Thompson Lake State Park – East Berne, NY

Hello everyone, today we would like to take you on a brief tour of Thompson Lake State Park high up in the mountains of East Berne NY. This is one of those campgrounds where the pictures on the website actually don’t do it justice, it is an absolutely beautiful campground. Now, we weren’t thrilled with the rout to get here, the first turn on Beaver Dam road is a nasty steep, sharp, 180 degree, turn that will surprise you if you aren’t expecting it so please be careful.

Once there we were happily surprised because most of the campsites seemed to be quite private. You can still see your neighbor but many of the sites are best described as little nooks cut out of heavy brush, which is great for two reasons. Firstly, it provides a private, shady, more natural feel to your camping experience. Secondly, and this is the part Kimberly and I hold dear to our heart, it helps block the noise from generators. Yes, generators are allowed here, it seems, and although there is a quiet time, and rules about excessive noise, we didn’t see anything where you are only permitted to run a generator for specific periods of time. That said the brush really helps as a noise barrier so everyone can enjoy their time equally.

Site 74 trail to lake
Shore behind Site 74

Although it is a campground on a lake, most of the sites are sadly not on the water. That is not a problem, though, because it is just a short walk from anywhere in the park to get to the waters edge. The driveways are mostly paved and little trails off to the side, every now and again, give you quick access to the water. The public beach, located in the northern portion of the grounds, ensures that everyone has equal opportunity to bathe in the sun. To be honest, the sites on the water aren’t even really “on” the water per se. They have a short trail behind each one to take you there though, which only makes it a hassle if you are anything like Spencer and like to have your pole in the water at night while sitting next to the fire. What makes these sites enticing is that, in the summer at least, there is plenty of room to leave your kayak on the side of the lake, privately sit in a lawn chair, to fish, or to just enjoy the scenery.

Many of the sites also have small walking paths between them so if you have a large family you can get multiple sites, still be private but still enjoy your time together. The bathrooms are clean, have running water, include showers, which is a huge plus if you are anything like Kimberly, and there are plenty of waterspouts for everyone to use.

The website says there are boat launches but we didn’t see any in the campground itself. However, just outside of the campground, on the other side of the lake, we noticed a boat launch on our way out. Now this isn’t to say none existed on the grounds, we just weren’t going out of our way to look for one. We did, however, see a shed where you could rent canoes, kayaks and other such equipment to carry into the water.

Now a big pet peeve here for both Kimberly and I, garbage. They probably have dumpsters for trash and recycling here, the grounds usually do, but we never pay much attention. This is due to the fact that firstly we do not have much garbage. We use cloth bags, we pack our foods in reusable containers, so it’s really no big deal for us to carry a bag of garbage/recyclables home in the back of the truck. We can see, just by walking around here, that the park crew works hard to keep this place clean, and so do most of the campers. We did come across, however, a couple of sites they missed covered in plastic wrappers from juice box straws, then plastic containers, Styrofoam, soda and beer cans, half burned in the fire pit. For those of you that do that, we ask that you stop following this blog immediately since we aren’t providing this information to you so that you can destroy what the rest of us love.

Mr. T does not approve!

We constantly pick up other peoples garbage when we see it, the garbage on the ice in the winter aggravates Spencer the most as an avid ice fisherman. Now, we are not implying that we are perfect, we can always do more, but there is a big difference between ignorance in doing more to preserve nature, and laziness in throwing Styrofoam, plastics, and metal into a campfire. People cook their food over these fire pits, kids roast marshmallows, the garbage on the ground finds its way into our soil and our drinking water, and it kills wildlife. The garbage that’s burned goes into the air we breathe, and is rained back down into our lakes and streams, it doesn’t just go away, so please take care of your trash!

That said, the police, it seems, patrol these grounds pretty often, they aren’t harassing anyone but they make their presence known by just taking short rides through the grounds, or by sitting off on the side somewhere. Overall we think this is a pretty good campground, in our opinion, children are riding bikes and running around on the ball field, or playground, it’s pretty quiet and for the most part, safe. There are lots of hiking trails in the immediate area too, along with a boat launch. So, without further ado, here are the top site picks for Kimberly and Spencer.

Click here to follow along on the Thompson Lake Campground Map.
Field containing Sites 1-18 with row 131-140 just beyond

In the Northern section be careful when getting a spot, a few of these sites are in a field next to the parking lot, roughly numbers 1-18 on the map, and 131-140 are facing those fields so it’s pretty wide open, with a lot of traffic from the beach and playground. No big deal if you are in an RV we suppose, but we wouldn’t want to tent here.

Site 45
Site 45 junction, foot trail and trail to water behind site.

We would recommend staying away from sites 36 to 44, those could become real messy real fast, and seemed to be muddy even after almost a week of sun. Site 45 is a nice site, it’s closer to the lake as well, but doesn’t have a lot of grass, and is less private. This in part comes from it being so much closer to the town beach and playground. There is also a trail running along the lake just behind the site so traffic around this area probably could be troublesome or unwanted due to it being so close to your gear.

Site 90

In the Southern section most of the row, on the odd side, between 55 and 92 are pretty good nooks with sites 87 and 90 being the target spots in our humble opinion. Half of the row between 63-71 aren’t bad sites either but if you look here aim for site 70 and 71 in particular. For family adventures, where more than one site is required, 71a, and 71b are great spots. There is a 3rd new site on this loop but it isn’t labeled so we will just call it 71c, and that one kind of overlooks the other two. Anyway, private, grassy, with a little foot trail connecting the sites in your very own loop, and it’s fairly close to the water, what could be better than that?

Site 74

For Spencer and Kimberly the honey pot is site 74, it is set back a little further from the lake than site 45 but there is plenty of grass, no mud and it is a bit more private. Despite the fact that it is a tad bit further from the lake, and as stated earlier, the trail leads you to a rocky shoreline where you can relax in a lawn chair, launch a kayak, or just simply enjoy the view.

Site 113

Finally most of the Southern most tip, between sites 98 and 121 is either a muddy or rocky mess, roots, gravel, or your tent would be the basin for all of the water runoff during a rainstorm. These are definitely RV spots, however we did find one site that we liked and that was 113. The downfall is that just beyond the forest, represented by that green dotted line at the bottom of the map, is a huge stockade style fence. We assume that the boat launch is just beyond so the noise from the boats, and/or jet skis, could grow troublesome as well.

That’s it folks, that’s all of our gossip for today. Here they are again in one convenient spot, our site picks for this campground.

71a -71b -71c together
74 (HoneyPot)

Overall, Kimberly and Spencer give Thompson’s Lake Campground two thumbs up, we would come back here.

-Spencer and Kimberly

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