Does Lake Champlain harbor a monster?

The people of Port Henry sure think so. They celebrate his existence the first Saturday in August with their annual Champ Day celebration.

Our resident lake monster, affectionately known as Champ or Champy, has been sighted for as long as people have been in this part of the Adirondacks. Old stories of the Native American tribes that lived near Lake Champlain confirm that they believed a horned serpent lived in the lake. A possible theory regarding these beliefs centers around Split Rock in Essex, New York, which features natural rock structures that resemble petrified snakes.

A handcrafted statue of Champ, the Lake Champlain Lake Monster.

Modern sightings of this elusive creature started in Bulwagga Bay, Port Henry, in 1819. The bay is still an excellent place to launch a Champ search. If you are fortunate, you can place your name on the Big Board of Champ Sightings. The lake's namesake, Samuel de Champlain, is the first name on the list with his supposed 1609 sighting, but experts dispute this one. The year 1873 was quite a year for Champ, with several sightings made by a railroad crew, steamship passengers and a small boy fishing. 

All of this publicity predated that of the Loch Ness monster, or Nessie, whose first modern sighting is considered to be July 22, 1933. A more recent picture of Champ was taken in November of 2000, and of course there is the famous Mansi photograph, which has been published around the world!

A color photograph of a lake with an alleged lake monster swimming.

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.


Champ’s Frequently Asked Questions

Where was Champ born?

Champ was born in the dark, cool depths of Lake Champlain, a long, long time ago. Deep in the lake, where all is quiet, Champ's mom taught him to swim, fish, and make friends with other lake creatures. He's still pretty shy, but he's really sweet and a friend to many ducks, fish, and turtles. He is afraid of anything that pinches, like crayfish.

Where can I see Champ?

Because he's shy, it's impossible to ever know where he'll be. Some days he might be swimming right under the Crown Point Bridge, or others he might be hanging out deep in the middle of the lake. But that's part of the fun: you never know when you might see him or where, so always keep your eyes on the lake, whether you're enjoying a boat ride, pierside fishing, or lakeside dining.

Can Champ recommend places to eat?

When it comes to dining, Champ highly recommends the wide array of locally-owned restaurants in the area, but he's especially fond of places near the water. Champ suggests you try:

But what about a place to stay? Can Champ help with that too?

    While Champ rests his head on pillows of vegetation in the depths of the lake, he knows you'd be more comfortable with a bed and a fluffy, not-living pillow. He thinks that adventurers might enjoy:


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