The Chubb River has always been a bit of an Adirondack landmark for us. Reaching it signaled that we were close to finishing our Northville Placid thru-hikes. However, we recently had the opportunity to enjoy the river in another way… by paddling it.
A small tributary of the Ausable River, with quick and easy access from Lake Placid, we found the Chubb to be a perfect afternoon adventure.
The put in was reached after a pleasant .1 mile portage, and the relaxing pace of the trip was apparent soon after setting off. The river’s calm waters meandered slowly through wooded channels, including some shallow and narrow sections.
The vegetation was thick enough that it made for slow going in a few areas, but the biggest obstacle to smooth paddling was also the most interesting. The beaver dams! We encountered 3 that required us to carry our boats around or over them. While all of the carries were quick and easy, I can imagine that navigating these barriers would be more of a chore if the weather was nasty or if you were in a rush to bust out miles. However, we found them to be a fun addition to the experience.
There was a short portage (about .3 miles) at around the midway point of this trip, after which the river opened up into a marshy area with wider passages and unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains.
This was some of the best paddling of the trip and it appeared to continue on like this for a good stretch. However, we were reaching our turn around time and didn’t get a chance to explore further. My understanding is that somewhere between the 4.5 to 5 mile mark is where the river becomes impassable by boat, and I believe we paddled in about 4 miles before turning around.
Where: The Adirondacks, Lake Placid area
Directions from Lake Placid: The portage begins about a mile and a half from the center of Lake Placid. Take Averyville Road (from Old Military Road) as if you are heading to the Northville Placid trailhead. Immediately after that trailhead you will cross over the Chubb – slow down and begin to look for the trail on the left. There is no specific sign, or parking area, but the pull off is obvious and there is a yellow “Wilderness Area” sign marking the start of the trail.
Difficulty: Novice, flatwater.
Summary: The Chubb River is an often overlooked Adirondack paddle that offers a day (or half day) of calm back country paddling with mountain views. It is an out and back trip (4.5 to 5 miles one way) with 2 easy portages and some beaver dams to carry over.
- Hornbeck 10’5″ Kevlar Canoe
- Werner Cascadia Paddle
- Necky Manitou Sport Kayak
- Aqua-bound Sting Ray Paddle
- Pelican Micro Case – to protect electronics like our camera and mobile phones
- Stohlquist BetSEA PFD – Jess’ life jacket
- Astral Buoyancy LDB PFD – Dave’s life jacket
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