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Stillwater Reservoir

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The 6,700-acre Stillwater Reservoir is located in the western Adirondacks, and provides undeveloped, remote camping on both islands and along the shoreline. The Reservoir offers a multitude of recreational possibilities including remote wilderness camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. The area receives considerable use during each of the four seasons.

Featured Activities



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

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 in the Five Ponds Wilderness, where group sizes are limited to nine people or less.

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, roads, trails or any other body of water. 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.


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.


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.

Stillwater Reservoir Sign

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.

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.

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



General Information on paddling includes safety tips with inks to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county. 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.



General Information on boating includes safety tips with links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county. DEC has an accessible hard surface ramp on Stillwater Road, 28 miles east of the Village of Lowville. (43.8906939°N, 75.0350278°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)



General Information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations. Anglers may find Brook Trout, Splake, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, and Brown Bullhead roaming Stillwater reservoir. Fish over 15 inches are common.

Accessible Features

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. (911 address- 2600 Stillwater Road, Lowville, NY 13367)

Parking is found off of Stillwater Road near the Stillwater Forest Ranger Headquarters (43.8906939°N, 75.0350278°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

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

All users of the Stillwater Reservoir must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

How We Manage Stillwater Reservoir

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) and Five Ponds Wilderness UMP. 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.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce (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.

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