 20
15 Smokey Bear Stump 6 38 Gull Nest Point 6
16 Hemlock Knoll 6 39 Melody Island 6
17 Island 33 6 40 Devil's Hole 6
18 Deer Bay 6 41 Island 2 South 8
19 High Knoll-Big Burn 6 42 Island 2 North 8
20 Picnic Island 20 43 Sein's Knoll 6
21 Dead Man's Curve 6 44 Tower Trail 8
22 North Shore Narrows 6 45 Loon Hollow 6
23 Osprey Point 8 46 Raven Point 6

Sign in and Sign out; completely fill out trailhead register sheets. Not only will you be easier to find if you get lost, information about use is invaluable in justifying expenditures for Forest Preserve staffing, programs, and facilities maintenance. Always leave word with someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Campfires: Campfires are allowed, but only dead and downed fuel may be used. The use of trail stoves is encouraged because of limited supplies of wood.

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