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Backcountry Information for the Western Adirondacks

Map of showing the Western Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: March 22, 2019

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast (leaves DEC website) and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data and forecasts.
WINTER STORM WARNING: The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings for all the Adirondacks except for the Champlain Valley through noon Saturday.
  • A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
  • Significant amount of heavy, wet snow is possible.
  • Total snow accumulations of range from 6 to 16 inches throughout the watch areas with locally higher amounts possible.
  • Strong winds are associated with the storm could gust up to 35 mph on Friday night
  • High winds may lead to scattered tree damage and isolated power outages.
  • Travel could be very difficult to hazardous and may impact the morning and evening commutes on Friday.
  • Check the National Weather Service (leaves DEC website) for the current conditions, forecasts, and the specific Winter Storm Watch information for the location where you live, plan to travel, and plan to recreate.
  • The National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) provides maps depicting current snow depths, forecasts, and other snow information.
  • Check NY511 for road closures and conditions (leaves DEC website).
  • Governor's Press Release on Winter Storm

Be Prepared for Winter Conditions with safety tips from this fact sheet and winter safety video (leaves DEC website).

DEC and OPRHP remind snowmobilers to ride responsibly (leaves DEC website) while enjoying the state's abundant snowmobiling opportunities.

DEC Adventure Adirondacks: Visit the DEC Facebook page (leaves DEC website) to follow the DEC Adventure Adirondacks Group for more information on winter hiking safety, preparedness, trail conditions, and trip ideas. Login to join the group

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information main web page for important general notices and information which applies across the Adirondacks.

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

Specific Notices

Aldrich Pond Wild Forest

  • The Aldrich Pond Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Powell Road leading to South Creek Lake often experiences flooded conditions due to beaver activity. Users should exercise caution and be aware of changing road conditions throughout the seasons. (2019)

Bog River Complex (Lows Lake, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest & Big Tupper/Piercefield Tract Easement Lands)

  • The Bog River Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest

  • The Cranberry Lake Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • S78 Snowmobile Trail (Grass River Railroad) on the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract is closed from Intersection 2 to Conifer. (2019)
    • DEC has moved the trail closed signs from C7A to S78 (near Intersection 2).
    • A "No Snowmobiling on Plowed Road" sign is located at the Conifer end of the trail.
    • Map of Closure and Alternate Route

Five Ponds Wilderness

  • The Five Ponds Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • A ten-mile section of the Oswegatchie River from High Falls downstream to the Inlet Hand Launch (Inlet Road) has numerous fallen trees across the river which may make passage difficult. Paddlers should portage around downed trees whenever possible. (2019)
  • An 800-foot portion of the High Falls Loop (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been signed and blowdown has been removed. It is located approximately 0.6 mile east of High Falls. (2019)
  • Frequent flooding from beaver activity occurs along the High Falls Trail between Wanakena and the Sand Lake Trail. The trail is an important part of both the High Falls Loop (approximately 14 miles), and the larger Cranberry Lake 50 mile trail. (2016)

Pepperbox Wilderness

  • The Pepperbox Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor

  • DOT has completed repairs to the section south of Lake Lila. The C7 Snowmobile Trail is available throughout the Adirondacks, but may not be rideable due to the lack of snow or other conditions. (2019)

Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest (Croghan Tract & Oswegatchie Tract Easement Lands)

  • The Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Access to the Oswegatchie Tract Easement via the Bryant Bridge Road is limited to those paddling on the easement lands. All others should use the Bald Mountain Road. (2018)

William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness

  • The William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness web page provides information about the unit, and its recreational opportunities and a map of the unit.
  • Lake Lila Road is closed to motorized vehicles but is open to the public for skiing and snowshoeing. Remain on the road and do not trespass on adjacent privately owned lands. (1/18)
  • A beaver dam has caused flooding of the Lilypad Pond Trail about 1.5 miles from trailhead, just past campsite #5. (2017)
  • Beaver activity has caused the flooding of the Stony Pond Road approximately one mile from the trailhead. Please use caution if you choose to cross this area. (2010)