Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Star Lake, NY

  • Published 2023/02/24

Located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York‘s St. Lawrence County, the hamlet of Star Lake is also a census-designated place.

You’ll find this community at the east of a lake with a particularly angular shape, also called Star Lake.

Before the construction of multiple railway lines in the Adirondacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the area was largely uninhabited.

Visitors to the angular lake in the summer were drawn there by the promise of excellent hunting and fishing opportunities and clean air and water.

There used to be many more significant hotels in Star Lake due to its status as a thriving tourist attraction, but this is no longer the case.

Aside from tourism, the iron ore industry in this secluded part of New York State was a significant economic driver.

While most businesses have died down, Star Lake continues to draw visitors and outdoor enthusiasts with its picturesque setting, peaceful atmosphere, great fishing and hunting, and a wide variety of land-based and water-based activities.

Check out this list of the best things to do in Star Lake, New York:

Go Hiking toward Streeter Lake

The Schuler family, who became wealthy from producing potato chips, originally owned the property that includes Steeter Lake.

They grew “experimental potatoes” in what is now known as the “Potato Patch” near the lake when insects devastated potato harvests.

Two trailheads lead to the lean-to and Streeter Lake.

Starting at Star Lake, drive about 1.75 miles down Youngs Road from the Route 3 and Youngs Road intersection to the trailhead on the right.

This 3.5-mile hike will lead you to Streeter Lake.

The route may be damp in places during the summer, but it still offers a nice walk through the woods.

Go Birding at Readway Ponds

Readway Ponds is a great hidden gem for various outings.

While there are gates blocking access to the dirt road, they are often left open for at least some vehicles.

It improves the “walk in the woods” experience significantly.

Aside from strolling and sightseeing, it’s also ideal for birding.

Some species you may find here are the Dark-Eyed Junco, Black-Throated Green Warbler, and American Robin.

The route terminates at the Little River, not far from some lovely waterfalls, and it takes you between two of the bigger Readway Ponds along the way.

The path is gentle enough to stroll or ski, and there are just enough undulations to keep things interesting.

Star Lake’s Oswegatchie Trail Road and Route 3 meet at a junction; from there, it’s about a quarter of a mile to Lake Road.

About 1.5 miles after turning left onto Lake Rd beside the hospital, you’ll see a gated dirt forest road on the right.

Launch Your Boat and Go Fishing at Oswegatchie River-Star Lake Inlet

The Oswegatchie River-Star Lake Inlet is a prominent cartop boat launch facility on the Oswegatchie River that provides access to some of the best fishing spots in the center of the forever wild Five Ponds Wilderness Area and some of the best paddling along the Oswegatchie.

The river’s current is mild for most of the paddle but can become challenging in confined spaces under some circumstances.

Fish for freshwater fish, like Northern Pike, Small-Mouth Bass, Perch, Walleye, Trout, Bullhead, and more.

There is also plenty of camping sites along the river, from tent sites to lean-to places, so you can relax after a full day of exploring.

High Rock and High Falls are also reachable by this River route, as well as an additional exploration of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, from where the River route originates.

Go Ice Skating at Clifton-Fine Arena

You may ice skate on the Clifton-Fine Arena‘s natural ice if you visit in the colder months.

Public ice skating sessions take place at regular intervals during the skating season.

Rental Ice is open to the general public.

Since Clifton-Fine Arena uses natural ice, the ice conditions might change depending on the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air.

Because of this, the ice skating season also depends on the climate.

The arena is open to the public for various functions during the summer, like Corvette shows, craft fairs, quilt exhibitions, class reunions, and wedding anniversary celebrations.

Book a Tee Time at Clifton-Fine Municipal Golf Course

Star Lake may be a small community, yet it has its own public golf course.

Clifton-Fine Municipal Golf Course & Driving Range in Star Lake is home to a nine-hole course that plays to a par of 36 and offers 2,799 yards of golf from the longest tees.

It also offers a pro shop, a restaurant, golf cart rentals, tee times for both men and women, and competitions.

Clifton-Fine Municipal Golf Course & Driving Range has a 32.6 overall rating and a 106 slope rating.

Charles Sayles designed the golf course, which opened in 1928.

Stop by American Legion Mervin Eno Post 1539

As a group, members of the American Legion are committed to helping each other out.

It’s the country’s largest organization of its kind, and its members are all war veterans.

Star Lake’s American Legion Mervin Eno Post 1539 is committed to serving as a positive role model for young people, supporting positive youth programming, promoting strong national security, and showing unwavering loyalty to the nation’s duty troops and veterans.

If you want to experience some sense of community in Star Lake, this is the place to be.

Established in 1942, the organization hosts an annual chili cookoff and dinner events.

If you’re a member or know someone who could tag you along, have a good time with American Legion Mervin Eno Post 1539!

Join the Festivities at Star Lake Annual Fireman Field Day

The Star Lake Fire & Rescue Annual Field Day is a great place to take the kids.

This family-friendly event takes place between summer and fall.

It features a parade, a car show, a craft market, and a fireworks display to round off this action-packed day commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.

Kids will love the activities, the jumping castle, and the snacks.

Star Lake Fire & Rescue Annual Field Day is a celebration and a fundraiser, so you can help out the community as you party.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Star Lake may be an outdoor junkie or a nature lover’s haven but wait till you see what the rest of the region offers.

For an extended vacation, check out other things to do near Star Lake:

Learn about Nature Preservation at SUNY-ESF Ranger School

Exterior of SUNY-ESF Ranger School

Mwanner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you passionate about nature and its protection?

The SUNY-ESF Ranger School offers a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity in a breathtaking natural environment in the northwest Adirondack Mountains in Wanakena, 13 minutes from Star Lake.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees in Environmental and Natural Resource Conservation, Forest Technology, and Land Surveying Technology are among the offerings at the Ranger School.

Earning an AAS from Ranger School can be the first step toward a variety of employment in the forestry, natural resource, and surveying technology fields, or it can serve as a stepping stone to a related Bachelor of Science degree.

After finishing their first year at the ESF main campus in Syracuse or another institution of their choosing, AAS students spend their second year at the Ranger School.

Visit this school if you’re in the area but take note to schedule your tour with them ahead of time.

Take a Break and Appreciate Art at Otto’s Abode

Ten minutes from Star Lake is Otto’s Abode, a store/visitors center/performance + exhibition venue in Wanakena, amid the knobby northwest foothills of the Adirondacks.

Its four founders see it as a collective public art project.

The project aims to create a space where people can share and learn from positive and enlightening experiences.

Here, you can learn about new places and cultures while enjoying a snack and a cold drink.

You can also find answers to intriguing puzzles over a game of chess or enjoy a good book or conversation.

Ottos Abode is a great place to stop for lighter fare or picnic necessities.

Also, if you have any queries about what to see or do, where to stay, or what to eat, they will love to help you out.

Go Trekking at Cranberry Lake 50

Some of the most incredible camping, hiking, bicycling, paddling, skiing, and fishing in the northeastern United States lie around Cranberry Lake, 13 minutes from Star Lake.

Cranberry Lake 50, a section of Adirondack Park in upstate New York, is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty, with plenty of trees, lakes, and wildlife.

One of the best ways to take it all in is by completing the 50-mile-long Cranberry Lake 50.

You may experience authentic wilderness and a connection with nature at Cranberry Lake.

Most people trek the CL50 on foot during the summer, but in the winter, skiers and snowshoers may enjoy the trail.

Some people hike alone, while others join small groups, sometimes even bringing their dogs.

Bask in Nature at Cranberry Lake Campground

One of the largest undeveloped lakes in the Adirondacks, Cranberry Lake is perfect for those seeking a more peaceful, uncrowded waterfront camping experience.

The Adirondack Mountains, west of Tupper Lake, 21 minutes from Star Lake, is home to Cranberry Lake Campground.

There are a total of 173 campsites available at Cranberry, including 34 right on the water.

None of the campsites has access to electricity.

You’re free to bring your motorized boat for some boating or fishing, and there are canoes for hire if you need one.

Hikers can choose from several excellent paths.

Relax on the sand at Cranberry Lake Campground and bring a picnic.

Cross the Wanakena Footbridge

Walkway of the Wanakena Footbridge

Mwanner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The peaceful Hamlet of Wanakena is the perfect spot to escape from the noise and bustle of everyday life.

It is also home to one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the United States, the Wanakena Footbridge, which you may reach within 26 minutes from Star Lake.

The first bridge crossing the Oswegatchie River was constructed in 1902 and spans 171 feet.

If you keep to the right after passing the Welcome Sign and continue down Main Street, you’ll reach a parking lot not far from the playground and the bridge.

Stop by the kiosk before crossing the bridge to learn about its history and how the community worked together to repair it after it was devastated by an ice jam in 2014.

Take a minute to admire the view of the Oswegatchie River as you cross the bridge.

The scenery is stunning, and you may potentially see some wildlife.

Don’t leave the Wanakena Footbridge without reading the poem “Our Wanakena Bridge” when you leave the opposite side.

To the left, you’ll also locate a remnant of the old bridge’s cable.

Catch a Performance at Edwards Opera House

Are you looking for something to do at night in Edwards, New York?

Check out Edwards Opera House, just a 22-minute drive from Star Lake.

The original painted front curtain is still in place at this opera house on Main Street.

This theater is one of a kind, with a capacity of roughly 275, excellent acoustics, a raked audience, and an elevated stage.

For more than 130 years, the Edwards Opera House has entertained audiences.

It also has fantastic architecture, incorporating Potsdam sandstone, Gouverneur marble, and brick to create a Richardsonian Romanesque design.

In addition to ensuring its aesthetic appeal and endurance, it aims to provide cultural vitality.

The Opera House features both regional and international artists throughout the year.

Learn about Local History at Gouverneur Museum

Over a 30-minute drive from Star Lake is Gouverneur Museum, where you may explore relics throughout three stories.

It also features an outdoor display building, an annex at the Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fairgrounds, and a genuine one-room schoolhouse.

The museum’s displays are a collection of local contributions, and each artifact tells a story from the past and connects you to the individuals who formerly owned it.

Gouverneur Museum has hundreds of pieces, many of which are one-of-a-kind, thanks to the generosity of local citizens.

The main museum structure dates back to 1904 when it was a three-story Victorian house known as the Presbyterian Manse.

The Historical Association bought “The Manse” in 1974 and launched it as a museum on July 4, 1976.

Take Snaps at Lampsons Falls

Front view of the Lampsons Falls

Fleury9816 /

A 26-minute drive from Star Lake takes you to Lampson Falls, one of the largest and most visited waterfalls in the North Country, accessible via the Lampson Falls Trail.

The water from these spectacular falls plunges 100 over a cliff into a churning pool below.

The hike to the top of the falls takes about half a mile long from the trailhead on NY-27 over a broad and level route.

This initial segment of the dirt path is wheelchair-accessible.

The trail continues past the waterfall’s vantage point, narrows and descends precipitously to the beach below the falls, and then across a rocky outcrop to reach the other side.

Side view of the Lampsons Falls

Fleury9816 /

People go here in the summer to sunbathe, swim, see the falls from the rocks, and harvest blueberries.

If you follow the yellow path markers painted on the trees, you may turn this outing into a circle that follows the river for a longer distance.

It may become overgrown over the summer, but this spot is ideal for taking in the river views of Grasse.

After approximately a mile of walking by the river, near the ruins of an ancient bridge, the route makes a right and climbs steadily uphill on the old Lampson Falls Logging Road.

After another mile, the ancient logging road connects back to the Lampson Falls Trail above the falls.

Final Thoughts

Star Lake may not be your typical go-to destination in New York, but it’s worth a longer stay to discover what’s unique about this quaint community.

It offers serene natural attractions that offer the perfect escape from the bustle of daily life.

If you find yourself in this hamlet one of these days, use our guide on the best things to do in Star Lake, New York, for a fantastic time!

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