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Nicks Lake Campground & Day Use Area

tent campingshowertrailer campingaccessible featuresrestroomspicnic areahand boat launchswimminghikingfishingCanoe Iconicon key

nicks lake campground location map
  • Dates of Operation:
    • Opening Date: May 19
    • Closing Date: October 9
  • Camping Fee: $22 per night (out of state residents surcharge additional $5 per night)
  • Address: 278 Bisby Road, Old Forge, NY 13420 (directions below)
  • County: Herkimer
  • GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude): 43 41 18.06106N, 074 58 54.25877W
  • Campground Phone: (315) 369-3314
  • Regional Office Phone: (315) 866-6330
  • Make Your Camping Reservation: ReserveAmerica

Nicks Lake Campground & Day Use Area Map (PDF) || DECinfo Locator

Firewood Restriction Map (PDF)shows the 50-mile radius from which untreated firewood may be moved to this campground. Help prevent the spread of invasive pests and diseases by following New York's firewood regulation.

Support DEC Campgrounds

Members of the public can support DEC lands, facilities, and programs through our charitable partner, the National Heritage trust (NHT). Online giving is simple and secure and fully tax-deductible. Donations to NHT directly support projects and programs that enhance facilities, expand access to outdoor recreation and environmental education, provide public land access, and protect natural resources. Donate here (leaves DEC website).

sunset over water of lake

Located in the Black River Wild Forest, this campground has 112 campsites, picnic area, a large beach with lifeguards and more than 5 miles of hiking trails. The park abuts a 205-acre shallow lake closed to motor boats, which makes this serene location great for canoeing, kayaking, or swimming. And don't forget that fish pole, because the fishing is great too. If paddling around at dusk trolling for that lunker bass or brown trout, listening to the sound of the loons, and watching the sun set sounds a little too relaxing for you then how about a modern ADA Accessible playground for the little ones, volleyball, horseshoes, basketball and more than 3 miles of paved roads for the biker or jogger. Whatever you choose to do with your time here, take time out to observe the abundant wildlife. Whitetail deer are everywhere and friendly.

Just minutes away you can enjoy a chairlift ride to the top of McCauley Mountain to view Fulton Chain of lakes or drive into Old Forge and visit the multitude of shops and fine restaurants along Main Street. And once you visit Old Forge, you will have to spend at least one day at the Enchanted Forest / Water Safari.

Whether your day is filled with one of the many activities available here or you chose to just sit back and enjoy the campfire, you can always start or end your day with a hot shower in one of our brand-new state of the art ADA Accessible restrooms.


112 tent and trailer sites, picnic pavilion rental, picnic area with tables and fireplaces, flush toilets, hot showers, ball field, trailer dump station, recycling center, mobility impaired accessibility, sand beach, swimming area, bathhouse, playground, nature trail with 14 educational stations, hiking trails, fishing, bicycling, volleyball, basketball, and softball.

accessible features

Accessible Features

Sites 3, 31, 50, 70, 81, 109, Comfort Stations in Loops A, B, C, D, E (accessible toilets only in Loop D), Pavilion. Full listing of DECs Accessible Recreation Destinations.

Featured Activities



child playing guitar standing in water

No motor boats allowed. Rowboats and canoes allowed.



Fish in the area include: brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, bass, white sucker, yellow perch, brown bullhead, common sunfish, golden shiner, blacknose dace, creek chub, and common shiner. Fishing licenses are no longer being sold at any of our campground facilities, but can be conveniently purchased on-line or by phone.



The Nicks Lake Trailhead can be accessed within the campground. The Nicks Lake Trail provides access to the 122,000+ acre Black River Wild Forest and it's extensive trail system.



Designated swimming areas are available at some DEC facilities. Based on staffing, some of these facilities may have limited swimming hours/days. For the safety of our customers, swimming will only be permitted when a lifeguard is on duty. Beach hours will be posted at facilities with swimming. To inquire, please contact the campground directly.


From NYS Thruway, Exit 31 at Utica, Route 12 North to Alder Creek, Rte. 28 to Old Forge. Turn right at the Post Office, and follow the Nicks Lake Campground signs 1.5 miles to the campground entrance.

From Watertown take Rte. 12 South to Alder Creek, follow above directions.

From Blue Mountain Lake take Rte. 28 to Old Forge, turn left at the Post Office and follow the Nicks Lake Campground signs.

Get driving directions from Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

sunset over beach and lake

Planning and Management

The Final Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the campground guides the DEC's land management activities at this facility for a five-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. The UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use at this facility.

For more information regarding the UMP for this facility please contact the Bureau of Recreation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY12233, Telephone 518 457-2500, and email for campground information

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

DEC campground rules and regulations

Clean your boat and equipment - help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives

Don't move firewood - help prevent of spread of invasive insects

Hiking safety tips

Additional Information

sun on horizon with kayak on lakeArea Attractions

A few minutes drive will provide shopping and sightseeing attractions in the nearby hamlet of Old Forge.

Historic Interest

The lake got its present name from Nick Stoner of the south-central Adirondacks. Nick is a near legend in this area's history. In 1962 the state purchased 3,747 acres from Fred Williams, A. Richard Cohen, and Douglas N. Rice. In 1966 Nicks Lake Public Campground was first opened to the public.

Junior Naturalist Program

Our campgrounds become an outdoor classroom for young children (5-13) and their families. Enjoy games and activities to earn a beautiful embroidered patch.