Geography of Lewis County, New York

Lewis County, located in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of New York, is a region known for its picturesque landscapes, rural charm, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Encompassing an area of approximately 1,289 square miles, Lewis County is situated in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and is characterized by its mix of forested hills, fertile valleys, and pristine lakes and rivers. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of Lewis County. Check homethodology to learn more about the state of New York.


Lewis County is bordered by Jefferson County to the north, Herkimer County to the east, Oswego County to the west, and Oneida County to the south. The county’s geography is primarily characterized by its rugged terrain, with elevations ranging from around 300 feet in the valleys to over 3,000 feet in the Adirondack Mountains. The county seat and largest town is Lowville, located in the central part of the county.


The climate of Lewis County is classified as humid continental, with four distinct seasons characterized by cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. The region experiences moderate precipitation throughout the year, with snowfall in the winter months and occasional thunderstorms in the summer. Summers are typically warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 70s°F to 80s°F range, while winters are cold, with average low temperatures in the teens°F to 20s°F range.


Lewis County is home to a portion of the Adirondack Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in North America. These mountains provide stunning scenery, recreational opportunities, and habitat for a variety of wildlife. Some of the notable mountains in Lewis County include:

  1. Tug Hill Plateau: The Tug Hill Plateau is a large, elevated region in the western part of Lewis County, known for its heavy snowfall and outdoor recreational opportunities. The plateau is popular for snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoeing in the winter months, as well as hiking and birdwatching in the summer.
  2. Black River Valley: The Black River Valley runs through the center of Lewis County and is flanked by forested hills and farmland. The valley is home to the Black River, which provides opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and scenic drives along its banks.


Lewis County is intersected by several rivers and streams that flow through its landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. These rivers and streams also play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing water for agriculture, industry, and municipal use. Some of the notable rivers in Lewis County include:

  1. Black River: The Black River is the largest river in Lewis County and flows from its headwaters in the Adirondack Mountains to its confluence with Lake Ontario. The river is popular for fishing, particularly for trout and salmon, as well as kayaking, rafting, and tubing.
  2. Beaver River: The Beaver River flows through the western part of Lewis County and is known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. The river is popular for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as camping along its banks.


Lewis County is home to several lakes and reservoirs that offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. These lakes vary in size and depth and provide habitat for fish and other wildlife. Some of the notable lakes in Lewis County include:

  1. Cranberry Lake: Cranberry Lake is located in the northeastern part of Lewis County and is one of the largest lakes in the Adirondack Park. The lake is popular for fishing, boating, swimming, and camping, as well as hiking along its scenic shores.
  2. Stillwater Reservoir: Stillwater Reservoir is located in the southwestern part of Lewis County and is known for its remote wilderness setting and pristine waters. The reservoir is popular for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as camping at designated campsites along its shores.

Parks and Recreation Areas:

Lewis County is home to several parks, wilderness areas, and recreational facilities that showcase the region’s natural beauty and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. These areas offer hiking trails, camping facilities, picnic areas, and other amenities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the notable parks and recreation areas in Lewis County include:

  1. Adirondack Park: Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States and encompasses over 6 million acres of protected land in northern New York. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
  2. Whetstone Gulf State Park: Whetstone Gulf State Park is located in the southeastern part of Lewis County and features a scenic gorge, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The park offers camping facilities, picnic areas, and swimming areas for visitors to enjoy.


In conclusion, Lewis County, New York, is a region of diverse geography, stunning natural beauty, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. From its rugged mountains and scenic rivers to its pristine lakes and lush forests, the county offers a variety of landscapes and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re hiking in the Adirondack Park, fishing on Cranberry Lake, or camping at Whetstone Gulf State Park, Lewis County has something for everyone to experience and appreciate in the great outdoors.