Forked Lake, from the boat launches
Forked Lake is one of the more popular lakes in Hamilton County and with a state campground on the eastern end of the lake, you will find it to be very busy, especially on weekends.
Some camping areas are drive-up sites, but many are located slightly off the beaten path where you will either have to hike a bit to them or paddle over. These state sites do give an outstanding backcountry feel, even during the busy season.
To put your boat in at the state campground you will have to obtain a day-use permit and pay a small fee. These can be obtained on site at the caretaker cabin.
Forked Lake has two distinctive boat launch areas, one at the east end of the lake and another at the western end. The eastern launch is located at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Campground mentioned above. The western end is free to use and equally as wonderful.
The western launch is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and is designated a canoe carry between Raquette Lake and Forked Lake.
When out on the lake, be sure to explore the many fingers of the pond including going up the Raquette River to the rapids. The eastern end near the campground is where the dam resides; you will not be able to paddle farther downstream.
You can continue up the Brandreth Lake Outlet for a bit, but it soon narrows out. The Northern Bay is an attractive course to take, but you will not be able to proceed farther into Little Forked Lake, it is a private lake. Much of the north shore of Forked Lake is undeveloped private property, so you have very little opportunity to get out of your boat, but feel free to explore the south shore as much as your heart desires.
How to Get There
Eastern Launch: From the three-way intersection in the hamlet of Long Lake, follow state Route 30/28N toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue for just over three miles to North Point Road on the right. Follow North Point Road for 3-miles to Forked Lake Road on the right. Forked Lake Road is very rough and narrow with heavy traffic during the summer. Drive to the end at Forked Lake Campground.
Western Launch: The same as above, but once on North Point Road continue for just under 9 miles to the boat launch road on the right (about 0.1 miles past the crossing of the Raquette River). Turn down this road and drive to the end.