New York
Hiking and Paddling at Great Camp Sagamore: Adirondack Nature and History
Hike to into the Back Country, paddle protected waterways, visit the Adirondack Museum and enjoy dancing and music as you learn the story of this historic region.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 21360RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
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Arrival, Check-in & Registration, Welcome Dinner, Introduction to Great Camp Sagamore
Raquette Lake, NY
Great Camp Sagamore

Afternoon: CHECK IN: Available from 4:00pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: When you check in, you will also register with the Program Staff and receive an arrival packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule, and other important information we will review during Orientation this evening. You will have the rest of the afternoon free to settle in, relax, or walk around the grounds before dinner. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather and other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Dinner is at 6:00pm. The chef will carefully prepare buffet meals provided in our paneled dining room with splendid views of Sagamore Lake. Dinners typically include selections such as a hot entrée, like creamed chicken over biscuits, veggie lasagna, pot roast, spaghetti/meat balls, roasted turkey, stuffed pork loin, or ham; salads, along with several dressing choices; potatoes, rice or pasta; a vegetable choice; bread or rolls; milk or juice. Coffee and tea are always available. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Sagamore's water is pure and delicious. Please do not bring bottled water. Note: Sagamore's buffet line is bountiful and varied. If you do not think that you can choose the foods you need for your special diet from the buffet, please supplement with your own that may be stored for your convenience in our walk-in cooler and/or cooked in an available microwave.

Evening: ORIENTATION: After dinner, you'll have an informative overview of the program plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We’ll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. PRESENTATION: Great Camp Sagamore's history, programs, and preservation. Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks is the steward of Great Camp Sagamore and is dedicated to its use for education and interpretation. Our mission is to foster understanding, care, and respect for nature, people, and their critical interdependence. Great Camp Sagamore strives to be a place where broad and diverse audiences gather to use these unique buildings and natural setting to explore and understand Adirondack culture, the region's natural environment, and our relationship to both.

Sagamore Lake Paddle, Camp Orientation Excursion
Raquette Lake, NY
Great Camp Sagamore

Activity note: Today's paddle will be roughly 2 miles total on a flat-water lake

Breakfast: 8:00am: Breakfasts are in the Vanderbilt dining hall with lovely views of the sun rising over the mountains of the Blue Ridge Wilderness Area. Choices typically include a hot entrée (varying dishes such as blueberry pancakes, French toast, egg strata or scrambled eggs); hot and cold cereal; milk; a variety of bagels, doughnuts, pastries; and juices. Coffee, tea, and pure Sagamore water are always available.

Morning: PADDLE: Sagamore Lake. After some basic canoeing instructions for those who are not experienced paddlers, we'll head out onto the water for a guided circumnavigation of Sagamore Lake, the small (184-acre) wilderness lake on which Great Camp Sagamore is located. Once owned in its entirety by the Vanderbilt family, the lake shore is totally undeveloped except for the camp itself at the lake's southwestern end. This morning paddle will allow us to 1) get comfortable in our canoes and 2) learn about the natural features of the area from the perspective of the water. We'll also be on the edge of the 40,000-acre Blue Ridge Wilderness. Be on the lookout for wildlife that frequent the lake and lakeshore such as loons, beaver, otters, mink, fisher, perhaps even a moose or bald eagle, all of which have been seen at various times.

Lunch: Noon: In the Dining Hall. Lunches typically include a hot entrée (such as macaroni and cheese or soup); sandwich meats, cheeses, breads and condiments; salads (such as cole slaw or potato salad); cookies or granola bars; fresh fruit; milk and juices or lemonade. Coffee, tea, and refreshing Sagamore water are always available.

Afternoon: WALKING EXCURSION: We begin with a short slideshow and consider the lives of the Gilded Age owners and guests who enjoyed Sagamore, as well as the army of servants and caretakers required to maintain the camp. We will then take a leisurely walk through the complex. Sagamore's 27 remaining structures — there were originally more that 60! — include a blacksmith's shop, carpenter's shop, ice houses, along with guest cottages, a laundry, a barn and a unique open-air bowling alley.

Dinner: Dinner in the wood-paneled Dining Hall. Enjoy the chef's tasty preparations from the extensive buffet.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Tonight we'll enjoy a presentation on some aspect of the Adirondacks: its history, protection, wildlife, composition, politics or ecology.

Morning Flatwater Paddle / Afternoon Hike / Evening Bowling
Raquette Lake, NY
Great Camp Sagamore

Activity note: Total hike distance is about 4 miles along rolling to flat terrain. Paddle distances vary based on weather conditions and needs of the group.

Breakfast: In the Dining Hall. We will also prepare lunches to take with us on our field trip.

Morning: PADDLE: We'll head out to Seventh Lake on the historic Fulton Chain of Lakes (named after Robert Fulton, the famous steamboat designer) for a paddle around the lake and then a hike into two remote Adirondack ponds. Seventh Lake is one of the most pristine lakes in this chain and there are many uniquely Adirondack sites along the way including a sea plane base, Adirondack lean-tos, Black Bear Mountain and Arnold's Rock.

Lunch: With lunches packed at Sagamore during breakfast, we have lunch at an Adirondack lean-to with a view overlooking the lake.

Afternoon: HIKE: After lunch we paddle to the end of the lake and start our hike into Bug and Eagle Lakes. This hike will take us along a historic abandoned roadway called the Uncus Rd, built by Durant in 1896 to connect Eagle Bay, NY and Camp Uncus. At the end of our hike will be Bug Lake in a picturesque setting surrounded by pine trees, loons on the lake and nice resting spot. On the way back out we’ll take a spur trail to Eagle Lake, another Adirondack gem in a wilderness setting. On our way back to camp we will stop to take a short walk into a virgin stand of white pine forest, known as Cathedral Pines.

Dinner: Dinner is at 6:00pm in the Dining Hall. Share your experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We'll top off the day off by bowling on Sagamore's historic lanes! Join the ranks of the famous Vanderbilt guests who have bowled a strike on these very lanes!

Paddle South Inlet / Hike to Powerhouse / Evening Campfire
Raquette Lake, NY
Great Camp Sagamore

Activity note: Paddle is approximately 2 miles, as is today's hike.

Breakfast: Breakfast is at 8:00 in Sagamore's Dining Hall. We'll pack lunches for today's out-trip.

Morning: PADDLE / HIKE: Following breakfast, we'll break into two groups: one group will head out to nearby Raquette Lake, for a canoe paddle up the South Inlet, one of the lake's primary tributaries, and the point of access for reaching Camp Sagamore before the advent of railroads and automobiles. The South Inlet is a meandering stream with a very mild current; we'll paddle approximately two miles upstream to a series of small waterfalls -- dubbed the Cascades -- where earlier visitors would have disembarked for a final, two-mile carriage ride into camp. The other group will depart from camp and hike down an old carriage road that traces the South Inlet, past the old Powerhouse built by the Vanderbilts in 1915 in order to supply the camp with electricity. We'll finish at the Cacades, where we'll meet our fellow travelers who are paddling in.

Lunch: We'll eat our bag lunches together on the shores of the South Inlet, serenaded by the dulcet sounds of the cascading water next to us.

Afternoon: HIKE / PADDLE: Groups will switch for the return trip, with morning hikers paddling out and morning paddlers hiking back to camp. On the return trip, look for unusual flora and fauna that inhabit the region. The evergreen forest occasionally creeps down to the shore, but bog and marsh always predominate. Wetland flora includes rose pogonia, blue flag, cotton grass, sundew, and pitcher plants. The area is also home to many animals, including beaver, mink, otter, bear, deer, and moose, along with birds including the gray jay and black-backed woodpecker.

Dinner: Dinner in the Sagamore Dining Hall.

Evening: CAMPFIRE. Everyone who has been to camp has a wonderful memory of a campfire. Ours is held at the historic lean-to, overlooking the outlet stream of Sagamore Lake.

Morning Hike / Free Afternoon / Evening Video
Raquette Lake, NY
Great Camp Sagamore

Activity note: Today's hike will be roughly 1-1/2 miles, on relatively flat terrain.

Breakfast: Breakfast is at 8:00 in the Dining Hall.

Morning: NATURE/CULTURE HISTORY HIKE: This morning, we'll take a hike on some of the trails surrounding Camp Sagamore. Now part of the Blue Ridge Wilderness that we will have seen during our canoe trip on the lake, the 1525 acres that surround the camp were once part of the original Durant/Vanderbilt estate, and remnants, ruins and other evidence of human disturbance both past and present still remain. With a naturalist and an historian as guides, we'll take a close look at the impact of human presence, and mark the progress of an area that is slowly returning to its native condition.

Lunch: Lunch at noon in Sagamore's Dining Hall.

Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: Participants will have the afternoon free to explore the area on your own. Museum buffs might want to return to the Adirondack Museum or visit the WILD Center, the natural history museum of the Adirondacks in Tupper Lake. Others may wish to visit Inlet or Old Forge, both quaint, bucolic lakeside villages. Or you may want to simply relax with a good book in one of Sagamore's Adirondack chairs.

Dinner: Dinner at 6:00 in Sagamore's Dining Hall.

Evening: VIDEO: Tonight we will watch a PBS video on the Adirondack Park, one of the most important land-use laboratories in the world.

Good Byes
Raquette Lake, NY

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Sagamore Dining Hall

Morning: MORNING PADDLE: This morning, enjoy a final paddle on or hike around Sagamore Lake before we finish up the course, perhaps until next year!

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