Lake Durant is a shimmering, 300-acre body of limpid water encircled by thick woodlands and hills. Blue Mountain, mostly tree-clad but dotted with bare rock outcrops, rises imposingly in the north. In all directions, there are lakes, ponds, and streams to explore, and dark green conifers, hardy maples and stately beeches grow tall over hundreds of thousands of rugged acres.
The campground at Lake Durant offers access to hiking, boating, swimming, fishing and more in this quintessential patch of the Adirondacks. Intrepid trekkers can hook into the Northville-Placid trail, which runs through the park and traverses nearly 140 miles of Adirondack wilderness. Anglers, kayakers and canoers might just be overwhelmed by the possibilities; Lake Durant sits just a few feet away, and another dozen lakes and ponds are within a few miles of the park. Landscape and wildlife photographers alike can have a field day (or a field week) at Lake Durant, which is rich in flora, fauna and beautiful vistas.
The gorgeous campground at Lake Durant offers about 60 campsites which can be utilized either by tent campers or RV campers with modest rigs. Make sure you take advantage of the reservation system (spots can be reserved nine months in advance) if you are planning your trip during the busy summer season.
RV Rentals in Lake Durant Campground
Transportation in Lake Durant Campground
The campground at Lake Durant is just off of NY-28/NY-30, both of which are paved roads that cut through the heart of Adirondack Park. After passing through the park entrance, visitors will find a large day-use parking area, the dump station and some picnic sites; a long spur runs along the southern shore of the lake and ends in a small loop. Campsites are on this spur and loop. There’s really only one road in the park, so it’s tough to get lost!
If you’re looking to resupply, the two nearest towns with basic amenities are Long Lake, to the north, and Indian Lake, to the southeast.
Parking should not pose a challenge, as long as visitors conform to the size limits (sites are meant for both tent camping and RV camping and are pretty short, for the most part). The day use area and boat launch are within walking distance of most of the campsites, though there’s ample parking if you’d like to drive. The southbound portion of the Northville-Placid trail leaves from the middle of the camping spur, while the northbound section can be accessed on the opposite side of NY-28/NY-30, just across from the park entrance.
Campgrounds and parking in Lake Durant Campground
Campsites in Lake Durant Campground
Lake Durant State Campground
Lake Durant’s shoreline campground offers visitors magnificent views of the lake and the rugged, sylvan wilderness which surrounds it. Beautiful Blue Mountain is visible across the lake to the north. Sites are meant for both tent camping and small RV camping, and visitors should take note of length limits before making their reservation. Amenities are primitive, and there are no water, electric or sewage hookups available. There are, however, potable water spigots throughout the campground and there is a sanitary dump station located near the park’s entrance. Modern restrooms with showers are available, and there’s also firewood for sale within the park. For additional supplies, visitors will have to head to nearby Long Lake or Indian Lake.
There are 59 RV/tent sites in total, all of which are reservable up to nine months in advance. The park is only open from mid-May to mid-October, with peak season running from July through August.
Seasonal activities in Lake Durant Campground
Lake Durant’s placid waters span over 300 acres, and there’s no better way to explore than by boat! Motorboats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks are all allowed on Lake Durant, and a concrete boat launch located near the entrance offers easy access. Motor out to the middle of the lake to grab a prime fishing spot or quietly paddle your canoe along the shore to take in a stunning Adirondack sunrise. Just make sure you don’t get stuck! The lake is very shallow, so only small watercraft are recommended.
World-class fishing awaits those who journey to Lake Durant State Park. Anglers can, of course, cast their lines to Lake Durant, or they could hike to one of the myriad lakes and ponds which are scattered across Adirondacks Park. In this part of the country, you’ll be hard pressed to find a square mile that lacks a wonderful fishing spot. Species found at and around the park include tigermuskey, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, brown bullheads and even an occasional brook trout. Just make sure you’re set up with a proper New York State fishing license before heading out!
Junior Ranger Program
Lake Durant’s campground takes part in the New York State Junior Ranger program, wherein kids aged 5-13 can participate in engaging, educational activities and earn a ranger patch for their hard work! Programs focus on the natural and human history of the Adirondacks and are a fantastic way to get kids excited about zoology, botany, geology and conservation. Call ahead to see if any programs will be running during your visit - you can also see if any are being put on at one of the nearby parks or campgrounds.
Lake Durant is a popular launching point for backpacking expeditions, but it also has some more mellow trails if you’re just up for a day hike. The Northville-Placid Trail, a stunningly gorgeous, wild route that cuts 138 miles through the heart of Adriondack Park, comes right through the campground at Lake Durant. Trekkers can head either direction on it, or can use it to access the 47,000-acre Blue Ridge Wilderness. There is also some shorter trails to nearby Cascade and Stephens ponds; though briefer, these routes nonetheless present hikers with a quintessential Adirondack experience.
Rich forests, diverse marshes, and numerous lakes and ponds provide ample habitat for a host of Adirondack wildlife. Whether you end up boating on Lake Durant, taking a long hike through the rugged woods or simply relaxing on the picturesque lakeshore, you’ll undoubtedly come across some fascinating native fauna. Moose and bear are denizens of the woodlands, while lakes and ponds attract loons, bald eagles, American wigeon, canvasbacks, buffleheads, bald eagles, snapping turtles, beavers and much more. Scan the forest floor on rainy spring evenings to look for migrating spotted salamanders, which sport bright yellow polka-dots, or flip over a log to uncover a red-backed salamander or a reclusive milk snake (just make sure you put the log back!)
Lake Durant, with the deeply hued, forested slopes of Blue Mountain rising above it, provides a stunning scene for nature photographers to capture. Catch the dazzling colors brought out by sunset on the lake, or perhaps snag a photo of ephemeral fog hanging over the water’s surface. Early October brings the turning of the leaves, when the broadleaves of the Adirondacks alight the forest’s canopy will brilliant shades of red, orange and gold. The area’s flora and fauna similarly provide fantastic opportunities for wildflower and wildlife photography.