Putnam Pond Campground is a popular destination for avid hikers who wish to trek in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. This body of water was originally known as Putts Pond, and the campground was named for General Putnam after its construction in 1959. The campground is one of the places to stay in the Adirondack Mountains, which have enormous amounts of nature trails, hiking opportunities, and a wide range of flora and fauna.
There are several isolated sites which can only be accessed by boat which provide privacy and stunning nature. The developed section of the campground is well forested and has an abundance of large campsites. These are ideal for any RV and trailers, with many sites being able to accommodate 30-foot setups. There are no hookups available, however, there are hot showers, flushing toilets, a recycling station, and a boat launch. Campers can enjoy these amenities at a low daily fee while surrounded by conifers and hardwoods.
The campground is also a fantastic location for families who enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking, and nature viewing. There are fire pits available for campers to enjoy the warmth and flickering flames and views of the stunning wild night sky. The few campsites which are on the water also feature gorgeous views of the sunset and birds flying over the shimmering water.
Puntnam Pond is located in the Adirondack Park which is an enormous expanse of wilderness shaped by the Adirondack mountain range. There is a well-signed road leading to the campground, with all the sites easily accessible on the wide road. There are many trees which provide shade and cover on all the campsites. Since many of the campsites are large, it is easy to maneuver around with RVs and trailers.
Several of the campsites are only accessible by boat, and if you wish to reach them with a rental boat, you must arrive before 4 p.m. to ensure the kiosk is open. If you are bringing your own boat, you can leave the trailer and car parked in the large parking lot available near the boat ramp. The town Chilson is a mere eight-minute drive away which makes it easy to grab supplies or fuel.
The campground provides both developed and isolated camping options for visitors. If you prefer getting in touch with the stunning wilderness, you can pick one of the nine waterfront campsites which can only be accessed by boat. If you prefer to stay in your RV or campervan set up, you can choose one of the other 63 campsites.
The campground has a recycling station, hot water showers, flushing toilets, and picnic pavilions. There are over 30 sites which are ideal for large camping set ups, with space for 30-foot RVs. There are several smaller campsites able to accommodate 20-foot RVs and 26 tent specific camping sites. There is plenty of parking available at the campground under the cover of shady trees.
This campground is a particular favorite for hikers due to close proximity of abundant trails. For water lovers, Putnam Pond is a great destination to swim and paddle. Unfortunately majority of the campsites are not waterfront. If you are however looking for a private, large campsite in the forest then this is an ideal option for your family holiday.
The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area is an astonishing place with a large variety of wildlife calling it home. For bird watchers, the densely wooded forest attract many species including kingfishers skimming on the waters surface, singing warblers, chickadees, ravens, mallards, and loons.
Other animals you may encounter include frogs, snakes, crayfish, red squirrels, porcupines, or badgers. Make sure to keep the food trash kept safely away to discourage scavenging. Bring a wildlife identification book and enjoy the range of fauna wandering around the campground. Even beavers can be spotted working away on wood in the streaming water.
The hikes to the nearby High Peaks provide many sparsely populated trails, where nature lovers can truly enjoy the wilderness. Anywhere you go in the vicinity, you will hear the songs of birds, calls of animals, and chirping of crickets.
Some of the best time to fish Putnam Pond is during the winter and early spring months. During these times, the pond freezes over and creates a fantastic setting for ice fishing. The northern part of the pond is featureless which makes it the ideal place for ice fishing. In the winter, you can catch black crappie, small mouth bass, yellow perch, and enormous pike.
The pond is famous for it's large numbers of fully grown pike, creating a challenge for experienced ice anglers. Make sure to bring warm clothes in your trailer since the campground is closed over the winter months with no places available for you to warm up.
Putnam Pond is ideally located for hikers to begin trekking in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. There are several hiking trails available right from the campground which suit any level of fitness. You can get a better knowledge and understanding of the surrounding forests by relying on your topographic maps. These are unfortunately not available at the camping ground, however provide a useful accessory in the wilderness. There are over 60 miles of hiking trails available for hikers in the near proximity.
One of the hikes which provides beautiful views of Putnam Pond is the long Swing Trail. This hike is 12 miles long and leads visitors westwards past Putnam Pond, past Grizzle Ocean, Pharaoh Lake, Glidden Marsch, and Alderpond. It is a great way to see some of the surrounding ponds and water features, with some sections of the trail easy to do with a kayak or canoe. The end of the trail is near the Paradox Lake Public Campground, another campsite congregation in the Adirondack Park.
Another slightly shorter hike is the trail to Treadway Mountain. It is 3.9 miles each way and takes you up 900 feet to a spectacular rocky summit. To shorten the hike, you can paddle across Putnam Pond and cut the one-way journey to 2.3 miles.
During the summer months, the temperatures at Putnam Pond reach 80 degrees, making the glistening water an inviting sight. The water stays relatively cool so the beach areas the perfect place for children to safely play. There are weedy areas where plenty of fish like hiding and provide a fun attraction.
There are swimming beaches available during designated hours. Lifeguards are on duty during these times at designated beaches to ensure the campers safety. If you want to pick a campsite near the beaches, make sure to check with the campground to find the best option for you.
The abundance of fish in the Putnam Pond makes it a popular destination for anglers. The 185-acre pond reaches the depth of 34 feet and has many bays, weedy shallow patches, and rocky outcrops. The northern part of the pond is mostly featureless but provides some good fishing options. Some of the species you can catch include small mouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, pumpkin seed, and black crappie. The best fishing is during early spring and winter, an ideal, calm pond for canoes or kayaks.
Fishing licenses can be bought online or over the phone since the campground does not sell them anymore. Several years ago, Putnam Pond was stocked with the coveted tiger musky. Unfortunately, the program was deemed a failure so it stopped. If you are lucky, you can catch one of those remaining fish so don't forget to pack your fishing gear in your campervan.
Both motorboats and paddling boats are allowed on Putnam Pond. The pond is a beautiful expanse of water which stays calm even on windy days. There is one launch located near the campground for public use. This is the only point of public access to the pond, and all boats must be lowered down this area. If you do not have your own boat, there are opportunities to rent rowboats and canoes.
Before the peak season in July, the boat rental booth closes at 4 p.m., so make sure to arrive well before to secure your vessel. All rental boats must stay within the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area.
Putnam Pond is not the only pond in the area, and canoes are allowed in all the surrounding ones. However keep in mind you must carry your boat a minimum of half a mile to access some of these adjacent ponds. The lovely hikes are worth it to gain access to these remote and isolated water ways, which team with bird, insect, and fish life.