Eleven square miles, with 55 miles of shoreline, Cranberry Lake remains one of the largest remote areas in New York State. Mostly state-owned, the lake has been virtually bypassed by civilization. Along Route 3 at the eastern end of Cranberry Lake sits a hamlet of the same name. To the west of the hamlet is a boat-launching site, and to the east, the public Cranberry Lake Campground.
One of the area’s most popular canoe trips begins at Inlet, off Route 3 southwest of the lake, and continues 16 miles along the Oswegatchie River to the lake itself. An easy hiking trail up Bear Mountain on the east side of the lake begins at the Cranberry Lake Campground. The hike is 3.6 miles round-trip, takes about two hours, and offers good views of the lake.
The creaky, stuffed-to-the-rafters Emporium (Rte. 3, 315/848-2140) can equip you with everything from groceries and bait to maps and canoes.
Accommodations and Food
To reserve one of the 173 sites at the Cranberry Lake Campground (Long Pine Rd., off Rte. 3, 315/848-2315), call 800/456-CAMP. Campers who prefer to rough it can row out to one of the 46 primitive tent sites designated with yellow markers along the lake’s shoreline.
If you’d prefer a motel, try the simple but comfortable Cranberry Lake Lodge (7209 Rte. 3, 315/848-3301, www.cranberrylakelodge.com, $39–59 d), offering 23 rooms and a family-style restaurant (average entrée $8).
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition