Lake Lila is located in the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area in Hamilton County. It is a remote, motor-less lake with 24 first-come, first-served camping sites along its shores. It remains a popular wilderness destination for paddlers, campers, and birders and was formerly the site of an expansive Adirondack Great Camp.
Lake Lila can be rough in windy conditions, so monitor the weather forecast before any planned outings.
Paddlers can also explore Shingle Shanty Brook. It is a scenic, winding brook in boreal habitat. There are several beaver dams across the brook and it requires getting out and pulling your canoe or kayak over.
Paddlers can spend the day or camp at one of the 24 designated sites along the lake and on four islands. There is no permit system, and the campsites are first-come, first-served. Privies are the new, wall-less kind.
The trail to Mount Frederica can be accessed from the western side of Lake Lila. For paddlers, the hike is roughly 3 miles round trip. (From the parking area, the hike is 9 miles round trip on a trail.) It is best to canoe to an open area near campsites 8-9 to pick up the trail. There is a sign at this location for the trail.
There is a nesting pair of osprey on the lake shore and common loons on the lake. The forest surrounding the lake was hard-hit by a 95-mph wind storm several years ago, so getting onshore away from the lake is difficult.
Wood warblers can be found on the shoreline and boreal birds inhabit much of the area. (A Cape May Warbler has been seen in the parking area.) Canoe to the west end of the lake where an Adirondack Great Camp once stood or walk down the road past the barrier at the parking lot to the railroad tracks. The camp at one time had it's own railroad stop.
Both treks lead to superb birding areas. Spruce grouse have been seen south of the lake in recent years.
Bikes are allowed on on Lake Lila Access Road, in any season. It is 7.3 miles long, one way, from the intersection with Sabattis Rd. It reaches all the way to the shore.
- From the intersection of Routes 30 and 28 in Long Lake, proceed 7.1 miles northwest on Route 30 to a left turn onto Sabattis Road (CR 10). (This is a half-circle road, with two access points on Route 30.)
- Travel 2.9 miles to a left turn. There are a number of signs at this intersection, including a sign for Lake Lila and Little Tupper Lake Headquarters. The sign directs you to the Lake Lila Road (reached in 4.5 miles).
- After driving 4.5 miles, take a left onto the Lake Lila access road.
- Travel for 5.6 miles to reach the Lake Lila parking area. The speed limit is 15 mph.
- A high clearance vehicle is helpful on this rough dirt road, but a low clearance vehicle can make it with great care.
The canoe carry is three-tenths of a mile from the parking area to the lake.
Find out more
Read our blog post The Lure of Lovely Lake Lila to learn more about camping and paddling there.