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Lows Lake is a favorite destination of ours in the Adirondacks. Located within several wild forest and wilderness areas - including Five Ponds Wilderness Area - Lows Lake can be reached by paddling the Bog River through Hitchins Pond.


There are about 40 very dispersed campsites on the shores of Lows Lake, located in a variety of settings from upland woods to sheltered coves to rugged shores.

2022 Adirondacks Fall Paddle - Part 1:

Bog River to Lows Lake

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Twyla is living the life on her custom canvas deck

After a first night at Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), we drove south and parked at Lows Lower Dam, putting in on the Bog River mid morning. We had hoped to camp at one of our favorite sites but, finding that site occupied, we paddled quite a bit further than planned to camp at site 40. We used this as our home base and enjoyed day paddles around Lows Lake and to Bog Lake.

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Glen and Nyssa check out our potential campsite - its a winner!

The surrounding woods include sizeable white pines

On a walk behind our campsite, we discovered this red pine plantation

The Adirondacks did not experience the drought we did in Western MA, so fungi were plentiful

Gorgeous woods behind our campsite made for enjoyable explorations. It's always great to be able to take a good walk after a day in the boat, but sometimes the woods are too thick and hard to navigate. These woulds were relatively open, with carpets of ferns, lichen and fungi.

We tried to reach on foot old woods roads shown on our map, but we were unable to locate them, though we did see evidence of old logging skid road crisscrossing the now wooded landscape.

The days were somewhat windy, but sticking close to the shore in our boats allowed us to explore some of Lows Lake

The largest of the floating bogs on Lows Lake is about 25 acres in size

When we navigated the Whitney Loop a few years back, we camped at site 39 when we arrived at Lows Lake, which overlooked the largest floating bog on the lake. I've always wanted to go back to that site, since the views are so stunning, and the bog so fascinating.


Though we did not camp at site 39 this time, we did have lunch at the site, and the views were as wonderful as we remembered.

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The southeast section of the floating bogs snugs up against the shore of Lows Lake

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A close up of the floating bog shows off the beauty of the masses of cotton grass (Eriophorum spp.)

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One more floating bog pic, again highlighting the masses of cotton grass. There are also pitcher plants and other aquatic plants in this bog

Another place we wanted to return to was Bog Lake, located southwest of Lows Lake and reached via the Bog River which meanders through a massive wetland complex. 

We almost made it to Bog Lake but were stymied by a particularly large beaver dam. We decided it wasn't worth the effort to haul ourselves over the beaver dam, so we satisfied ourselves with views in the direction of Bog Lake.

Twyla evaluates the beaver dam siituation on the Bog River

The Bog River meanders northeast from Bog Lake to Lows Lake, cutting a circuitous path through vast areas of wetlands

Every time we visit the Adirondacks, we thank goodness for the folks who had the vision - and saw the immense value - to protect the lands and waterways that make up the now 6- million acre Adirondack Park

Efforts are ongoing to continue to protect and add to the park holdings by conservation groups such as Northeast Wilderness Trust, who in 2022 purchased 1,400 acres to establish Grasse River Wilderness Preserve.

Glen and Nyssa make their way back from Bog Lake to Lows Lake

Mary paddles east on the Bog River toward Hitchins Pond

This floating log supports an entire little world of vegetation

Sunset on Hitchins Pond brings with it cloudy skies

With an ominous looking weather front moving in, we paddled out of Lows Lake on the Bog River and into the smaller Hitchins Pond. We made camp here, knowing in the morning there would be less than an hour's paddle to return to our car.

Glen and Twyla relax at our campsite on Hitchins Pond

Glen comes to you "live" from the Bog River with a report on the weather

Just as forecast, it began to rain in the morning before we made it back to our car. The rain was intermittent and quite pretty. With a few more solid days of rain in the forecast, we opted to drive home and wait out the weather a couple of days, returning later in the week for the second leg of our trip.

2022 Adirondacks Fall Paddle - Part 2: Essex Chain Lakes


After a couple-day break back home, waiting out the rain, we returned to the Adirondacks, this time to Essex Chain Lakes, an area we would be exploring for the first time.

As the name implies, Essex Chain Lakes is a series of lakes joined together by narrow wetland-y passages and/or short portages.

Following is a collection of photos in no particular order that highlight our trip. So much beauty!

Aerial view of Essex Chain Lakes  Credit: Nancie Battaglia


A few portages were required during this trip, including an initial carry from the dirt parkng lot to Deer Pond


Small wood signs mark the locations of portages on lakes and ponds


Mary and Twyla explore Third Lake in their trusty little boat

Third Lake is the biggest in the Essex Chain. There were a couple windy days - one during which we did not leave our campsite due to the choppiness of the water.

Campsites were a bit hard to find on some of the lakes, with some having been taken out of use and others not exactly where they were shown on the map. And none were on even ground!


There were so few people out on the lakes, we almost always felt like we were the only ones there


Though fall foliage colors were not yet in full swing in the trees, the colors of the aquatic plants were a treat for the eyes


On the windy days when paddling was not so attractive, we took some woods walks, exploring fungi and other plants


Each lake has a discreet sign 


With chilly temps, we tried to eke out every ray of sun we could late in the day

Humans have shaped the lands and waters in the Adirondacks. Logging changed the landscape in the 1800s, depleting the woodland, reducing the soil's ability to hold water, and increasing  flooding.

The preservation of lands within the preserve, particularly those designated as "forever wild", has turned the tide on forest devestation and the landscape in parts of the Adirondacks has undergone significant rewilding.

A different animal species has also shaped - and reshaped - the Adirondacks. Beavers constantly dam and divert waters in the Adirondacks, newly flooding areas and drying out other areas. They create ecosystems upon which a myriad of other animals rely.


Beavers work every day to block the culvert, making it hard for humans to get through


A culvert provides a relatively easy way to move from one lake to the next


Mary packs up on the final morning of the trip on Sixth Lake

Though the campsites on Essex Chain Lakes were a bit on the rugged side, they provided a place to rest and enjoy the woods and views of the water. With so few people in the area, finding a campsite was quite easy despite there being no reservation process.

Glen enjoys some breakfast at our site on Third Lake


Our trip winds down on the Essex Chain Lakes

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