New Lake Champlain Blueway Trail Guide Available
A recreational water path extending the length of Lake Champlain’s New York shoreline from Whitehall to Rouses Point, the Lake Champlain Blueway Trail is a guide for paddlers featuring more than 90 points of interests including: parks, wildlife viewing spots, geological curiosities, historic sites, museums, and campgrounds.
Explore the Lake Champlain Adirondack Coast through the Lake Champlain Blueway Trail. This online travel guide provides historical information, recreational opportunities, paddling tips, boat launches, docking locations, and marinas.
Intended primarily for use by paddlers, it can also be used by those in larger boats and those who travel frozen Lake Champlain in the winter. The Blueway Trail is organized into 16 segments, each intended as a separate day trip.
The entire Blueway Trail Guide can be found online at Blueway Trail Guide. Each of the sections is explored briefly below. You may also access each of the sections individually by clicking the name of that section below.
Fort Montgomery (Fort Blunder)
Before you begin, north of the Village of Rouses Point is Fort Montgomery, nicknamed Fort Blunder.
Start in the Village of Rouses Point and continue down and around the historic Point au Fer. From here, paddlers have an uninterrupted view down the lake following the marshy shore. At Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area, you can observe the abundant wildlife up to the mouth of the Great Chazy River.
Snow geese at Montys Bay WMA
Along this shallow and marshy shoreline, paddlers will pass historic Chazy Landing and have access to Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area for wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing.
Point Au Roche Lighthouse
Paddlers can enjoy the view of the Point Au Roche Lighthouse, a series of beautiful bays, and have access to Point Au Roche State Park with its sandy beach, swimming area, and network of trails.
This Lake Champlain Blueway Trail route begins in Port Kent and continues through two different wildlife management areas, Wickham Marsh WMA and Ausable Marsh WMA, both of which offer excellent wetland wildlife viewing opportunities. This segment is “hallowed waters,” the site of several naval battles that were fought to control Lake Champlain over 200 years ago. The route ends at the Plattsburgh City Beach, which is adjacent to Cumberland Bay State Park. Recommended to paddle from south to north.
The Valcour and Crab islands trail guides you around one of Lake Champlain’s largest and most historic islands and its smaller neighbor. Explore the many bays and points along the islands. You can also learn about the best places to explore the islands on foot at this PassagePort. Valcour has a number of primitive campsites.
Schuyler Island pebble beach
Begin this paddle in the hamlet of Port Kent, explore Schuyler Island, and continues south to the historic hamlet of Port Douglas, where you will find a sandy beach and swimming area before continuing on to Willsboro Bay.
Four Brothers Islands on Lake Champlain with Vermont in background.
This segment of the Lake Champlain Blueway Trail begins in the picturesque Willsboro Bay and takes paddlers around Willsboro Point, out to the Four Brothers Islands with unparalleled bird watching opportunities, ending near the mouth of the beautiful Boquet River.
A paddle up this river is a trip through history, ending at the hamlet of Willsboro, where shopping, dining, and other recreational opportunities are plentiful.
Explore the section of the lake known as “The Narrows,” named for the obvious reason that this is the narrowest part of the lake, rich in history and natural beauty. Paddlers can pick through the many harbors and points along this shoreline, including the unique “Palisades of Lake Champlain,” a geological masterpiece of sheer cliffs ornamented with waterfalls and wildlife.
This segment ends in the hamlet of Essex, with shopping, dining, and parks to enjoy. It is recommended that this segment be completed south to north.
This route begins in the Village of Port Henry and passes a number of iron-history sites along the shoreline, including a once-industrious brook and Cole Island believed to be where Father Isaac Jogues, a famous Jesuit missionary was tortured while held captive by the Mohawks.
The route ends in the town of Westport, where paddlers have access to shopping, dining, parks, and a beach and swimming area. It is recommended that this segment be completed south to north.
Crown Point Barracks
Paddlers can put in at Crown Point State Historic Site, the location of two separate forts under different sovereigns. Nearby are campgrounds, a historic lighthouse and pier, boat launch, and museum. The route continues along Bulwagga Bay, and then onward to the village of Port Henry with shopping and dining, parks, beaches, campgrounds, and a museum that showcases the town’s mining and iron ore heritage.
This short segment consists of marshes, resulting in a vibrant and diverse habitat of plants and animals. Paddlers can explore Putts Creek Wildlife Management Area before reaching the Town of Crown Point’s Monitor Bay Park and Marina. It is a short walk from here to a bank, stores, and restaurants.
Explore a narrow and marshy shoreline of the lake that is almost river-like. Wildlife is abundant here, especially birds and waterfowl.
Paddlers get a terrific view of Fort Ticonderoga and its impressive grounds on this segment. The strategic importance of this fort was its location at the mouth of La Chute River, which is the waterway that connects Lake Champlain to Lake George. From Fort Ticonderoga, it is smooth water to downtown Ticonderoga.
Paddlers will start near Fort Ticonderoga, passing through the narrowest point in the lake. The southern part of Lake Champlain has been referred to as the “drowned lands” because it is surround by wetlands, rich with wildlife.
Lake Champlain’s South Bay
This segment begins in historic Whitehall, the birthplace of the American Navy, and brings paddlers through the waters that became a murky grave for a number of Revolutionary War ships.
The trail also explores South Bay, which offers paddlers ample wildlife viewing opportunities. It is recommended that this segment be completed south to north.
Expanding on one of these day trips, Lakes to Locks has also produced a detailed audio and web tour of Valcour and Crab Islands, which includes paddling information as well as in-depth history and a guided walking tour of Valcour.
The Valcour and Crab Island PassagePort is a mobile-enhanced tour that draws from the expertise of historians, experienced paddlers, and others.