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Backcountry Information for the Northwestern Adirondack

Updated: March 23, 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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Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information web page for important notices and information which apply broadly across the Adirondacks, and links to important information about hiking, camping and paddling in 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).

Snow: The snow depths range from 4 to 20 inches as you move from west to east in this area . National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information Page (leaves DEC's website) provides additional information on snow conditions.

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered with snow. Secondary, less used trails may have blowdown (fallen or leaning trees, limbs and branches) and may require "breaking trail". Snowbridges and ice on most stream crossings have only recently formed and may not hold the weight of a person.

Snowshoes or Skis: Snowshoes or skis should be used on all trails covered in 8 inches or more of snow. The use of snowshoes prevents "post-holing" (deep footprints in the snow), avoids injuries, and eases travel on snow-covered trails. Post-holing makes trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use.

Snowmobiles: The St. Lawrence Snowmobile Trail System reopened after last week's storm. The trail system will remain open through the weekend and then close for the season on Monday, March 27. Contact the local club or tourist information center (leaves DEC website) for information on opened trails and local trail conditions before going out.

Ice on Water: Ice had thinned, weakened, and receded from inlets, outlets and shorelines before the recent cold spell. Ice on rivers, streams, and most channels of moving water only recently formed during the very cold temperatures and is very thin even though it is covered with snow. Ice that can hold snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person. No ice should be considered safe without checking the thickness and condition first. Be safe on the ice.

Winter Conditions: Be prepared for snow, ice, cold temperatures and short days.

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.
  • 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)
  • Allen Pond Road on the Tooley Pond Tract Easement provides two miles of access road off of the Tooley Pond Road lead 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. (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 at this time.

Whitehill Wild Forest

  • The Raquette Boreal Complex web page provides information about the Whitehill Wild Forest and its recreational opportunities.
  • 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)