Blueway Trail: Valcour and Crab Islands

This route explores one of Lake Champlain’s largest and most historic islands, along with its smaller neighbor (Crab Island). The trail follows the many bays and points along the island shorelines, and paddlers can explore the islands on foot as well. Valcour has a network of trails along with a number of primitive campsites.

For more information listen to our PassagePort: http://passageport.org/valcour/

Launch Sites: Peru NYS Boat Launch

Approximate Paddling Distance: 13.5 miles (21.7 kilometers)

Insider Tip from Paddlers Cathy Frank & Margaret Holden: "With its rich history and the site of a decisive battle, one could reflect that if the battles fought here had turned out differently, we might be Canadian citizens. Rocky ledges and flat rock areas filled with 460-million-year-old fossils alternate with beaches along the east shore of Valcour. There are lots of spots to stop and swim. The primitive campsites, scattered throughout the island, are on a first-come, first-serve basis."

Other Notes: This route is exposed to strong north, west, and south winds and waves. Crossing from Valcour Island to Crab Island can be challenging, especially in moderate-to-strong winds. Be cautious of poison ivy on both islands.

Layers
Peru NYS Boat Launch
1
Peru NYS Boat Launch
Recreation | Boat Launches and Fishing

This hard surface ramp boat launch is located on Route 9 in Peru, NY. This launch has parking to accommodate approximately 50 cars and trailers.

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Battle of Valcour Site
2
Battle of Valcour Site
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

This is the site of one of the first major naval battles of the Revolutionary War. The American forces,  led by Benedict Arnold, used Valcour Island as a cover from the British until they had the up-wind advantage. After six hours of battle, the British,…

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Valcour Island
3
Valcour Island
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Valcour Island consists of 1,100 forested acres that belong to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The island offers various foot trails and many great places for boaters to anchor. It is currently home to a great blue heron rockery…

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Bluff Point Lighthouse at Valcour Island
4
Bluff Point Lighthouse at Valcour Island
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Museums and Attractions

Placed in service in 1874, the Bluff Point Light was one of the last lighthouses to be manned on Lake Champlain. It guided ships through the narrow passageway between Valcour Island and the New York shore for almost 60 years. Its fifth-order…

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Raboff Camp (Valcour Island)
5
Raboff Camp (Valcour Island)
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Heading south from the lighthouse, you’ll find the remains of Dr. Otto Raboff’s Great Camp near campsite #25. Dr. Adolph Raboff, of Middleboro, MA, held the title to this property for almost 30 years before the State of New York acquired it.…

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The Gill Farm
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Little remains of this large farm except for a well and the foundations of a house and barns. Look for the remains of an old truck, which was probably used to deliver milk to Camp Penn. The boys at Camp Penn worked on the farm when the camp…

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Indian Point (Penn Point)
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Indian Point, also called Penn Point, was the general location of a longtime boys' summer camp from the Philadelphia area. It was reported to have 500 acres of wood and meadow, including its own dairy and farm. It is not known just when Camp Penn started,…

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Camp Penn and Shuttleworth Cottage
8
Camp Penn and Shuttleworth Cottage
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

As you explore the site of Camp Penn, an early 20th-century boys' camp, look for signs of the dining hall and milk cooler to the east (N44 37.020 W73 25.413) and the Camp Penn Commons Building to the south (N44 37.990 W73 25.415).

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Seton Stone House
9
Seton Stone House
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

This camp and the lighthouse are the only two remaining buildings on the island. Harvard paleontologist Henry Seton built this home in 1929 on his 129 acres of land. The empty building is closed to the public for safety reasons and to prevent vandalism.

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Nomad Monument
10
Nomad Monument
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

This small monument is a memorial to Canadian Lt. Col. Gerald W. Birks (1872‐1950) who often visited Valcour Island on his yacht, the Nomad, which was crewed by high school and college students. During World War One, Birks and some of…

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Smuggler Harbor
Transportation and Travel Routes | By Water

This spot is probably the only anchorage on the lake that is protected from every wind direction, and as a result, is often crowded on weekends.

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Brown Ledge Organization
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

A small girls' camp was located in the general vicinity of Tiger Point. Brown Ledge, established in 1926, is now located in Vermont and its campers continue to have overnight stays on Valcour Island.

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Hudson, Moore, and Yager Camps
13
Hudson, Moore, and Yager Camps
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Only the chimney and an old dock  remain of the camps that once stood here. The chimney was built around 1900 by local geologist Dr. George Hudson. Interested in photography, Hudson operated a dark room in one of the small caves facing Paradise Bay.…

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Spoon Bay
14
Spoon Bay
Transportation and Travel Routes | By Water

Known for having the clearest waters around Valcour Island, as well as a sandy beach. This bay has no protection from the north.

Keep an eye out for fossils hidden in the rock ledges.

 

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Hitchcock Camp
15
Hitchcock Camp
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

This is the general location of the Hitchcock/Trombley Camp located near the campsites at Beauty Bay.

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Charles Kilbourne Camp
16
Charles Kilbourne Camp
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Charles Kilbourne was a physical education teacher at Plattsburgh High School and an activities director at the YMCA in the 1920s. In 1959, Harney Davey, son of Rita Davey, acquired the camp and dock on the North Point. He spent the next few…

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Harney Camp
17
Harney Camp
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

This is the approximate location of the camp of Thomas Harney and his sister Rita Davey, which burned in August 1956. Little remains, although parts of a stove, bed springs, and other metallic objects indicate there was once a structure here.…

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Harney Farmhouse
18
Harney Farmhouse
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

The Harney family owned about 600 acres on the north end of the island. Sometimes referred to as the Pioneer Farm, the farm still holds the remains of old farm implements, including a hay baler and a loader. Look for the foundations of the house…

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Dawn Community House
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Located on the former Harney property was the controversial Dawn Valcour Agricultural and Horticultural Association. Colonel John Wilcox, the founder of the utopian experiment, attempted to create a commune here based on the concepts of…

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Washbourne Camps
20
Washbourne Camps
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

The Washbournes bought a small amount of property from the Harney family. Robert, Lynn, and their father, John Washbourne, all had camps on this scenic point.

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Grant Camps
21
Grant Camps
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Look for the footers that once supported the camps owned by Ken Grant and his son, John.

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Crab Island
22
Crab Island
Heritage Areas and Sites | Historic Districts and Sites

Crab Island is located off the western shore of Lake Champlain near Cliff Haven in Plattsburgh. This roughly 40-acre island is only accessible by boat. It was once a significant site in the Battle of Plattsburgh and became the final resting place…

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Crab Island Monument
23
Crab Island Monument
Cultural Attractions | Monuments, Statues and Public Art

This granite obelisk is dedicated to the fallen defenders of Lake Champlain.

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the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Gretel Schueller

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Peru NYS Boat Launch
2 Battle of Valcour Site
3 Valcour Island
4 Bluff Point Lighthouse at Valcour Island
5 Raboff Camp (Valcour Island)
6 The Gill Farm
7 Indian Point (Penn Point)
8 Camp Penn and Shuttleworth Cottage
9 Seton Stone House
10 Nomad Monument
11 Smuggler Harbor
12 Brown Ledge Organization
13 Hudson, Moore, and Yager Camps
14 Spoon Bay
15 Hitchcock Camp
16 Charles Kilbourne Camp
17 Harney Camp
18 Harney Farmhouse
19 Dawn Community House
20 Washbourne Camps
21 Grant Camps
22 Crab Island
23 Crab Island Monument