Today I am writing a blog post that is more of an informative piece than an enjoyable read. I recently became aware , while searching for kayak launch sites and paddle trips to take while visiting Maine, that finding a paddle spot is much harder than a quick click on Google. I was searching for someones own personal experience on a great paddle in Maine and how I too can enjoy the same. There’s the occasional blurb about a paddle someone else had done, but it will not tell you where you can go, park, available amenities, or what you’ll find on your trip.
Many visitors to the Adirondack Coast are here to enjoy the outdoors. On the Adirondack Coast you’ll find some of the best paddling opportunities for flat water rivers, open lakes, calm ponds, and white water rapids. To all of you who have read my blog and have had any questions on how to get to where I go and experience it for yourself, here you go! I have compiled a list of my favorite places along the Adirondack Coast to put my kayak in the water and the destinations nearby worth visiting. I hope this helps any of you find the same great adventures on Lake Champlain that I have. If you have any suggestions for other great paddles that I have missed, please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear. Now read away and get out there!
Point Au Roche State Park:
Point Au Roche has always been my go-to destination for paddling, fishing, or strolling along the trails on shore. There are two options for boaters looking to use the Point Au Roche state park to put in. The main entrance charges a fee for day use of the park. This paid portion of Point Au Roche will provide secured parking, facilities, a sandy beach, and a boat launch. Option two is free, but free might come with its own set of challenges for some. The free side is located not far past the main entrance on camp red Cloud Road. Where the pavement ends on Camp Red Cloud road, Drive down the hill until you find the unpaved grassy parking area. The put in spot here is a rocky shoreline with its fair share of slick and sharp rocks. Proper footwear is recommended. The paddling here in Deep Bay is a very protected natural harbor great for a calm paddle or kayak fishing.
Paddling Point Au Roche State Park area will bring you along rocky cliffs that rise high above the water with a lot of great flat rock areas to take out and stop for lunch. Point Au Roche does not have any Island stopping points nearby, but the area itself is its own destination . Point Au Roche joy to paddle while taking in the sights and sounds.
Read about my last paddle at Point Au Roche here:
Directions: From Interstate 87, take exit 40. Turn right on Spellman Rd. at the stop, turn right onto State Route 9. Take the next left onto Point Au Roche Rd. The first entrance to the paid section of Point Au Roche is located a few miles on the right. The next entrance is the next right turn on Camp Red Cloud Rd. You can type 19 Camp Red Cloud Rd Plattsburgh NY 12901 into your GPS.
Peru Boat Launch:
Peru Boat launch is the busiest launch site in the area. The peru launch is directly across from the very popular Valcour Island. The boat launch is the easiest to use for launching a kayak, but the traffic can sometimes become congested. If you plan to use this launch site be ready to move fast. Take your place in line, and be aware of the motorboats around you. If you forget something in your car, don’t run back for it until you have moved your kayak away from the launch. There is a set of stairs on the north side of the launch that you can paddle to and use to run back to the car if necessary. The shores around the Peru launch are rocky with no soft beach sand. Proper foot protection is recommended.
The Peru Boat launch is the most convenient launch site for a trip out to or around Valcour Island. Valcour Island offers many day use sites, hiking trails, and camp sites that are on a first come first serve basis.
Read about my last paddle around Valcour Island here:
There is no fee for the use of the Peru boat launch. There are restroom facilities available on site for seasonal use. Parking is paved with plenty of parking spaces. There’s a great grassy area here as well to sit and relax before or after a paddle around Valcour Island.
Directions: From Interstate 87, take exit 36. Turn left onto State Route 22. At about 1 ½ miles turn left onto South Junction Road just past the Salmon River bridge. At the end of South Junction Rd turn right onto Route 9. The Peru Launch is about ½ mile ahead on the left.
AuSable Point State Park:
Ausable Point does charge a fee for its day use area. The day use area does not have a paved boat launch available, but does provide secure parking on a paved lot, facilities, and a sandy beach to launch from. The area around Ausable Point has some of the best sandy stretches on Lake Champlain for those looking to get out and wade in the water. There is a boat-in only beach area of Ausable Point located at the mouth of the AuSable River. You can also choose to venture up the Ausable River for a great flat water paddle through thick forests.
The un-paid section of Ausable Point does have a sandy launch site on the Lake Champlain side of the road and a rocky shore along the Ausable Marsh side of the road. The marsh side is muddy in some spots so be prepared. there is a sandy spot specific to launching paddle boats near the parking area. The Ausable Marsh is a fantastic bird watchers paradise through flat open waters and marshland. The parking here is limited and on a first come first serve basis. There is a “boat launch” along the roadway on the left just past the bridge. This launch is very muddy and not suitable for launching. Drive past the launch and use the sandy stretch for a much more pleasurable launch.
Directions: From interstate 87 take exit 36, Peru Port Kent. Turn Left onto Bear Swamp Rd (442). At the end of Bear Swamp Rd turn left onto Route 9. Ausable Point is just ahead on the right shortly past the train overpass.
City of Plattsburgh Public Boat Launch:
The City of Plattsburgh Public Launch is the newest launch in the area. This boat launch sees light traffic and is perfect for paddlers who want to use the launch without finding themselves inundated with the same kind of boat traffic found at the Peru Launch. There is no fee for the use of the City boat launch or the parking area. There are no facilities available on site. There is plenty of paved parking available for vehicles with and without trailers in tow. Boaters would be best to use the paved boat launch for convenience. There are sections along the lake front walkways where people put their boats in as well, but the substrate can be muddy. The City Boat launch serves as a great launch for reaching Crab Island to the South, or the long sandy stretches of beach to the north in Cumberland Bay.
Read about my last paddle to Crab Island here:
Directions: From Interstate 87 take Exit 38S. 38S puts you onto Route 374. Stay in the right lane. Continue straight onto North Catherine St. North Catherine St. is a one way street. Continue straight through all stop signs. Continue straight through the first traffic signal you come to. Again, continue straight through all stop signs. You will be turning left at the next traffic signal, so use the left lane. At the next traffic signal turn left onto Broad St. Stay in the right hand lane to continue straight to the end of Broad St. Turn right at the end of Broad St. onto Peru St. At the traffic signal turn right onto Bridge St. Take the next slight left onto Dock Street, just past the Amtrak train station. The boat launch is on your left.
City of Plattsburgh Wilcox Dock:
Not far from the new City launch at the Plattsburgh Boat Basin, Wilcox Dock is a much more popular location among boaters to gain access to Cumberland Bay. Wilcox dock has plenty of unpaved gravel parking available. There is no fee for the use of the dock or parking. There are no facilities available. Wilcox dock is surrounded by thick mud. I recommend waiting your turn and using the boat launch. On busy days, be sure to be prepared by staging everything away from the launch site so you are not running back to your car for any reason and holding up traffic waiting to gain access to the dock Wilcox dock is not nearly as busy as the Peru Boat launch to the south, but does still see a fair amount of traffic throughout the warmer months.
Wilcox Dock is a great launch site for access to the long stretch of sandy beach and shallow water just across the bay along the Plattsburgh City beach and Cumberland Bay State Campsite.
Directions: From Interstate 87 take Exit 38S. 38S puts you onto Route 374. Hop in the left lane. Take a left at the traffic signal onto Boynton Avenue. Continue straight through the next two traffic signals. After the sharp turn just past the second traffic signal, you’ll see the “Healthy Lung Trail” “Wilcox Dock” on your left
Port Kent Beach:
The Port Kent Beach is a great sandy beach at the lake Champlain Transit ferry landing. The ferry runs between Port Kent and King Street landing in Burlington Vermont. There is no available public boat launch here, but a nice sandy beach to launch from. There are no facilities available. Parking is in a sandy, unpaved lot, only steps away from the water for a very easy location to put in. Port Kent is a great launch site for a trip to Schuyler Island to the south, and to the sand bars at the mouth of the Ausable River to the North.
Read about my last paddle to Schuyler Island here:
Directions: From interstate 87 take exit 36, Peru Port Kent. Turn Left onto Bear Swamp Rd (442). At the end of Bear Swamp Rd turn right onto Route 9. Stay on Route 9 for approximately three miles to Route 373 on the left shortly past the stone water feature for Ausable Chasm. Stay on 373 to its end.
Port Douglass Beach:
Port Douglass is a bit out-of-the-way for most paddlers which makes it a great quiet spot to launch from. Port Douglas boasts a well maintained sandy beach and public boat launch. This location does not have facilities. Parking is available in a paved lot nearest the boat launch. Kayakers can opt for using the lightly used boat launch, or a further walk to the sandy shores on the beach. Port Douglass is a great launch site for a trip to Schuyler Island, and to access the much further Four Brothers islands.
Directions: From Interstate 87, take exit 35 (Keeseville). Turn right onto route 9N. Stay on 9N to the traffic signal. Turn right onto route 22. At the next traffic signal turn right onto Route 9. Take the next left onto Clinton St. Clinton St becomes Port Douglass Rd. When you think you’ve gone too far and see a “dead End” sign, you’re almost there. Port Douglas rd ends at Port Douglas Beach.
Read about my paddle around Schuyler Island here:
Read about my paddle around Four Brothers Islands here:
Great Chazy Boat launch:
The Great Chazy Boat launch is often as busy as the Peru Boat launch because this Boat launch sits on the edge of some of the best fishing holes along Lake Champlain. there is no fee for the use of this boat launch. The Boat launch is at the mouth of the Great Chazy River. Paddlers have the choice of going out into Lake Champlain’s King Bay, or up the Great Chazy River for a scenic flat water journey through forest and farm land. The flat water portion of the Great Chazy River winds its way up six miles before hitting impassable rapids in the town of Champlain. Turn back here and the river will give you a nice push back to the launch.
read about my last trip up the Great Chazy River here: https://exploreadkcoast.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/what-i-did-this-weekend-on-the-adirondack-coast-the-great-chazy-river/
The Great Chazy Boat launch does have seasonal facilities available as well as plenty of gravel parking.
Directions: From Interstate 87, take exit 41 (Miner Institute). Turn right on the Miner Farm Rd. At the road end turn left onto State Route 9. Continue on State Route 9 to State Route 9B (Lake Street) on right. Take the third right onto lake Shore Rd. The Great Chazy Boat launch is ahead on the left and clearly marked by a large brown sign.
Dickson Point Boat Launch (Point Au Roche)
In the town of Point Au Roche on Dickson Point Rd there is a nicely paved boat launch site into the open waters of Lake Champlain. The Dickson Point Launch is also known as the Point Au Roche boat launch. This launch lies between the Great Chazy boat launch and the other Point Au Roche launch sites. launching from Dickson Point can make for a great starting point for a long paddle north or south to the other launch sites for a wonderful day trip.
This launch site has gravel parking areas. For kayaks, you will need to use the paved boat launch. both sides of the launch are steeply walled and inaccessible. Knowing this, be ready to launch when your kayak gets to the launch. You will not have time to run back to your car if you are holding up other boaters from using the launch. Dickson Point is not a busy launch, but does have moments on busy weekends where launch traffic is high. There are no facilities on site.
Directions: From Interstate 87, take exit 40. Turn right on Spellman Rd. at the stop, turn right onto State Route 9. Take the next left onto Point Au Roche Rd. Drive past both entrances to Point Au Roche State park. About two miles from the second Point Au Roche State Park entrance the road curves sharply. At this sharp curve you will find The Point Au Roche, Dickson Point boat launch marked by a sign reading “Point Au Roche boat launch.