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 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 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. 

The famous Mansi Photograph

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.



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