Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Refuge Island - Lake George - 4/28/13

Pilot Knob on the East side of Lake George in New York, is a peaceful place; especially in the off-season.  At the northern end of Pilot Knob Road is a small beach with parking for perhaps 10-12 cars.  I haven’t been there on a summer weekend, but I bet parking fills up fast.  I imagine nobody wants you to launch a kayak there and leave you car all day while you leave to paddle on the lake.  On a week night, or in the off-season, however, parking is not a typically a problem and it’s a joy to park and launch from this location.  A launch from a beach such as this beats a launch from a wetland or rocky shore anytime.  The parking is 50 feet from the water.

Yesterday, after doing some yard work projects, my wife, Leesa, and I we went to this beach to launch and enjoy a late afternoon paddle on Lake George.  When we drove past the Buck Mountain trailhead, we noticed the parking lot was full, but only one other car was parked at the beach. 

Our boats resting on Phelps Island
It’s amazing that a couple hours of paddling on Lake George can feel like such a getaway.   For this paddle, we chose to paddle north along the eastern shore of the lake.   The water was still quite cold (49° F), so we didn’t want to be out in the middle of the lake.   The air was warm, (71° F), so we had shorts on.

Leesa headed North

We paddled around Point Comfort on the way to our first stop at Phelps Island.  Phelps is a nice island that is close to the shore.   It has 7 sites on the island.   Our favorites are site 6 at the south end of the island, and site 1 at the NE end of the island.   A large pine tree has been recently cut down at the north end of the island and the tree has been cut up with the wood still stacked on the island.   I don’t know if it will be taken away or not.

Watch Point on the right

The docks for the island campsites still remain on the islands.  They haven’t been put back together and placed back in the water yet.  That will be a big project for the Department of Environmental Conservation in May.

Continuing northward, we paddled past Watch Point into view of Refuge Island.  Refuge is a single campsite island.It is close to the east shore of the lake.  The campsite is at the southern end of the island.  There is a tent platform.  The dock is located on the eastern side of the island.   The northern end of the island is all open rock.  There is nice swimming access.  The island is exposed to winds and provides little shelter from the elements.On this day the breeze was minimal.  The black flies weren’t however.  As we landed and walked around the island, we were quickly greeted by the black flies.  Perhaps a breeze would be preferred during a camping overnight if it helps keep the bugs away.

Refuge Island

The northern end of the island

My favorite tree on Refuge Island

Tongue Mountain Range in the background

Shelving Rock Mountain
A sparkling return
We had a great couple hours on the water.  Don't wait to get out there.  Just be extra cautious due to the cold water.   It's quiet time on the lake. 
Paddle Stats:
Paddle Distance:  4.4 miles
Paddle Time (including stops):  1 hour, 45 minutes
Our route for the afternoon (Click image to enlarge) 


  1. Nice Mike! Recluse is one of my favorite islands on LG.

  2. Enjoyed your kayaking trip even though I took it vicariously. I'm jealous that you could be on the lake at this time of year. Living in PA doesn't make it feasible for me. Beautiful pics...been going to LG since 1961. Will continue to go as long as I'm physically able. Unfortunately, no more camping for me.

    1. Thanks. Yes this is a great weather spell that is making for some nice boating time... although the water is still cold.

      I'm thinking of lauching at Shelving Rock tomorrow and going for a paddle around the islands of the narrows.

      Hope you can continue to visit the lake for many more years!