Good camping spots that are away from crowds?

campfire at a lakeSean emails:

I was wondering if any of your readers had any recommendations for some good, isolated camping spots. There are plenty of large, multi-unit camping spots where there are 100+ lots. I'm more interested in areas that have more privacy, while still offering some swimming / fishing.

Sometimes one of the joys about being out in the forest is not being around a bunch of other people. (Of course, we're all other people to other people.)

So, got a suggestion for Sean? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a spot can be helpful.

Earlier: Good spots for camping with kids?

photo: Casey Normile

Comments

I haven't done it in a while, so I'm not sure if they still exist, but if you like having the best of both worlds, DEC used to have some sites that had what they called "remote sites." For example, Little Pond DEC campground in the Catskills was one of these. I think they had 8-12 remote sites. We should park in a small lot, and paddle over to them, carrying our gear. So you got your remoteness there, but because it was a DEC campground, there were showers in the main part of the campground. (And there were scattered outhouses in the remote area when you needed to do your business.)

If I told you where it was, it wouldn't be as private, would it?

But here's a tip: All campgrounds are less busy after Labor Day. We camp at the same site every year over the Labor Day weekend, and at least 80% of the people leave on that Monday. We have the campground mostly to ourselves after that.

There are several sites like PBB describes in the Lake George area, including on islands. They only have pit toilets but amazing water access and views.

I agree with Ryan H on this. When I lived in the area, I would always go to Roger's Rock in Lake George for camping but the key is - go AFTER the kiddies are back to school. I would go in mid September and it's a camping ghost town.

Camp Little Notch, a small non-profit camp in Fort Ann NY close to Lake George, hosts camping when the girls camp is not in session. 80 acre private lake. Small capacity so no crowds. Big platform tents to sleep in. Very pristine and lots of nearby trailheads including Buck, Inman Pond and Sleeping Beauty. Lean-to areas within the 7 unique campsites within the whole camp, each with latrines and indoor and outdoor fire circles. Camping starts at $10/night per person. You can even bring your dog.

Check out the calendar for available dates. Register through the calendar website.

http://www.camplittlenotch.org/calendar

In addition to what has been mentioned above, there are quite a few "primitive" designated campsites that are either road-side or short-walk situations. These are no-fee, first-come-first serve, and generally lack any amenities beyond, in some cases, an outhouse. Use the NYSDEC state lands interactive mapper and/or unit management plans to locate potential sites. If you go this route, please make sure to familiarize yourself with NYSDEC regulations (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7872.html, http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/41282.html as a start; be aware that some areas have more stringent regulations that you can also find at NYSDEC's website) and LNT principles (https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles).

Some private campgrounds also offer more secluded camping. I have no experience with any of these however.

Some state campgrounds allow no-amenity camping after they close for the season as well. I don't know of any list of such places, but you can inquire with the campground staff or appropriate agency (NYSDEC or Parks/OPRHP).

Sure, Five Ponds Wilderness, West Canada Lakes Wilderness, St. Regis Area. Isolated camp spots are harder to get to. So if you are looking for a more isolated spot, be prepared to drive further, paddle, or hike in. That's why these spots are isolated, most people won't bother with the hassle of getting there.

If you are looking for something isolated AND convenient, then my advice would be to wonder around and find your own "spots." Drive the back way, pull over at the DEC signs, hike the spur trail to see what's there... You'll have your own spots in no time. Just remember, when you get them, don't tell anyone about it!

Actually, here just use this:

http://www.adktrailmap.com/webmap/index.php

Forked Lake, just outside Long Lake, NY is primarily boat access only sites. You can rent a canoe, kayak or row boat to get to your site - all sites are isolated and private.

Just over the border in Vermont (Rupert to be exact) is the Merck Forest and Farmland Center. They offer pretty secluded camping (rustic cabins and lean-tos are also available) and the hiking is good.

http://www.merckforest.org/

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