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Winter wilderness in Lake Clear

March 22, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Lake Clear is home to the St. Regis lakes region, including the only wilderness canoe area in New York state, and it is largely undiscovered. This region has served as the historical and natural travel corridor of the Adirondacks, with unfathomable recreational, cultural, historical and environmental area attractions from Adirondack ice fishing, cross-country skiing, hiking, sleigh rides and a major destination for snowmobiling.

Lake Clear was an important commerce point in Adirondack history, first as a stagecoach stop and water connector between the historic Paul Smith's Hotel and the majestic Saranac Inn and then to the Adirondack Railroad. The main railroad line that came up from Utica/Old Forge, bringing New York City passengers, would stop at the Saranac Inn or Lake Clear stations, where travelers could visit either of these hotels or visit Saranac Lake, Lake Placid or Malone. This corridor today serves as one of the main snowmobiling routes in the region. Lake Clear has a few restaurants and lodging choices ranging from breakfast diners and B&Bs to full-service resorts and inns and campgrounds.

Lake Clear is home to the St. Regis Canoe Area, the state's only wilderness canoe region, making it a natural winter spa for all kinds of activities. The St. Regis wilderness is 18,000 acres of 58 bodies of water in the northeast quadrant of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park on the Adirondack scenic-byway of the Adirondack Trail, Route 30. We are minutes from the Lake Placid Olympic region and in the midst of the Tri-Lakes region home to historic Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. Visitors are a cross-country ski or hike away from the Adirondack Great Camps of the St. Regis lakes and historic Upper Saranac Lake.

A winter climb to the top of St. Regis Mountain is a breathtaking picture. St. Regis faces the High Peaks region and below are the Saranac Lake chain of lakes, the countless bodies of water of the St. Regis Wilderness region, and, to the north on a clear day, the St. Lawrence River Valley and Canada can be seen in the distance. Also see the historic fire tower on the summit.

This region features a series of hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even skijoring opportunities. Lake Clear is also home to several Adirondack guiding services, and equipment can rented nearby in Saranac Lake or Floodwood Road.

In the winter, Lake Clear offers sleigh rides with Belgium draft horses, authentic Adirondack sleighs and lantern-lit trails at the Lake Clear Lodge.

Lake Clear is also famous in regional lore for its ice fishing and is the basis for the Lake Clear Wobbler fishing lure. Lake Clear and surrounding waterways are stocked by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and you can visit the DEC Fish Hatchery in Lake Clear.

Lake Clear is a unique body of water as it is the dividing line between those waters that run north and those that run east and south. The rivers that run to the North go to the St. Lawrence River that separates the United States from Canada and connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The waters that run east and south flow to Lake Champlain that borders New York with Vermont and New England and south to the Hudson River and beyond.


(Information provided by Ernest Hohmeyer, operator of the Lake Clear Lodge & Retreat, online at



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