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Jay Mountain Wilderness

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Jay Mountain Wilderness locator map

The 7,951-acre Jay Mountain Wilderness is the smallest wilderness within the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Despite its relatively small size, the area provides a true Adirondack experience with treeless mountain summits, large expanses of remote areas without trails and many recreational opportunities for visitors. Recreationally, this region is geared toward hikers and those wishing to hunt and trap. The area lacks developed campsites and has only one designated trail, so many of its users tend to be those preferring to bush-whack or camp in the rough.

Backcountry Information for the Northeastern 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.

Featured Activities

Hiking

Hiking

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

There is only one designated trail in the Jay Mountain Wilderness, but it is well known for its views it provides.

Jay Mountain (3,600 feet) The only designated trail in the wilderness is a recently rerouted 2.5-mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge. The trail is accessed from a parking area along the Jay Mountain Road near the intersection with the Upland Meadows Road. The new Jay Mountain Trailhead is located on Forest Preserve lands 300 feet downhill from the site where the old herd path left the road. At the end of the new trail, a short spur trail to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree scenic view. Hikers can also continue along the ridge line, following rock cairns, for approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Jay Mountain.

Hunting & Trapping

HuntingTrapping

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 large amount of trailless lands in this area makes for a great wilderness hunting experience. Access to the interior of the unit can be gained via two roads that contribute to the boundaries of the region - Jay Mountain Road-Wells Hill Road and Seventy Road. These are both seasonal roads that are maintained through the big game hunting season but not through the winter. 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.

WMU: 5F

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

Cross Country SkiingSnowshoeing

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 Jay Mountain Wilderness are open to fishing. Anglers may use the same trailheads and trails as hikers to access and fish these waters.

There are a number of headwaters that lie within the wilderness that support trout and other cold water fish. These include Derby Brook, Rocky Branch, Styles Brook and Spruce Mill Brook. Trout can be found in the lower reaches of these waters which are outside of the wilderness. 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).

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.

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. 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.

A drive down Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road or 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

access for people with disabilities

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

The Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road is a little used seasonal road that forms the boundary between the Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness. From their vehicles, travelers can observe heavily forested areas, beaver meadows and some mountains. High clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended and the road is not maintained in the winter. Seventy Road, in the town of Lewis, forms the boundary between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Taylor Pond Wild Forest. The road is not maintained in the winter.

Directions

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

There is one trailhead parking area, one road end parking area, two road access sites and numerous areas to pull off along the Jay Mountain/Wells Hill Road.

  • Jay Mountain Trailhead is located on the Jay Mountain Road in the Town of Jay at the intersection with the Upper Meadow/Glen Road. (N 44.3181°, W 73.7210°) 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°) Goggle Map (leaves DEC website)
  • Seventy Road Parking Area is located at the end of the Seventy Road in Town of Lewis. (N 44.3140°, W 73.6142°) 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 with other backcountry users.

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

How We Manage the Jay Mountain Wilderness

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Jay 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 and Facilities

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

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

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

Lodging may be found in Jay, Keene, Elizabethtown, and Wilmington.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC Website) and Essex County/Lake Placid Tourism (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.