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Backcountry Information for the Southern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Southern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: September 21, 2017

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 Southern Adirondacks.

Fall Arrives Friday: Temperatures are cool in the morning and evening, while days are shortening as the sun sets earlier each day. Plan accordingly, wear or carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing and carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes. Be sure to have fresh batteries and to carry extras.

Fall Foliage: Leaves continue to change color in the Adirondacks (Leaves DEC website). Expect to encounter many people on trails and waters every weekend through the Columbus Day Holiday Weekend. Boat launches, trailhead parking lots, and interior campsites will fill early, especially if the weather is nice. There are many beautiful places to view the fall foliage in the Adirondacks, seek out backcountry recreation opportunities in some of the lesser used areas.

Hunting Season: Early Bear Hunting Season is open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.

Walk on Trails - Not Beside Them: Protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails. Do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails - walk through mud and water. It's not hiking (or fun) if your hiking shoes don't get muddy!!!

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

Specific Notices

Ferris Lake Wild Forest

  • Beavers have caused flooding problems on two trails: (2014)
    • The Fall Stream Trail from Piseco towards the Big Brook trail has one bridge flooded out.
    • The Hurrell Vly Trail in Morehouse has a bridge flooded out.

Northville-Placid Trail

  • The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter (leaves DEC website) of the Adirondack Mountain Club provides the latest trail conditions and information for planning a hike on the trail - whether a through-hike, section-hike or weekend-hike.
  • Hikers using the portion of the trail through the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest may have trouble crossing West Stony Creek during high waters following rains. (2017)

Shaker Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Shaker Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Hikers using the Northville-Placid Trail may have trouble crossing West Stony Creek during high waters following rains. (2017)

Silver Lake Wilderness

  • The Silver Lake Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

  • The Spruce Mountain Trail is open for public use but the cab of the Fire Tower is closed. (2017)
  • The following trails have been remarked with DEC trail markers: (2016)
    • Oregon Trail from State Route 8 to Baldwin Springs is marked with red markers.
    • Cod Pond Trail from the Oregon Trail to Cod Pond is marked with yellow markers.
    • Lizard Pond Trail from Garnet Lake to the Bartman Trail is marked with yellow markers.
    • Round Pond/Mud Pond Trail from Garnet Lake to Garnet Lake Road is marked with yellow markers.
    • Bartman Trail from Bartman Road to Baldwin Springs is marked with blue markers.
  • A section of the Round Pond Snowmobile Trail has been rerouted so that it no longer crosses Round Pond. (2016)
  • A new trail has been built to Tenant Creek Falls from a new trailhead parking area on Hope Falls Road, 0.4 mile before the old trailhead. The old trail across private land is now closed. Hikers must use the new trail to Tenant Creek Falls and not trespass on private lands. The new trail is 0.9 mile from the new trailhead to the first falls, it is 2.1 miles to the second and third falls. The trail was constructed by an Adirondack Mountain Club Volunteer High School Group under DEC contract and direction. An ADA accessible outhouse at the new trailhead was constructed by DEC Northville Operations staff.Map (PDF 616 KB) (2016)
  • Hikers using the East Stony Creek Trail must park at the new trailhead parking area on Hope Falls Road and walk the 0.4 mile on the road to reach the East Stony Creek Trailhead. It is 5.1 miles from the new trailhead to Wilcox Lake and 6.0 miles from the new trailhead to the Harrisburg Road Parking Area Map (PDF 616 KB) (2016)
  • The North Bend Bridge on Oregon Trail is flooded but intact. Hikers will need to wade through water to enter and exit the bridge.(2016)
  • The nearby Lake Desolation Road Conservation Easement Tract (Map PDF, 243 KB)), located in the town of Greenfield, is now open for non-motorized recreational uses including hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, etc. (2016)
    • Access is from Lake Desolation Road; roads from the other side are very rough and impassible.
    • Archer Vly can be accessed from a hand launch on its southern shore.
    • Four primitive tent sites have been designated on Archer Vly.
      • Two can be accessed by trails from the parking area off Plank Road
      • Two can only be accessed by boat
    • Public ATV use is not permitted.
    • No vehicles are permitted past gates or signs.
    • Please respect private property; several inholdings are throughout the property.
  • A bridge on Bartman Trail just north of Fish Ponds is out. The small stream is crossable by rock hopping (2016)
  • The bridge over Georgia Creek on Cotter Brook Trail is out due to beaver activity. (2016)
  • The bridge over Dayton Creek between Hope Falls Road and Wilcox Lake on East Stony Creek Trail is out. The creek is crossable except during high water conditions. (2016)
  • Mud Pond Road contains washouts, it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. (2011)
  • The Pine Orchard Trail is flooded due to beaver activity .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. (2010)
  • The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake. (2004)