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Backcountry Information for the Southern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Southern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: November 16, 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.

Cold Weather: Temperatures will drop below freezing temperatures during the night and in the morning. 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 are 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

Ferris Lake Wild Forest

  • Billy Hamlin Trail is eroded rough and rocky and very wet in places. (10/13)
  • 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 Mulleyville Snowmobile Club will be working on trail improvements on November 4 & 5. Improvements will provide for a longer snowmobiling season with better grooming. (11/2)
  • The cab of the Hadley Mountain Fire Tower and the observer's cabin are closed and locked for the season. (11/2)
  • The upper section of the Spruce Mountain Trail is closed to the public for big game hunting season. The fire tower will not be accessible during this time. The trail will reopen December 4 but the cab of the fire tower will be locked. (11/2)
  • The town of Thurman has completed maintenance work on Mud Pond Road and it is now in good condition. (10/19)
  • 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 only.
    • Archer Vly can be accessed from a hand launch on its southern shore.
    • There are four designated primitive tent sites on Archer Vly.
      • Two can be accessed by trails from the parking area off Lake Desolation Road
      • Two can be accessed by boat
    • ATV use is not permitted. All non-motorized uses are permitted throughout the property.
    • No vehicles are permitted past gates or signs indicating no motorized use.
    • 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)
  • 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)