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Backcountry Information for the Northwestern Adirondack

Updated: November 16, 2017

Map of showing the Northwestern Region of the Adirondacks

General Notices

WARNING: Backcountry conditions can change suddenly. All users should plan accordingly, including bringing flashlight, first aid equipment, extra food and clothing. Weather conditions may alter your plans; you should always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods before entering the back country. Back country hiking trails can be rugged and rough-they are not maintained as park walkways-wear proper footwear!

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Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information for important general notices and information which apply across the Adirondacks.

Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC's website).

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC's website) when recreating in the Northwestern Adirondacks.

Cold Weather: Below freezing temperatures are forecast Thursday night through Saturday morning and overnight Saturday. Rain, snow, and mixtures of rain & snow are forecast through the weekend.

  • Avoid hypothermia, stay dry and warm.
  • Be prepared for wet and cold conditions with:
    • Rain gear
    • Layers of non-cotton clothing and carry extra.
    • Hat and gloves or mittens.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight; the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Trail Conditions: Trails will be a mixture of mud, water, snow, and ice.

  • Wet or icy leaves can be very slippery, use caution when walking on leaves - particularly on steep sections of trail.
  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices.
  • Due to recent high winds, expect to encounter blow down (fallen or hanging trees, limbs and branches) on trails.

Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.

Specific Notices

Grass River Complex (includes Grass River Tract, Long Pond Tract, Sevey's Tract and Tooley Pond Tract Easement Lands)

  • The Grass River Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC Region 6 Operations staff and the St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association worked together to replace the deficient Chap Hill Bridge on a snowmobile trail in the Grass River Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Colton with a stronger, portable bridge from the nearby Goldmine Tract Conservation Easement. (11/10).
  • Allen Pond Road on the Tooley Pond Tract Easement is open to public motor vehicle use. The two-mile seasonal access road off of Tooley Pond Road leads to a parking area and trail head. A 0.6 mile foot trail extends from a trailhead on the road to the shores of Allen Pond providing access for anglers and recreationists. (2017)
  • The new Pleasant Lake Hand Launch on the Grass River Tract Easement provides access to both Pleasant Lake and approximately 15 miles of Public Fishing Access along the Middle Branch of the Grass River and Pleasant Lake Stream. Pleasant Lake and its namesake stream provide the public with outstanding paddling and angling opportunities in a remote and historic setting. (2016)
  • There are five accessible campsites on the Long Pond Tract Easement. There are also allows 40 miles of road open to public motor vehicle use of which approximately 30 miles is open to public ATV use. (2016)
  • Sevey's Accessible Hand Launch on the Sevey's Tract Easement provides access to the Raquette River above Moody Falls and has an accessible parking area and boat drop off at the head of a short trail to the water. (2016)

Raquette Boreal Complex (includes Raquette River Wild Forest, Raquette Jordan Boreal Primitive Area and nearby easement lands)

  • The Raquette Boreal Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report.

Whitehill Wild Forest

  • The Raquette Boreal Complex web page provides information about the Whitehill Wild Forest and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC Region 6 Operations staff replaced the Morgan Road Bridge on a snowmobile trail in the nearby South Colton Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Colton with a portable bridge. The bridge had been damaged by an overweight vehicle. DEC plans to construct a permanent bridge in the future. (11/10)
  • A new bridge over Dead Creek is completed and Goldmine Road is once again open to public motor vehicle use. (10/19)
  • The snowmobile trail from Clear Pond to the Picketville Road crosses approximately 150 feet of wetland near the outlet of Rock Pond and may not be passable by hikers. (2016)