Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake is a village in the Adirondacks, New York State. It lies in the towns of Harrietstown, St. Armand, and North Elba, inside the boundaries of Adirondack State Park.


Lake Flower
Knollwood Club, an Adirondack Great Camp on Shingle Bay, Lower Saranac Lake

The area was first settled in 1819; a dam and sawmill were buit in 1827, a school was built in 1838, and the first local hotel opened in 1849. Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau arrived in 1876, believing the cold, clear mountain air to be helpful in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis; his Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was established in 1884. The Trudeau Institute, an independent medical research organisation established in 1964, is a successor to Dr. Trudeau's 1884 Saranac Laboratory for the Study of Tuberculosis. Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the doctor's great-grandson, grew up in Saranac Lake and maintains connections there.

Hundreds of "cure cottages", private residences with large, glassed-in porches where patients could benefit from the clear mountain air, were constructed in this era. The 1944 introduction of antibiotic drug streptomycin largely supplanted prior treatments for tuberculosis by the 1950s; the buildings were re-purposed, with sixty-three of those still extant in Saranac Lake listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The "great camps of the Adirondack Mountains", elaborate summer homes for the wealthy, became common in the region near the end of the 19th century as rail travel placed upstate vacation areas such as the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands within easy reach for New York City's well-heeled elites.

Five thousand people live in the village. North Country Community College, a two-year public college established in Saranac Lake in 1967, has 1500 students, 143 permanent and 300 adjunct faculty. Paul Smith's College, a private four-year college in the adjacent hamlet of Paul Smiths NY, was established in 1946 and now has a thousand students.

Get in

By air

By bus

By motorcar

Saranac Lake is within the Adirondack park and relatively isolated; there are no Interstate highways in the immediate area.

By train

Get around

One quality of Saranac Lake is lack of heavy vehicle traffic. Walking is the perfect way to explore the town.

There is bus service twice daily to Lake Placid.





Saranac Lake has several very pleasant Art Shops. It also has book stores (one new, one used) and a fine Army Surplus store. Next door, is a beautiful Native American shop. For healthy, organic food, herbs, and peaceful atmosphere, try Noris. There are some antique stores, but if you want a real adventure, search through The Gold Mine.




Bakery and desserts



Pizza and Italian






B&B and guesthouses

Ponds with giant frogs

there is a pond with giant frogs. Check it out.


Go next

Routes through Saranac Lake

Watertown Tupper Lake  W  E  Plattsburgh END
END Jct N S  W  E  Lake Placid Jay

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