Fulton Chain Circuit

5 Nights/4 Days

Paddle two days from Old Forge to Raquette Lake across all eight of the Fulton Chain of Lakes and hike or bike your way back to Old Forge!

The 5-night, 4-day Fulton Chain Circuit consists of two days of scenic paddling and two days of either rolling hiking or gravel biking. On Day One you’ll paddle First Lake through Fourth Lake, from Old Forge to Inlet, where you’ll enjoy the views of the mountains and hills that rim the lakes while checking out the varied architecture of the homes and camps along the way. Once in Inlet, you can savor a fancy dinner or some of the best pizza in the Adirondacks and catch a dazzling sunset at Arrowhead Park while treating yourself to a frozen treat from Northern Lights Creamery.

You’ll paddle to gorgeous Raquette Lake on Day Two via Fifth through Eighth lakes and the winding  Brown’s Tract. There are three portages along this section that will provide you opportunities to stretch your legs. The cozy feel and tasty cooking of the Raquette Lake Hotel and Taproom will make you feel at home at this popular “have-it-all” local establishment.

At Raquette Lake on Day Three you’ll switch travel modes and either hike or bike back to Old Forge the next two days. Hikers make their way up and over Black Bear Mountain with its awesome views to the southeast en route to Inlet. Bikers cruise the Dillon and Uncas roads to Inlet with the option to also hike up Black Bear. On your return to Inlet, you can choose to switch it up and treat your taste buds to other culinary offerings by checking out a different place to dine.

On the fourth and final day, hikers travel 13 miles from Inlet back to Old Forge, including climbs up Rocky Mountain and Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain with their impressive views of some of the lakes you previously paddled. Bikers cover 15 miles on the TOBIE trail with the option to add another 6.5 miles by looping through Thendara and visiting Elise Lookout. Bikers also have the option to hike up Rocky and Bald mountains along their way to Old Forge.

We suggest you plan to spend an extra day in Old Forge before or after your trek to enjoy all this thriving village has to offer, including the scenic chairlift ride and mountain biking at McCauley Mountain. Take on the thrills and spills at Enchanted Forest Water Safari, New York’s largest water theme park.

Photo by Johnathan Esper | Wildernesscapes Photography

Old Forge

Arrive in Old Forge.

Click through the tabs at the top to see the full itinerary.

Welcome to Old Forge, the southwest gateway to the Adirondacks!

 

 

 

Inlet

You’ll paddle First Lake through Fourth Lake, from Old Forge to Inlet, where you’ll enjoy the views of the mountains and hills that rim the lakes while checking out the varied architecture of the homes and camps along the way. Once in Inlet, you can savor a fancy dinner or some of the best pizza in the Adirondacks and catch a dazzling sunset at Arrowhead Park while treating yourself to a frozen treat from Northern Lights Creamery.

Raquette Lake

You’ll paddle to gorgeous Raquette Lake on Day Two via Fifth through Eighth lakes and the winding Brown’s Tract. There are three portages along this section that will provide you opportunities to stretch your legs. The cozy feel and tasty cooking of the Raquette Lake Hotel and Taproom will make you feel at home at this popular “have-it-all” local establishment. 


Inlet

At Raquette Lake on Day Three you’ll switch travel modes and either hike or bike back to Old Forge the next two days. Hikers make their way up and over Black Bear Mountain with its awesome views to the southeast en route to Inlet. Bikers cruise the Dillon and Uncas roads to Inlet with the option to also hike up Black Bear. On your return to Inlet, you can choose to switch it up and treat your taste buds to other culinary offerings by checking out a different place to dine.

Old Forge

On the fourth and final day, hikers travel 13 miles from Inlet back to Old Forge, including climbs up Rocky Mountain and Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain with their impressive views of some of the lakes you previously paddled. Bikers cover 15 miles on the TOBIE trail with the option to add another 6.5 miles by looping through Thendara and visiting Elise Lookout. Bikers also have the option to hike up Rocky and Bald mountains along their way to Old Forge. 

Old Forge

Before heading out, grab a hearty breakfast at Walt’s Diner, voted “Best Breakfast” by Adirondack Life readers. Or treat yourself to quality coffee and some tasty pastries at the Wisk Baking Co. Better yet, plan to spend an extra day or two in Old Forge to hit the mountain biking trails at McCauley Mountain and enjoy the rides and attractions at Enchanted Forest Water Safari!

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Route Highlights:

  • Nine lakes: First Lake through Eighth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes and Raquette Lake
  • The variety in architecture of camps along the shore
  • Old growth White Pine trees in the Cathedral Pines grove along Seventh Lake
  • The winding waterway of Brown’s Tract
  • Fine dining at Misters Bistro in Old Forge and The Woods Inn and The Seventh Lake House in Inlet
  • Pizza at the Screamen Eagle, voted the best pizza in the Adirondacks by Adirondack Life readers
  • Hikes up three peaks with great views: Black Bear Mountain, Rocky Mountain and Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain, with its fire tower
  • The TOBIE bike trail

Click the map to view larger

Did you know that…

 

  • Old Forge on First Lake is the southwest starting point for the 740-mile (1,190 km) Northern Forest Canoe Trail that extends all the way to Forth Kent, Maine.

 

  • One of the first settlers in Old Forge back in the early 1800s was Nat Foster, who is thought to be the person after which James Fenimore Cooper modeled his protagonist Natty Bumpo (also Hawkeye, Leatherstocking, and Deerslayer) in the Leatherstocking Tales. This five-part book series includes Cooper’s well-known work of fiction Last of the Mohicans.

 

  • The Fulton Chain of Lakes is named after the steamboat inventor Robert Fulton, who envisioned connecting the eight lakes to create an Adirondack canal? He never visited the area and his vision never materialized.

 

  • The 12 white pines that make up the Cathedral Pines grove are all over 300 years old, with the tallest one standing over 130 feet high.

Our Vision - Trips for Everyone


Weekend trips. Week-long trips. Some all hiking. Some all paddling. Some in which you can do both-- paddle and hike, even paddle and bike. No matter how long your selected route or your mode of travel, there are no tents to carry, camp stoves to struggle with, or mosquitoes biting you in your sleep on an Adirondack Hamlets to Huts trek.

You will travel to and through charming and historic Adirondack communities as well as amazing wild landscapes that make the Adirondacks the special place that it is. Our routes celebrate both the settled and the sublime, the culture of the Adirondacks as much as its nature. Your lodging will run the gamut, from the simple, such as walled tents, yurts, cabins, and motels, to the grand, including bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, lodges, and inns.

Come to the Adirondacks and experience the Park with Adirondack Hamlets to Huts. Adventure by day. Comfort at night.

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