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Hurricane Mountain Wilderness

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Hurricane Mountain Wilderness locator map

The 13,784-acre Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The majority of the area is comprised of mountainous uplands visible from the nearby towns. Hurricane Mountain, the unit's namesake, is the most prominent feature of the area. The bare rock 3,678-foot summit provides a 360-degree view that takes in the High Peaks, Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont. A 35-foot fire tower is located on the summit.

Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region provides general information regarding backcountry and seasonal conditions; specific notices regarding closures and conditions of trails, roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and links to weather, state land use regulations, low impact recreation and more.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

The Hurricane Mountain Wilderness contains 14 miles of hiking trails including three routes that provide access to the summit of Hurricane Mountain.

Hurricane Mountain (3,694 feet)

  • East Hurricane Mountain Trail - Hike begins at the end of Hurricane Mountain Lane. The trail ascends 1,700 feet over 2.7 miles from the Hurricane Mountain Lane Trailhead. It becomes quite steep at the end of the former observer station road, after 1.2 miles.
  • Hurricane Mountain Trail from 9N - The trail ascends approximately 2,000 feet over 3.4 miles from the Route 9N Trailhead to the summit. This route is characterized as having a number of steep, rough sections interspersed with more moderate gradients. The first mile has been rerouted and contains a number of new footbridges.
  • North Trail - Hurricane Mountain can be approached from the North from the Crow's Clearing Trailhead at the end of O'Toole Road. The trail ascends 1,600 feet along the 3-mile trail to the summit. Although this approach is longer than the other two routes, the grades are considered moderate throughout. The Gulf Brook lean-to is located approximately 1.2 miles in on the Weston Mountain/Lost Pond Trail a short distance pass where it joins the North Trail.

Lost Pond and Weston Mountain (3,115 feet) - Hikers follow the North Trail towards Hurricane Mountain to the junction for the Lost Pond/Weston Mountain Trail which is on the left approximately 1.1 miles from the Crow's Clearing Trailhead. The trail extends 2.1 miles from the trailhead and ascends 630 feet before reaching Lost Pond and the Biesemeyer Memorial lean-to. The summit of Weston Mountain is another 0.3 mile and 275 feet climb beyond Lost Pond.

Little Crow Mountain (2,535 feet) - The trail ascends 845 feet and 0.9 mile from the Hurricane Road Trailhead to the summit of Little Crow Mountain (2,535 ft.). The trail contains moderate climbs with a few steep sections with a number of scenic views from ledges along the way.

Big Crow Mountain (2,815 feet) - Climb another 280 feet and another 0.6 mile to reach the summit of Big Crow Mountain. Many scenic views of the surrounding peaks can be found along the way and on the summit. Big Crow Mountain can be reached from the Crow's Clearing Trailhead hiking a 0.6-mile trail that ascends approximately 300 feet - most of the ascent is in the last half of the trail. Using the trail, Hurricane Road and O'Toole Road provides a 3.5-mile loop trail from either of the trailheads.

Soda Range - The Nun-da-ga-o Ridge Trail extends 3.0 miles across the Soda Range connecting Big Crow Mountain and Weston Mountain. A 6.0-mile loop begins at the Crow's Clearing Trailhead and ascends a total of 1,600 feet. Hikers can travel on the loop in a clockwise direction by first ascending Big Crow Mountain and turning right onto the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge Trail to Weston Mountain, or in a counterclockwise direction by first ascending to Weston Mountain. A number of ledges along the ridge provide stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Fire Tower

fire tower

General information on fire towers includes historic and current uses of fire towers and links to other locations with fire towers
The 35-foot tall Aeromotor LS-40 fire tower on the summit of Hurricane Mountain was built in 1919. The fire tower was staffed by an observer to watch for and report fires in the surrounding forests until 1979.

The tower is visible from the nearby hamlets of Keene and Elizabethtown and has become popular among locals and visitors alike who regard it as a welcome part of the landscape. It has not been open to the public or maintained for the past 30 years. DEC and the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Friends group are restoring the tower so it can be opened to the public.

Camping

camping
lean-to

General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

All designated primitive tents sites, campsites and lean-tos are available on a first come - first served basis and cannot be reserved. Designated campsites are marked with a yellow "Camp Here" disc. Designated tent sites are for tents only. Tents or small campers can use designated campsites. There are no hook-ups for water or electricity at campsites.

Campers who desire more amenities may camp at the nearby Lincoln Pond Campground or Sharp Bridge Campground and take day trips into the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness.

There are four primitive campsites and two lean-tos available for public use.

The Gulf Brook lean-to is located 1.2 miles from the Crow's Clearing Trailhead; three primitive tent sites are located nearby.

The Biesemeyer lean-to is located between Lost Pond and Weston Mountain and one primitive tent site is located nearby.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General information on hunting and general information on trapping include how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Hunters and trappers may use the parking areas, roads, seasonal access roads, trailheads, and trails used by hikers to access the lands in this area. Hunters can park on the shoulders of seasonal access roads provided vehicles are out of the travel lane.

The Hurricane Mountain Wilderness provides large tracts of land with no trails for big and small game hunting and trapping. The lower elevations in the east of Hurricane Mountain offer great wilderness hunting and trapping opportunities. The lands can be accessed from the Hurricane Road Trailhead. Lands on the northern side of the wilderness can accessed from the Jay Mountain Road. This seasonal access road serves as the boundary between Jay Mountain and Hurricane Mountain Wildernesses.

Big game hunters may obtain a permit from the local DEC Forest Ranger to camp on the forest preserve lands in this area for the length of the Northern Big Game Season.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing
showshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails. The portion of the Jay Mountain Road/Wells Hill Road that borders the Jay Mountain and Hurricane Mountain Wildernesses is not plowed in the winter. Skiers and snowshoers should be aware this is a designated snowmobile trail and be alert for snowmobiles. Move to the side of the trail to allow snowmobiles to pass.

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

All waters within the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness are open to fishing. Anglers may use the same trailheads and trails as hikers and the same campsites as campers to access and fish these waters.

Although limited, there are a few opportunities for those wishing to fish. Visitors may find fish in nearby waters such as Jackson Brook, Gulf Brook, Spruce Mill Brook, and Spruce Hill Brook.

The lower reaches of Spruce Mill Brook are stocked with brook trout & brown trout.

DEC owns public fishing rights on the lower reaches of Spruce Mill Brook (PDF)(447 KB).

Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish; populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.

Rock & Ice Climbing

rock and ice climbing

General information on rock and ice climbing includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations

Rock climbing is popular in the vicinity of Hurricane Crag-a large cliff on the southern shoulder of Pitchoff Mountain. Several climbing routes have been determined on the main wall as well as on a smaller practice wall known as Spruce Hill Crag located in the woods below the main cliff. Users generally park on the shoulder of Route 9N to access these walls via herd paths.

All climbers should check guidebooks or other sources of information about climbing these cliffs. Inexperienced climbers should consider hiring a climbing guide.

Due to peregrine falcon nesting activity some climbing routes are closed during the nesting season. Learn more about peregrine falcons and Adirondack rock climbing.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many birds (Common Loon, Peregrine Falcon) and mammals (Moose, Black Bear) are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. Over 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another.

Beaver activity and possibly the beavers themselves may be seen along the lower portion of the trail from 9N to the summit of Hurricane Mountain.

A drive down Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road or the Seventy Road also provides a great opportunity to view wildlife in this unit. If you see a bird or animal, observe them from inside your vehicle - cars make great wildlife blinds.

Accessible Features

accessible features

General information on accessible recreation includes links other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

The boundary road between the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area and the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area, known as Well's Hill Road in the town of Lewis and Jay Mountain Road in the town of Jay provide an opportunity to observe the region from vehicles on the road. High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. The road is not maintained in winter.

Directions

There are three trailheads with parking areas, one trailhead with roadside parking and numerous other locations with roadside parking that provide access the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

  • Route 9N Trailhead Parking Area is approximately 6.5 miles west of Elizabethtown. (N 44.2116°, W 73.7224°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Crow's Clearing Trailhead Parking Area is located off of O'Toole Road in Keene. (N 44.2609°, W 73.7330°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Hurricane Road Trailhead Parking Area is located along Hurricane Road in Keene. (N 44.2582°, W 73.7529°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Hurricane Mountain Lane Trailhead Parking Area is located at the end of Hurricane Mountain Lane in Elizabethtown. (N 44.2334°, W 73.6727°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road Western End is in the Town of Jay. (N 44.2838°, W 73.6856°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road Eastern End is in the Town of Lewis. (N 44.2829°, W 73.6430°) Google Map (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (Leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts other backcountry users.

All users of Hurricane Mountain Wilderness must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follows all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

How We Manage the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Elizabethtown, Keene and Jay.

Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Elizabethtown, Keene, Jay and Lewis.

Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Elizabethtown, Keene, Jay and Lewis.

Lodging may be found in Elizabethtown, Keene and Jay.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Essex County/Lake Placid Tourism (leaves DEC website) can both provide information about recreating in this area and other amenities.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (Leaves DEC Website) for information on outdoor guides.