Hoffman Notch Wilderness
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information
- DEC Region 5 Ray Brook Office: 518-897-1200 (M-F, 8:30 to 4:45); e-mail: Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
- DEC Emergency & Enforcement Dispatch: 518-897-1300 or 911 (24 hours a day) Report: Lost, Injured, and Stricken People/Forest Fires/State Land Fishing, Hunting, Trapping Violations
- Location: Towns of Schroon Minerva and North Hudson in Essex County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 5F
- Map: Hoffman Notch Wilderness Map (PDF 1.3 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 38,488-acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The area is named for the "notch" or valley between the Blue Ridge Range, which includes Hoffman Mountain, and the Washburn Ridge. The area features ponds and streams for fishing and 15 miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and skiing. It also offers visitors solitude, as one of the less visited areas in the Adirondacks.
Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks 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.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Hoffman Notch Wilderness offers 15 miles of marked trails.
Bridge on trail
- Hoffman Notch Trail extends 7.4 miles between the Hoffman Notch Trailhead North and the Hoffman Notch Trailhead South. The trail ascends 250 feet from the low point on the southern end of the trail to the high point of the trail before descending 570 feet over the last 3 miles of trail the northern trailhead. The northern 1.2 miles of the trail are located on private lands. Stay on the trail, do not trespass.
- Big Pond Trail extends 5.7 miles from the trailhead to the Hoffman Notch Trail approximately 1.2 miles north of the Hoffman Notch Trailhead South.
- Bailey Pond Trail extends 0.8 miles from the Hoffman Notch Trailhead South Parking Area to Bailey Pond. A nearly 2-mile unmarked herd path extends from Bailey Pond to Marion Pond.
- Mt. Severance Trail extends 1.2 miles and ascends 790 feet from the trailhead to the summit of the mountain. The summit provides a scenic view of Schroon Lake and Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. The trail travels under the Northway (I-87) before ascending the mountain.
General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations
The Hoffman Notch Wilderness offers plenty of wilderness fishing opportunities for both coldwater and warmwater gamefish in both streams and ponds. Good fish waters include North Branch Trout Brook, Hoffman Notch Brook, Big Pond, North Pond, Bailey Pond and Marion Pond.
Bailey and Marion Ponds are stocked annually in the fall with brook trout.
Big Pond is dominated by northern pike, but also contains brown bullhead.
North Pond contains northern pike, smallmouth bass and brown bullhead.
Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing provides information on fishing in the Adirondacks and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.
Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish; populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.
Large expanses of land without trails and the lowlands are conducive to hunting and trapping. Big game, small game, game bird, waterfowl and some turkey hunting opportunities are available. A wide range of furbearers are also found in the area.
Hunters may get permits from the local forest ranger to camp in the backcountry for extended periods of time during the big game season.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
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. Hoffman Notch Trail and Big Pond Trail provide cross-country skiing opportunities for a moderate to advanced level skiers.
Rock & Ice Climbing
General information on rock and ice climbing includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations
Northway Express Wall may be accessed from the Dirgylot Hill Access Parking Area using a path through a culvert under the Northway (I-87). The parking area and the path are on private lands. Respect the property. Stay in the parking area and on the path. Do not trespass.
All climbers should check guidebooks or other sources of information about climbing these cliffs. Inexperienced climbers should consider hiring a climbing guide.
Great Blue Heron Rookery
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. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another.
Hoffman Notch Wilderness has five parking areas to use for accessing the area. All of the parking areas are easily reached by using Exit 28 or Exit 29 of the Northway (I-87). All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
- Hoffman Notch Trailhead North Parking Area is on the south side of Blue Ridge Road which can be accessed using Exit 29 of the Northway (I-87). (43.95432° N, 73.83673° W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Dirgylot Hill Access Parking Area is located at the end of a short gravel driveway on the west side of Route 9 approximately 1.75 miles north of Exit 28. (43.89509° N, 73.75012° W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Mt. Severance Trailhead Parking Area is located on the west side of Route 9, 0.5 mile south of Exit 28, opposite Alder Meadow Road. (43.86271° N, 73.75482° W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Big Pond Trailhead Parking Area is on the north side of Hoffman Notch Road (43.84550° N, 73.80435° W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Hoffman Notch Trailhead South Parking Area is located at the end of Loch Muller Road. (43.86811° N, 73.8890° W) Google Maps (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.
How We Manage Hoffman Notch Wilderness
DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) (PDF 5.5 MB). 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 and Other Information
DEC Lands and Facilities
Falls on Hoffman Notch Brook
- Dix Mountain Wilderness
- High Peaks Wilderness
- Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
- Hammond Pond Wild Forest
- Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
- Camp Santanoni Historic Area
- Paradox Lake Campground
- Sharp Bridge Campground
- Lake Harris Campground
- Eagle Point Campground
- Scaroon Manor Campground
Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Schroon Lake Region (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area. 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.