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Bog River Flow (Lows Lake)

Canoe and Camping Recreation

View Bog River Flow Map - PDF (2.85 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper

View from Hitchins Pond Overlook

State owned lands along Bog River between Lows Lower and Upper Dams and at Lows Lake offer canoeists a unique opportunity to enjoy over 14.5 miles of unencumbered scenic waters with only one short carry around Lows Upper Dam.For the more adventuresome, a carry of approximately 3.5 miles from the west end of Lows Lake to Oswegatchie River will be rewarded with an approximately 16 mile trip down that river to Inlet, with only a short carry above High Falls. Numerous beaver dams occur around High Falls.

Navigability of this route was established by the two dams built by A.A. Low in 1903 (Lows Lower dam) and 1907 (Lows Upper dam). Originally constructed to produce electricity, these structures now provide a quality recreational experience enhanced by the departments prohibition on using mechanically propelled vessels between the two dams.


Primary public access to the area is by a short gravel road off State Route 421 to Lows Lower Dam, where a canoe may be launched. This road may be gated in the spring to protect it during frost-out. Alternate canoe access is available at Horseshoe Lake Outlet.


Morning mist on Hitchins Pond

Thirty-nine numbered campsites have been constructed and designated (site number, fire ring, and round 4.5 inch yellow marker) for public use on a first-come, first-served basis. If you choose to camp at sites other than those designated, you are responsible for:

  1. Knowing that you are on state lands and not trespassing on private lands.
  2. Camping at least 150 feet from any road, trail, spring, stream, pond, or other body of water.
  3. Cleaning up your site to remove traces of use.
  4. Camping is restricted to parties of nine or less. Campers are encouraged to limit their number to six persons or less to reduce the impact on sites.
A person in the lake fishing


Persons wishing to stay at one location for more than three nights, or to use Virgin Timber, Boone's or Moose Bay landing during June, July, or August (see below) must obtain a permit in advance from:

Forest Rangers
190 Outer Main Street, Suite 103
Potsdam NY 13676
Group permits for parties of ten or more will NOT be issued for this area.

Special Restrictions

Pole, Gooseneck, and Frying Pan Islands, shown on the map, are reserved by deed for Hiawatha Boy Scout Council exclusive use during June, July, and August. For the public, camping on these islands is prohibited at any time during the year.

Three landings on the south shore, shared with Hiawatha Boy Scout Council, known as Virgin Timber, Boone's and Moose Bay, may be used by permit only during June, July, and August.

View from a campsite


Winds need not be exceptionally strong to create whitecaps on Lows Lake. During periods of rough weather, canoeists are encouraged to keep to the northern shoreline as it is generally the more protected route. The canoeist can stay out of the main body of water along this route by using a short carry between campsites 19 and 23, and crossing the causeway west of Site 25.


Users of this area are advised not to trespass on adjacent private lands. The road to Lows Upper Dam from Sabattis is private property, as is a large amount of the shoreline above the Lows Upper Dam.


This area supports a wide variety of wildlife. Loons are especially plentiful and the observant person could spot an osprey, a raven, a spruce grouse or even a bald eagle.


Largemouth bass ranging in size from 1-5 pounds are common in Lows Lake. Try fishing the bog margins during early evening.

Canoeists enjoying the area

Special Conditions

This area supports one of the largest loon nesting populations in New York, and users are warned to be especially careful not to disturb their nesting sites.

Bears are common and users are advised to take extra precautions to keep their food stored away from the campsite.

Be especially careful with fires. If you require an open fire, clear away flammable material as necessary to prevent spread. Burn only dead wood from trees already down. At undesignated sites, build a stone fire ring, but scatter stones when you leave. Be sure fire is completely extinguished and debris is removed from the ashes before departing.Leaving an unattended fire is a violation of Environmental Conservation Law.


On July 15, 1995, severe winds blew down many trees in the western part of this area. The map shows areas of greatest damage, but much of the remaining area is difficult to traverse. This means additional responsibility for users to provide for their own safety. Be careful with open fires and bring backpack stoves because higher levels of fire danger may result in banning of campfires. The Potsdam DEC office at (315) 265-3090 provides information on trails.

More about Bog River Flow (Lows Lake):

  • Bog River Flow Map - Map showing shoreline and campsites along Bog River Flow (Lows Lake)