Hello again camping friends today we bring you Little Sand Point Campground located in Piseco, NY which is nestled in the southern end of the Adirondack mountains and part of the West Canada Lake Wilderness. On this adventure we didn’t really care for the campground itself, it is very run down, the campsites are smooshed together, and many of them are located on a washed out hill. However we did end up staying an extra day since we really did enjoy ourselves on the lake, which is peaceful and relaxing. The area also had plenty of places for bike riding, and hiking, and for the most part the area was quiet.
Upon arrival our first impression was anything but good as we pulled up and stared downward at our washed out campsite. From the roadway there was a steep bank, then a downward gradient where you actually camp, then another steep bank leading to the lake. There is very little space to park, mainly just pull offs, in front of your site, on a single lane driveway. Most of the sites in the back half of the campground, like ours, were 10 to 12 feet below the roadway so if you plan on bringing a lot of stuff with you, you will get your workout loading, and unloading, for sure. It’s also good to keep in mind, if you have an RV or a popup, you will not be camping on the back half of the campground unless you get a site on the opposite side of the driveway where there is no lake. This is an important thing to remember since there are no trails cutting between the sites on the lakeside so you will have to go back to the entrance to have any access.
This campground does have RV sites on the lake near the beginning half of the campground but they are little more than gravel parking areas. Some of these spots are quite large, however, and the gravel makes it easy to pull in and out but you might want to stay away from these sites if you have a tent since there is a lot more motor traffic, generators, and noise through here.
As for our site, dirt, roots, and, due to rain, large ditches from water runoff. It is also worth mentioning that you need to pay careful attention to where these runoffs are. Ours, for example, ran directly through the center of our site and it was large enough that if we placed a tent there, and it rained, it is likely that we would have lost the tent.
Most of the fire pits here were in ruin, crumbling apart, held together with rocks placed from other campers. Many of the grates were all mangled and although the campground started repairing some of them, it’s going to be hit or miss when choosing a site at this campground for a long time to come. That said, they do provide a place to lite a fire, and if you have your own cooking grate, like we do, it’s not too much of an issue.
So, you might be asking yourself why we stayed an extra day if the campground wasn’t that great. Well, because the lake is absolutely beautiful, it’s peaceful, there are motor boats on the lake but only a few, and they seemed to stay out toward the center where they wouldn’t bother anyone. We saw a large groups of people wind surfing, and along the edge of the water it was much more relaxing. Campers spent their day on a tube or in a kayak, some, like Kimberly, had a lawn chair and just read a book in the shade, others were splashing around with their children since the lake stays fairly shallow for quite a ways out. The fishing is hit and miss from the shore because there is a lot of activity near the shores during the day. The only fish Spencer caught were late at night when nobody was around, he did get up at the break of dawn as well but didn’t have any luck. That said, people weren’t climbing over each other for space, waves weren’t crashing against the shore from motorboats, fishermen weren’t casting over your head to fish in a spot they want to try like you see at a lot of other lakes, everyone seemed to remain pretty respectful of each other but that could because of the social distancing too.
The campground itself is also nestled in the middle of an area mostly owned by the state aside from a few dozen private lake houses. Once you leave the campground you find yourself on a very secluded back road with several hiking trails and pull offs. Its great if you enjoy riding your bike and just want to spend the day in the wilderness although the trails themselves seem to be used quite heavily. The one trail we chose was only about a mile, give or take, long but it was a workout for sure. This trail gradually became steeper, to the point where you had to use your hands to climb towards the end. It was a lot of work but the rewards were completely worth it. After a bit we came to echo cliff where you can see just about the entire lake….. our voices, however, did not echo so that was a bit of a letdown but the view was truly spectacular. The day that we hiked was roughly 90 degrees, and humid, so after a long rest we made our decent, took our bikes back to the campsite, and jumped in the cool lake so it was a perfect end to our journey.
Getting back to the campground, the bathrooms are older but they are kept up, unlike a lot of campgrounds we have been to, but were very small. How small do you ask? Well take 3 porta potties and make an “L” shape and that is the bathroom. The men’s room, for example, consisted of a single stall with sink and urinal just on the other side facing away from each other. You are literally almost touching the person behind you while washing your hands, and the person at the urinal cannot get out until the person at the sink is done. That makes the social distancing a bit tough and the environment maybe a tad uncomfortable otherwise. There are a few of these bathrooms on the grounds and we took at picture of the one that was slightly bigger, but that last window is a maintenance closet. The point is definitely bring a mask because you will surely not be six feet apart.
The showers are in a separate building across the main road to the campground. These showers are newer, up to date, and the building is very clean. As you can see there are plenty of showers stalls to go around along the front, and back, of the building. As an added bonus they are free, and the water gets nice and hot so that is definitely a plus for Kimberly in particular.
A little further down the roadside is the dumpster/recycling area and a dumping station if you need it. This area is located directly across the road from the entrance to the campground. The dumpsters were overflowing when we went, and there are bear signs up, like anywhere else, so just keep an eye out for those fuzzy critters.
Aside from you and the bear surprising each other we feel it’s necessary to point out that if there is a bear getting a snack, just leave him be. Walk away, bring your garbage back another time, don’t try to scare it away, or throw your garbage at it, just let it be and you’ll be fine… We only say this because it’s a little known fact that bears have mad street fighting skillz…. and that’s Skillz with a ‘Z’.
Moving on, the ranger station was very limited, it seemed they had ice and firewood but we don’t think they were selling any at the time due to the recent pandemic. The entrance to the main building was kind of blocked off and the rangers, themselves, seemed limited to the guard booth. That said they remained very busy with maintenance runs so we didn’t have too much time to chat.
Just past the entrance, to the campground, is a boat launch to the lake which is a nice feature. We had a pleasant chat with the aquatic hitchhiker lady sitting patiently in her chair at the entrance to the ramp. The campground allows you to launch your boat, anchor it off shore next to your site, and keep the trailer next to the ranger station, so it’s a pretty nice setup. Next to the boat ramp the campground has its own little sandy beach but you aren’t allowed to swim at it without a lifeguard, who was not there for the season.
There are no rules stating that you can’t swim from your site, though, and campers took full advantage of it during the hot summer day. The campsites themselves are medium size but there is not much privacy between sites. We were lucky enough to have a row of trees on the left side, and we placed our tent, like a barrier, to the right, since it was just a big open spot, but that still didn’t stop the neighboring kids from coming over to see how we do things. Like we’ve said before, we love kids, we love chatting with kids, and showing them the ropes, but when they are there practically every time you turn around, every time you cook something, go fishing, read a book, take something out of your vehicle, ride your bike, change your cloths, it can get a bit frustrating. It’s like you’ve been hired to be a babysitter without pay so the parents can enjoy their vacation, and we blame the parents for that, never the children. That friends, is a PSA for another time so lets get back to the nitty-gritty of our post.
As with many of the other campgrounds, we have gone to, the rules here seem to be loosely enforced. The rangers do travel back and forth a lot more frequently but we think its just so they can get out of the guard shed. Whatever the reason, quiet time seems to be a little more respected here, since their presence is made known, so it works out. There are plenty of water faucets here, but again, bring a pan, a bucket, something. If you don’t know why please be sure to read our PSA regarding community faucets located here. We, as campers, form a little community temporarily so its always important to be respectful of each other, their privacy, and to the facilities that we share so we can all enjoy ourselves.
So, with that lets examine the sites starting with sites 1-3 at the beginning of the campground. There are a a lot of sites in this campground so instead of boring you to death we will try to group them up, and pick a few good ones, to give you a general idea of what you are dealing with.
Before we begin we would like to point out that the above map is not accurate with its site descriptions. Everything seems to be listed as gravel and the pictures are little more than a 1″ by 1″ thumbnail so it’s hard to see anything. We will do our best to shed some light on what to really expect here.
Sites 1-3 are just kind of bunched together in a patch of trees, along with site 1A, just to the left of the boat launch. These sites rest just on the backside of the beach and we assume this could get pretty noisy when the lifeguard is on duty, from the boats constantly launching, and from the Ranger station traffic all in the same area. The sites themselves are all dirt, no grass, all shade, but relatively flat. They are also a stones throw away from all of the amenities so there are some ups and downs to being here. We do recommend a popup, or an air mattress at least, as the ground is riddled with roots. This is going to be the same scenario for sites 4-8 as well but we feel that site 5 would definitely be the best out of the group. Site 5 is flat, a small step to the lake, it’s within a short distance to all of the amenities, privacy will be low, as with the rest of these, and noise pollution has the possibility to be quite high.
Site 16, which is not on the map, is a nice flat grass covered site that gets a medium amount of sun during midday. The fire pit was barely standing and it’s across the driveway from the lake. The site is also located just beyond a thicket of trees separating it from the main road but you can barely see it. The upside is that you have a direct path to the showers, you don’t have to use the campground entrance when hiking, or biking, so there are advantages. You are also relatively close to the bathrooms but your not on top of them and there are some trees separating the bathroom from the site. Like we said earlier the bathrooms are small and kept clean so its not as big of an issue as it normally would be. All together you are a short distance away from the bathrooms, you are a short distance to lake access, and a short distance to the showers so we feel that this is a pretty good spot overall.
Site 22, and this is one of those sites, on the map, that is listed as gravel with a picture of bare dirt but that could not be farther from the truth. As you can see, from the picture, site 22 is very grassy and is wrapped in trees. You can see your neighbor but the site is far enough away so you have your own little space and even though this site is on the “wrong” side of the driveway, we feel it’s still a pretty good site to have for a tent. This site is going to be a lot like 16, grassy, short distance to the bathrooms, the main road, and showers, are just on the other side of the tree line, and it has a moderate amount of midday sun.
Site 17 is another decent size site, it’s flat, has a little grass, you don’t have to worry about water runoff, but its got that steep bank leading to the water. This steep bank is pretty much going to be the theme for the rest of the sites on the lake side of the driveway. Like site 17 you will start off with flat areas to camp on followed by a steep bank and the sites will gradually transition into a steep bank, followed by a leveled off area, followed by another steep bank to the lake the further you go. Its also worth mentioning that the farther down the driveway you go, the higher the banks are from the water.
Site 23A isn’t too bad either but its going to follow the same pattern. It’s flat, it’s a decent size, it’s on the lakeside, and the fire pit is there but little more than a pile of rocks at this point. There is no grass on this site but it’s well shaded and there aren’t too many roots to worry about. The sites major downfall, however, is that instead of two short drop offs leading to your site, and to the lake, you have a flat access to your site and one large drop-off to the lake so bring your hiking shoes.
Site 37 is most definitely the honeypot for RV’s, or popups, because of the way it’s setup. Here you have a wood retaining wall with a very flat gravel pull in for your RV. The site is on the lakeside but you have a set of wooden stairs leading to the bank for the lake, at least partway. The map has site 35 listed as handicap accessible but we think they are mistaken that for site 37. When we take pictures we try to include the site number in the picture so we don’t forget, and we think this has to be the site they are referring to. The retaining wall also helps keep your neighbors separate, and really, you just kind of feel like king of the castle when camping here.
Once you start getting past this point things start really going downhill, figuratively, and literally. Sites 53, 55 and 57 are going to be your basic setup for the rest of the campground, on the water side.
You have little grass, they are covered in roots, the grass you do have is not cut, lots of water runoff when it rains, and a bank, followed by a slight incline, followed by another bank to the water. We were on site 53, which we are able to handle with little difficulty. As we said it was a workout setting, and packing, up and the sites seemed to be open spaces in groups of three or four. Luckily we had some thick brush on the left side helping to block that group of campers, and we placed our tent as close as we could on the right side to block those campers. The only downfall to doing that is it sounds like the neighbors are sleeping in your tent with you as you try not roll downhill.
Site 59 is an oddity and we would recommend staying away from this one. The campers there had an RV but even then they didn’t look thrilled to be there since it is a hill, on the side of the driveway with no lake, and the other side of the hill overlooks the roof/windows to the ladies room which you can just about see beyond the tree to the left of the picture. You can’t see anything but it’s silly to think, in this day and age, that someone wouldn’t ever try so look out ladies.
Site 59, as we said, is the oddity since site 54 is pretty much what you can expect to find on this side of the driveway for the second half of the campground. Small grass covered pull offs that you can tell get muddy in the spring as indicated by the sunken tire tracks in the dirt. We came mid summer so everything was fairly dry, but there is no telling how long these stay soggy and it might be something to watch out for if you are tent camping.
That friends is about it, we took all the pictures we could without infringing on other campers privacy but we hope that you now have some sort of idea of what to expect here. In all this campground is a fairly below average NY state campground. There were a few exciting features in the surrounding area but nothing really exciting about the campground itself other than the lake. That feature is all but “washed away”, see what we did there?, when you see how run down the place is. To be fair, it just really needs a little TLC which can’t happen if the state insists on expanding opposed to repairing.
As always we listed our preferred sites below, unfortunately there is no “honeypot” for this campground when it comes to tent sites since they are all pretty much the same. We did have one for you RVers out there, which is pretty exciting, so without further adieu here they are. Please let us know, in the comments below, if you have visited any of these sites, and if they have changed, since our review. Your help would really go a long way to helping everyone truly find the best sites possible.
|– Site 5|
– Site 17
– Site 23
– Site 37 (RV Honeypot)
– Site 57
|– Site 16|
– Site 22
In conclusion Spencer gives this a temporary thumbs down, he likes the idea of the boat launch, he loves the lake but the huge amounts of water runoff is highly concerning for him. That along with the condition of the grounds and sleeping on a slope under a giant dead tree didn’t sit well with him either. He might consider giving it a thumbs up once the place is fixed up a bit with some kind of water maintenance, and the removal of the giant deadly trees but for right now its a no. Kimberly loved it, even with the facilities, and sleeping arrangements, she loved the lake, the bike riding, and hiking so much she is willing to overlook all of Spencer’s concerns so she would go back. Until next time friends, and as always, dance to the beat of your own drum, and happy camping.
-Kimberly and Spencer