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On the trails to Long Lake and Raquette Lake

March 22, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Long Lake's and Raquette Lake's unique location in the center of the Adirondacks provides the visitor with a wealth of opportunities of enjoyment for their mountain vacation. Long Lake and Raquette Lake are more than just the gateway to some of the most phenomenal and least-utilized wilderness areas of the Adirondacks. They actually serve two completely diverse groups of visitors.

Long Lake and Raquette Lake visitors can enjoy the relaxing environment and participate in a wealth of activities and events. They may choose from a wide variety of accommodations, such as rustic hotels and lodges built in the early 1900s, housekeeping cottages on the lake, motel rooms or homes on the lake. There are restaurants that cater to many tastes from home cooking to fine dining. There are shops and stores that can supply all your needs while staying in your "home away from home." In short, you can spend your entire vacation right in Long Lake and Raquette Lake.

However, for those who have younger children, Long Lake and Raquette Lake also provide an excellent base from which to explore the attractions of the Adirondacks. Being located in the center of the Adirondacks allows visitors the opportunity to enjoy the more boisterous theme parks. Lake George and the Great Escape are about an hour away, as is Enchanted Forest/Water Slide World.

Don't forget the Adirondack Museum 9 miles away in Blue Mountain Lake. Described by the New York Times as the "best of its kind in the world," the museum is an excellent place to spend a relaxing day viewing the exhibits. There are three scenic railway services close to Long Lake. The Adirondack Scenic Railway operates two services, one in Old Forge and one in Saranac Lake, and the Upper Hudson Scenic Railway operates an excursion in North Creek.

Long Lake is also home base for two of the few remaining flying services in the Adirondacks. These services can fly you into remote lakes for your wilderness experience, or you can enjoy the scenery of the Adirondacks from the air. Those who take such a scenic flight will gain a true perspective of the area and enjoy its beauty in a way never experienced from the ground.

Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake boasts two unique attractions of the Adirondacks.

Great Camp Sagamore is the only Adirondack Great Camp open on a daily basis. This camp, built by William West Durant and owned by the Vanderbilts for many years, reflects the opulence of the rich in their home away from home. For the wealthy, a visit to their Adirondack camp did not include being away from the amenities and services of their permanent homes. The W.W. Durant cruise ship on Raquette Lake is a reproduction of the boat by the same name which William West Durant built and ran on Raquette Lake during the heydays of the Gilded Age. A cruise on this boat provides the visitor with a truly unique experience. Whether you take the scenic cruise, a luncheon cruise or the dinner cruise, you will disembark with a true sense of what the very wealthy would have experienced.

The visitor to Long Lake and Raquette Lake may also enjoy the wide variety of events during the entire year. In the summer, there is always something do. Visitors and residents can enjoy the concerts, craft fair, antique shows, art show and a myriad of other events that fill the summer calendar.

The Long Lake-Raquette Lake region is a perfect destination for those who enjoy a more adventurous vacation.

Within the almost 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, which surrounds Long Lake and Raquette Lake, is more than 2 million acres of state forest preserve land protected by the state of New York as "Forever Wild." In the immediate vicinity of the two hamlets are the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area, the Blue Ridge Wilderness Area, the Pigeon Lake Wilderness Area, the Blue Mountain Wild Forest and the Bog Stream Wild Forest.

Long Lake and Raquette Lake are the gateway to areas that have been described as the jewels of the Adirondacks. These areas provide visitors with a wide variety of activities.

Hiking can be as strenuous as the individual desires. Whether it is climbing Owls Head Mountain, West Mountain, Frederica Mountain, Blue Mountain or Goodnow Mountain or taking a leisurely stroll on relatively flat terrain through tree-lined trails into Sargent Pond, around Lake Eaton or the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center at Newcomb, visitors will share and equally enjoy the wilderness.

Campers also have a choice of facilities. State campgrounds and private campgrounds can easily be accessed by automobile. Those who want to "get away from it all" but still have the security of an organized campground can choose Forked Lake or Tioga Point, which can be accessed only by hiking or boat. If the camper really wants to get away from it all, they may utilize the primitive campsites at Lake Lila and Whitney Wilderness Area.

For those who prefer not to have contact with humans during their experience, backpacking on the Northville-Placid Trail will satisfy most backpackers' needs.

Boaters and canoeists will find waterways to satisfy their every desire. Long Lake and Raquette Lake are open to all boats, and Forked Lake and Lake Eaton are open to all boats with size of engine restrictions. Those who want a more quiet and serene excursion with no power boats will find such solitude on Lake Lila, Little Tupper Lake, Brown's Tract Ponds and numerous smaller bodies of water accessible only by packing in a canoe or kayak.

Fishing is as varied in Long Lake and Raquette Lake as are all other activities. Long Lake holds northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout and pan fish. If that isn't what you're favorite target is, you might try the lake trout and landlocked salmon in Lake Eaton or the bass, lake trout and white fish of Raquette Lake.

If you're looking for a really unique experience, the early spring trout fishing in Sargent Ponds and Lake Lila or flying into one of the more remote ponds might work.

To learn more about this truly unique area, contact the Town of Long Lake Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, P.O. Box 496, Long Lake, NY 12847, (518) 624-3077, or check out either of the two websites: or



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