Rollins Pond Loop

Pictured is a map of Rollins Pond Loop, from AndyArthur via Flickr:


Editor’s Note: This is a column on area watersheds by Blyden Potts and guest columnists to spread awareness of the area’s tributaries and the efforts of area volunteers to keep them clean.


Rollins Pond is a quiet campground in the Adirondacks, without motorboats. It is accessed through the much livelier Fish Creek Pond campground. There is a short kayak or canoe loop that includes Rollins and a series of other ponds, suitable for a family paddle. I am told it is one of the most popular canoeing and kayaking loops in the Adirondacks.

The first part of the loop, a bit less than 2 miles, is on Rollins Pond itself. Toward the north end of the pond are a few little islands to explore. The campground and public land occupies the eastern shore. There are a few private properties on the western shore. The rest of the trip is idyllic in all-natural surroundings. At the lower end of Rollins Pond, a curvy outlet channel with a current leads into Floodwood Pond. The outlet is less than a

quarter-mile long. The traverse across Floodwood Pond is about a mile and a half, if one goes directly, to exit via Fish Creek. After half a mile or so, Fish Creek opens into Little Square Pond, which is vaguely rectangular. Near the lower end of that pond is a narrow side channel through aquatic vegetation, which leads to the greenish Copperas Pond, not to be confused with the better known pond of the same name near Lake Placid, New York.

At the west end of Copperas Pond is a portage to Whey Pond. The portage is about a quarter-mile, but easy.

There is very moderate elevation change.

When my wife and I did the loop the first time, we camped at Rollins Pond before our daughter was born. We saw a leech in the water near the shore of Whey Pond at the end of the first portage. We learned later that Whey Pond has never been stocked with sunfish or bass, major predators of leeches, so it has a population of leeches.

Seeing that leech swimming by the shore was one of the highlights of the trip for us, a bit of nature that we mentioned over the years whenever we told friends about this particular camping trip.

We camped at Rollins Pond again, years later, when my daughter was 8 and had just learned to paddle a recreational kayak solo. We did the Floodwood Pond loop paddle as a family. For most of the trip, my wife was in a solo kayak, while I was paddling a tandem kayak with my daughter in front. There was one tight curve on the Rollins Pond outlet that the longer tandem kayak just squeezed through. We paddled very leisurely, crossing Floodwood. At one point we entered the wrong lobe of the pond, but soon corrected our mistake and found our way to Fish Creek and eventually to Copperas Pond and the portage.

During the portage, we decided that my wife and daughter would switch seating, so our daughter could practice her paddling skills in the solo kayak a bit, especially since she had paddled only intermittently when she was in the front of the tandem kayak. We thought she should be able to paddle the length of Whey Pond, which is less than half a mile and the final leg of the loop, returning us to the campground. We were very impressed by how well she paddled across the pond. She set a good, even pace, had good form, and looked every bit the veteran paddler, as if she had been doing it for years. Only later, when we had returned to our campsite at Rollins, did she reveal to us that she had in mind our story about the leeches in Whey Pond, and that her very focused paddling was motivated by fear of the leeches.

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