Published on: July 7, 2021

Lake Placid offers two very different lakes

LAKE PLACID – In Lake Placid, we are blessed with the presence and the use of two adjacent lakes in Upstate New York – Mirror Lake from which the Inn takes its name, and Lake Placid lake where the village derives its name. The two bodies of water are only separated by a two-lane drive and a five-minute walk from the Mirror Lake Inn, but could not be more disparate.

It begins with size – Mirror Lake is much smaller. Walking its’ perimeter is only 2.75 miles, while there is no walking around Lake Placid. In addition, the rules and regulations that govern these lakes are also diverse.

Mirror Lake

This is where you’ll find the Mirror Lake Inn’s private beach. On Mirror Lake, no motorized vessels are allowed. Here you won’t find wave runners or sea-dos. It’s very calm, and well, placid, if you will. The fastest craft you might see is a canoeist training for the Olympic Games. Otherwise, it’s kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders, a swimmer here and there, a few fishermen. On the opposite end of Mirror Lake Inn is the town and village beach.

Boaters on Mirror Lake
You won’t find any motorized vessels on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid

Main Street is known for its’ unique shops and a plethora of eateries and drinkeries that are positioned parallel to Mirror Lake. Many of them have outdoor service in the rear of their buildings overlooking Mirror Lake which makes for a spectacular experience once the sun sets. Word of caution here – bring a jacket or sweatshirt, just in case, as temps cool down at night.

Lake Placid lake

We start with marinas and boat slips as the summer crowd can’t wait to bring their craft into the lake after a long winter. Unlike Mirror Lake, this lake has no road access other than a boat launch. It’s boats or bust. Water skiing, boat tours, party junkets, the works. This writer vaguely remembers a bachelor party on Lake Placid lake – This link opens in a new window. where the number of people who returned to shore was actually the same as the number that shoved off.

A one-hour tour of the lake leaves port three times daily. It takes passengers to the foot of Whiteface Landing, then turns to the western side. You’ll get an up-close look at Buck, Moose and Hawk islands. The tour comes with narration thus making it not only enjoyable but quite informative.

You’ll hear some stories of legend that have come from Lake Placid – This link opens in a new window., including famous crooner Kate Smith, who had a summer camp on the lake, was an avid supporter of Lake Placid youth programs and St. Agnes Church, and originated many of her live radio shows from this residence. The drummer Max Weinberg, who set the beat for Bruce Springsteen and was Conan O’Brien’s bandleader for many years, has summered on this lake for many years. His 1.84-acre parcel, five years ago, set an Adirondack price record of $2 million. However, we expect that to be shattered in the foreseeable future with a pending sale.

No account of this lake would be complete without mention of the novel A Lady in the Lake, written by Lake Placid native George Christian Ortloff. According to – This link opens in a new window., this is a true story of the mystery of the perfectly preserved body of a lady discovered in the cold waters of Lake Placid. You’ll hear about this, too, on the boat tour.

Quite often we are asked about the differences between our two lakes. Now you know. They are not subtle – like the similarities between classical music and heavy metal. But each is appealing in its own way. It’s a question of preference and your choice of activities. Take one or the other, but once you make the effort to visit us here in the Adirondacks, we recommend you experience them both.

(Cover photo of Lake Placid lake courtesy of