The Stoner Lakes

The Adirondacks 




Although I haven’t done too much canoeing or kayaking myself, Stoner Lake residents are fortunate to have some of the nicest canoeing waters around within a few miles of the lakes. 

The West Branch of the Sacandaga River is a nice stretch of water that is extremely popular. This stretch of flat water is approximately 8 miles in length and generally parallels NY Route 10 to the Shaker Place in Hamilton County.  After doing some reading and research about this stretch of river, I am anxious to do the trip myself.  I believe Jim Vivyan is the resident expert on such an outing and would a valuable source to discuss such a trip.

The Launch: To locate the first bridge in which to launch your canoe or kayak, drive north from the Stoner Lakes on NY 10 just a couple of miles. Just beyond the Arietta Hotel you will cross the first of two bridges over the West Branch of the Sacandaga River. Some people, although not many, start their trip here.  The water here is much shallower than the second launch and you might find yourself dragging your boat from time to time to find deeper water. The better and much more popular area to start your trip is approximately two miles north of the first bridge.  Here, you will come across a second bridge and small parking area.  The water here is much deeper for launching your canoe or kayak.  Right is a picture of the main launching area.  There is a lot of parking space and on weekends in the summer months you will find many cars here.  You will also see people camping in that location, although signs show that camping is not allowed.   Description: This stretch of the West Branch of the Sacandaga offers some of the most beautiful flat water paddling in the Adirondacks. The river travels through a broad valley of fields and marshes lined by mountains. There are a variety of different paddling possibilities: round-trips of approximately 4, 6, 8, and 10 miles or a one-way trip of 8 or 9 miles. Round-trips can begin at the first or second bridge and go as far as Trout Lake or Avery’s and back. Distances will vary according to the number and length of side trips into Chub and Trout Lakes. The one-way route begins at the first or second bridge and ends at a steep bank where NY 10 comes close to the stream. About 0.2 mi farther is an old Civil Conservation Corp camp dating from the 1930s known as Shaker Place. At present there is a locked chain-link fence blocking Shaker Road, so canoeists and kayakers can no longer use this area to exit the river. If you launch from the second bridge, an interesting side trip is to paddle upstream to Good Luck Lake.  The paddle is short.  You will reach a fork in the river shortly after heading upstream.  To reach Good Luck Lake, take the right fork.  If you take the left fork, I believe you end up back at the first bridge but I have never done this myself. There are a couple of places to camp on the lake and the campsites are visible from the lake and should be easy to find. Good Luck Lake used to hold trout but no longer.  The last time I fished the lake was about 5 years ago with my father.  We had decent luck but caught only yellow perch and some pickerel.  DEC stocking records do not show any fish stocking in recent years.  The trip though was well worth it. Downstream from the launch at the second bridge is where the real trip begins. The river here is noticeably wider and deeper. Within a few minutes you will come across Chub Lake on the right.  This is a small body of water about the size of Little Stoner Lake. According to books on the subject, there is supposed to be a large rock on the lake where you can stop and rest or picnic.  As you proceed down the river for about an hour you will come to the outlet of Trout Lake.  This is approximately 2 miles from the second bridge.  Depending on the time of year and resident beaver activity, sometimes you are able to leave Trout Lake and enter Little Trout Lake. This is difficult though depending on the water level. These lakes, looking at maps, look to be roughly the same size as Little Stoner Lake.  I am not sure about fish populations in these lakes but will start to research the subject.  I do know there are a lot of pickerel but I'm not sure about trout. Takeout: Depending on the trip you choose, the takeout will be either back at the launch site or at a steep bank on river left where the stream comes close to NY 10 prior to the Shaker Place. There is a rough trail up the bank where others have lifted their canoes or kayaks to the road. A few cars can be parked beside the road in a narrow pullout area. The cars can be seen easily from the river. By car it is 6.0 mi on NY 10 from the second bridge to the takeout.  The map shows the 1st and 2nd launch sites and the takeout location.  Also visible are Chub, Trout, and Little Trout lakes.


Another great place to canoe/kayak is the East Branch of the Sacandaga River.  I did this route last summer and it was well worth the trip.  To get here, take Route 10 past Avery's Inn and take a left onto the Powley Piseco Road before you hit Route 8.  Go about 8 miles down the dirt road until you reach the bridge.  You will want to start your trip on the left side of the bridge.  The river is wide and scenic with lots of twists and turns and some interesting areas where you will most likely have to portage a little bit, depending on how far you go.  I also noticed some nice camp sites along the river and numerous otter slides along the banks. The only disadvantage, as I see it, is that you must return from where you started because there is nowhere to have a 2nd car waiting for you.  Below are a couple of pictures from the trip I took with David and Sue Walker.