Kayak Camp Section 1 of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

Rate this Adventure New York Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Western Terminus

Added by Shawn Grenninger

Explore a pond, a boggy marsh, a river, a waterfall, and eleven lakes. Experience beautiful lake sunrises and sunsets and stunning scenery throughout.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile paddling trail with the western terminus located in Old Forge, New York and the eastern terminus in Fort Kent, Maine. Section One is 43 miles from Old Forge to Long Lake. Camp at primitive sites or one of the several campgrounds along the way. This section also includes 4.6 miles of portages so be prepared to carry everything you pack in your kayak or canoe!

The launch is next to the visitor center in Old Forge, NY. Make arrangements with a local outfitters for you vehicle, I opted to have them drive the vehicle to the take-out at Long Lake.

The trail begins at Old Forge pond which leads into the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Paddle through calm lakes lined with boat houses. There are campgrounds and free primitive campsites throughout section 1.

Fulton Chain of Lakes leads you to a portage (canoe carry) at the end of Eighth Lake and new scenery paddling through the snaking Brown's Tract Inlet over lily pads and beaver dams.

Use caution entering the large Raquette Lake as it tends to be very windy and heavily used by recreational motorboats. Big Island is a great campsite option. Another portage will lead you to a quieter and absolutely stunning Forked Lake.

Next up is a portage to Raquette River and eventually Buttermilk Falls. Portage around the waterfall and then opt to run Class II rapids or portage those as well. Section 1 ends paddling into Long Lake and sharing the lake as a runway with seaplanes with the take out just past the route 30

I utilized free primitive campsites at Seventh Lake, Big Island on Raquette Lake, Forked Lake and the entrance to Long Lake for a 5 day 4 night adventure.

Pack List

  • NCFT Map 1
  • Kayak or canoe/paddle/pdf
  • Tent/hammock
  • Dry bags
  • Snacks/freezed dried food
  • Jetboil
  • Sleeping bag/pad
  • Sunscreen/long sleeve/pants
  • Camera/tripod
  • Comfortable footwear for portages


  • Fishing License/rod
  • camping reservation at campgrounds along the trail
  • portage wheels
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Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Kayaking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn


Easy Parking

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Added by Shawn Grenninger

Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania exploring the beautiful outdoors by foot and kayak and spending the nights under the stars. I'm typically planning my next adventure before the current one ends and of course enjoy a good beer in the process.

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