Insider Tips... Shhh!!

Here are some valuable tips to make your trip to Fish Creek more enjoyable :-)

Book ahead! Fish Creek is very hard to reserve during the months of July and August.
You may book 9 months in advanced.

Reserve America is currently taking reservations beginning

Some sides of the ponds are more windy than others. On average winds appear from the west sweeping across Square Pond blowing hard onto the eastern shores. If you prefer less wind, especially if you're camping in the spring or fall I'd suggest you avoid sites 1-30 and 67-120. Sites in the 70-90 range seem to on average receive the most wind.

Morning Sun
During the hot summer months you might not be as concerned with morning sun as when camping in the spring or fall. For best early morning sun and throughout the day choose a site in the 101-122 range. Sites in the 125 to 162 range and 40-65 receive excellent morning sun but miss out on the late afternoon sun. Sites 230-305 generally receive good early morning sun. Sites in the 168 to 229 range don't receive sun until late morning. Sites in the 68 to 99 range offer the best late afternoon sun.

Click to Enlarge Map

Sites around 215-230 and 70-80 often offer decent sunsets, however the best vantage point is out in your boat in front of the beach and day use area. Don't forget your camera!

Full Moons
Best seen from sites 101-122 and 139-156.
2006: May 13, Jun 11, Jul 11, Aug 9, Sep 7, Oct 7, Nov 5
2007: May 2, Jun 1, Jun 30, Jul 30, Aug 28, Sep 26, Oct 26

Mountain Views
If you like a mountain view as well as morning sun, you're best bet is one of the sites on the west shore of Square Pond. These also are quite large sites. You'll even have a view of Whiteface Mountain on a clear day! Check out sites 138 to about 150. Sites around 115 to 120 also have mountain views, although not of Whiteface.

Best Area for Shade
For maximum shade the sites amongst the tall pines between sites 123 and 135 tend to be quite shaded compared to other sites.

Best Area for Sunrise and Full Moons
During the fall the best sites for sunrises (as well as full moons if you're lucky!) are in the 101-122 range.

Best Sites for Those Looking for Quiet
Quiet? Well maybe Fish Creek isn't the place for you! It's an active park with lots of kids and people out enjoying water activity, although anytime before July 1st and after labour day its a different story. If you want quiet and more privacy, best consider Rollins Pond. The most private site at Fish Creek however would be site 138 which is quite deep, private and only a neighbour on one side. Most people come in the main gate and have to drive all the way around to get to their site. Those going to Rollins also have to come in the main gate and drive all the way to site 136 before the turn off to Rollins Pond. Thus if you are in the low numbers including sites 5-50 you will encounter considerable thru traffic. Sites 52 to 78 are off on their own loop and so receive little thru traffic. Sites 80 to 136 also receive considerable thru traffic, but to a lesser extent than 5-50. Sites 138-305 generally receive moderate traffic as they are further along, and don't receive the thru traffic to Rollins Pond.

Yoo Hoo's
Best pond to be one for optimum 'Yoo Hoos' would be Square Pond since you'll have campers across on all shores. (At night kids and adults alike yell out 'Yoo Hoo' to campers on the other side of the ponds. It's a tradition!)

Dump Station Issues
During hot busy summer months, if the wind is right, you just might not want to be in the area of site 125 to 137 since the dump station just to the west can be a tad on the smelly side :-( . You get my drift right? LOL

Best of the Worst?
We often joke that a bad site at Fish Creek would be a prime site at most other campgrounds. Having said that, here is a partial list of sites most people would wish to avoid (a few others will be added shortly including a few 'wet' sites and those with graded slopes):

  • 136 - very small and close to the road, no water view or water access
  • 137 - very small and close to the road, no water view and limited water access

    Boating Sites
    Best sites if you plan on bringing your boat are those in the northeast Pond which is quieter than Square Pond, and more wind protected. Sites in the 35 to 60 range are best. There is a shoreline errosion barrier (mostly concrete) between about site 75 through to about site 105. These may not be the best choice for boaters unless you plan on anchoring away from shore. Sites in the 138 to 159 area offer the best wind protection. Sites in the 156 to 179 are in the small bay in Square Pond which generally is less windy and sees less boat traffic. Sites in the vicinity of 228 to 235 and 245 to 253 are subjected to the increased boating traffic that passes these points. A 5mph limit at the narrows (sites 228 to 235) are subjected to wakes from boats slowing and speeding up.

    Boat Mooring
    Many campers bring their power boats to enjoy the ponds as well as Upper Saranac. Typically boats under 21 feet are suitable for use at Fish Creek although the odd camper brings larger. Personal watercraft are also welcome. You may moor your boat right at your campsites, and almost all watersites are doable in this regards. Bring 2 anchors and plenty of line. Many bring a buoy to mark their place of mooring as well as serving to warn other boaters of the hazard if they approach the shoreline. Most boaters set at least one anchor out from the shore and tie it back to the shore (tree or some anchorage on land). Your boat can then be attached to this line. For those who are more inventive, you can bring materials to setup a makeshift dock. Often campers will setup a dock and leave it for the use of others when they leave.

    Boat Activites
    The three ponds that make up Fish Creek Ponds as well as Square Pond are suitable for various water activities including waterskiing, wakeboarding and tubing. For those looking for an alternative, Upper Saranac Lake is easily accessible by boat via Fish Creek Bay on Upper Saranac. Here you have a much larger waterway to enjoy your activities. There is also a shallow beach area in Square Bay on Upper Saranac where many campers and Upper Saranac locals congregate on hot summer days (mainly the weekends). Hickok's Livery which is located on the first Fish Creek Pond on the east side of the bridge on Route 30 has marine supplies as well as gas and oil at their dock.

    Rain? What Rain?
    Sometimes it rains at Fish Creek... sometimes a lot! There is a saying in the Adirondacks you should know... "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes". This is so true. If you plan on doing any water activities, and the weather is looking fine in the morning, then get out on the water. Showers and thundershowers are more likely in the afternoon. While out on Upper Saranac, keep an eye on the sky on those 'ify' days.

    Although swimming is reserved for the public beach near the entrance to the park (day use area), many people do swim from their campsite as well as using floats of sorts. This isn't encouraged, just be weary of any boat traffic as the ponds can get busy during the summer holidays!

    For those looking for short hikes, there are lots of trails within Fish Creek and Rollins. Nearby is the St Regis Mountain, and for those interested in a bigger hike, Ampersand is within 30 minutes (on route to the town of Saranac Lake). The High Peaks around Lake Placid offer an exhausting choice as well, particularly for those in good shape!

    The loop around Fish Creek is approximately 6 miles. The best time to bike is in the early morning before the traffic level picks up through the park. During the fall be sure to bike up into Rollins Pond to enjoy the fall foilage!

    Naturally the showers are less busy at night then in the morning. Fortunately there are 30 showers each for both men and women so there are rarely if ever a line up for showers. If you have spent all your change on the nightly ice cream truck, and don't have a quarter(s) for the showers, head up into Rollins to use their facility. The showers in Rollins are free.

    There is a wood truck which passes through the campground daily, although the time varies. Do give them your business if you can, however if you are without wood and camping for a week or more you might want to drive to Tupper Lake to see 'John'. John has a huge woodpile. His house is on the left just before you go up the hill into the village of Tupper Lake, about 15 minutes south of Fish Creek. There are many people who sell bundles of wood for $5 along the way as well (more so in July/August than in early/late season). There is also camp wood at the Trading Post just outside the park that comes nicely wrapped, with a carrying handle and includes some firestarter sticks.

    There is an ice truck which passes through the campground daily in the morning, although the time can vary. Do give this man your business if you can, however if you are without ice you can buy it at the Camp Store just outside the park.

    Ice Cream!
    During the summer months of July and August, the ice cream truck makes it way through the park starting at the far gate (Site 305) at about 5pm. Due to its popularity, it often only makes it little more than half way through the park before it has to leave on 'curfew' at 10pm! So if you are camping on a low site number, be sure to walk or bike around to meet it before its too late! It is amazing just how slow it seems to go. Fish Creek Pond campers love their ice cream! For those with less of sweet tooth, simply ask for a 'baby cone' ($1) which isn't listed on the ice cream menu on the side of the truck. You can often determine where the Ice Cream is as it makes its way around the Ponds by looking for its distintive lights. As well you will hear the jingle of the bear bells that are attached to the back wheels as the tuck moves along. There is a second Ice Cream truck which services those up in Rollins Pond as well.

    Supplies and Groceries
    The Trading Post is the camp store just outside the park on Route 30. You can walk, bike, drive or even boat over to the store. Expect to find just about anything you could possibly want there! Prices are very reasonable, especially considering they have no competition for miles! Thanks Phil! They have a great selection of food staples, meats, beer, wine, camping items and best of all fresh made Pizza! Make a point of ordering one for a deluxe dinner at the campfire.

    More tips coming soon!