Lake Durant is a shimmering, 327-acre body of translucent water encircled by thick woodlands and hills in Blue Mountain Lake, near Indian Lake, New York. 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 65 campsites that 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.
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. Only 100 miles from Albany and 140 miles from Syracuse, you’ll find the park is easy to access. The roads into the park are mostly highway and easy to maneuver, but you will be in the Adirondack Mountains, so expect some curves and turns.
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 only one main 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, 14 miles to the north, and Indian Lake 8.5 miles 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 up to 30 feet long. 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.
Lake Durant Campground has 65 campsites available from mid-May until mid-October. The sites accommodate both tents and RVs, so visitors should take note of length limits before making their reservation. The length limits range from 20 to 30 feet. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit, and amenities are primitive as there is 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.
All 65 of the sites are reservable up to nine months in advance, and pets are welcome as long as you provide proof of your pet's current rabies vaccination. Lake Durant’s shoreline campground offers visitors magnificent views of the lake and the rugged wilderness which surrounds it. Beautiful Blue Mountain is visible across the lake to the north.
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 a sunset over the lake, or perhaps snag a photo of ephemeral fog hanging over the water’s surface. Early October brings the turning of the leaves, and when the broad leaves of the Adirondacks alight, the forest’s canopy becomes brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. The area’s flora similarly provides fantastic opportunities for wildflower photography during the transitional months between the winter and the spring.
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 residents 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 to watch your hands when you are turning over logs!
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 shorter day hike. The Northville-Placid Trail, a stunningly gorgeous, wild route that cuts 138 miles through the heart of Adirondack Park, comes right through the campground at Lake Durant. Trekkers can head in two directions on the Northville-Placid Trail, or they can use the trail as an access point to reach the 47,000-acre Blue Ridge Wilderness. There are also some shorter trails to nearby Cascade and Stephens ponds. Though briefer, these routes present hikers with a quintessential Adirondack experience.
The Adirondack Experience Museum in Adirondack Park is located approximately two miles to the north on US-28. The museum is open until mid-October, and visitors can explore 40,000 square feet of exhibits with 70,000 photos, 30,000 objects, and 9,511 books on the history of the Adirondacks. The Minnow Pond Trail, a .75-mile path, gives hikers an impressive view of the lake, and there is also a place where you can rent a historic boat. To complete your visit, stop at the quaint Lake View Café for a bite to eat and maybe a glass of wine before you head back to your campsite.
After the snow falls, you can toss the skis or snowshoes in the RV and head for Lake Durant. Some of the hiking trails in the park turn into perfect cross-country skiing trails or snowshoeing treks. The 7.9-mile Cascade Pond Trail is right between Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake with an elevation gain of 944 feet. Wilson Pond Trail is 6.1 miles with an elevation gain of 836 feet. Both of these trails are rated as moderate, and they’re both out and back trails.
Lake Durant Campground is part of the New York State Junior Ranger Program, a program where kids age five through 13 can participate in engaging, educational activities and earn a Junior 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 programs are happening at one of the nearby parks or campgrounds.
World-class fishing awaits those who journey to Lake Durant Campground. 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 Adirondack Park. In this part of the country, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a square mile that lacks a beautiful fishing spot. Species found at and around the park include tiger muskie, 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!
Lake Durant’s placid waters span over 300 acres, and there’s no better way to explore those waters 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 to the water. 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.
Be sure to pack your floaties and beach toys in the RV before heading out to Lake Durant Campground. The sand on the swimming beach on the western end of the lake is golden, warm, and inviting. Although there is no lifeguard on duty, the park has established safety rules to prevent injuries or accidents. You can get a copy of these rules from the brochure online or at the camp office or caretaker’s site. The swimming, fishing, and boating area are ADA accessible, as are the four campsites by the beach.
Similar to surfing, paddle boarding has you standing, kneeling, or lying on a paddle or surfboard. The difference is, paddleboarding is more laid back as it is done in calm waters instead of waves and surf. Lake Durant is perfect for this type of sport since the water is smooth as glass. The only wave you may encounter is the wake of a boat or jet ski going by. You have to wear a life jacket while paddleboarding for safety, no matter how good of a swimmer you are.