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Adirondack Backcountry Information

Lightly snow covered mountains beyond a pond

Looking for a great seasonal hike in the Adirondacks? How about an easy, family-friendly hike? Maybe you prefer a quiet paddle in a canoe or an exhilarating kayaking adventure. The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) provides directions and trail descriptions for hundreds of hikes (leaves DEC website) through the woods and up mountains; and directions and descriptions of routes for hundreds of paddles (leaves DEC website) on the lakes, ponds and rivers of the Adirondacks.

The more than 2,300 miles of trails on the Adirondack Forest Preserve provide hikes of various distances, levels of challenge and types of scenery. All trails are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and some trails are available for biking or horseback riding. The more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Adirondacks provide for a variety of boating, paddling and fishing opportunities. Find a trail, boat launch or hand launch for your backcountry adventure using the State Land Interactive Mapper or DEC Google Data.

Watch a clips about hiking in the Adirondacks, winter safety, and other outdoor topics on DEC's YouTube Channel.
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Help Maintain Trails & Waterway Access

The Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

Volunteer to help preserve, maintain and enhance New York's outdoor recreation. Individuals or groups can enter into a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement to maintain trails, lean-tos, boat launches, or other recreational infrastructure.

Stay Safe, Respect Others and Protect the Environment

Back country hiking trails can be rugged and rough - they are not maintained as park walkways - and wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Properly prepare to ensure a safe outdoor experience. Follow all state land use rules for hiking and primitive camping and Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) to minimize your impacts on the natural resources and others users.

Be aware that you may encounter black bears and other wildlife while hiking, paddling and camping in the Adirondacks. Enjoy viewing and photographing wildlife, but do not feed or harass wildlife.

Seasonal Notices and Information (May 24, 2018)

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 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 and Spring Conditions: Be prepared for spring conditions in the lower and middle elevations and winter conditions in the high elevations.

Winter Conditions in the High and Highest Elevations:

  • MUDDY TRAIL ADVISORY: DEC is asking people to avoid trails above 2,500 feet in the High Peaks Region until these high elevation trails have dried and hardened. Snow and ice are present and melting on these high elevation trails. The trails have thin soils, are dangerous for hiking, and susceptible to erosion. Sensitive trailside alpine vegetation is easily damaged.
  • Outside the High Peaks Region, trails above 3,000 feet may have snow and ice, especially on north facing slopes and other areas with little exposure to the sun.
  • Patches of snow and ice may be present between 2,500 and 3,000 feet elevation, especially in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind.

Spring Conditions in the Middle and Lower Elevations:

  • Little snow and ice remains present between 2,000 and 2,500 feet elevation. Mainly in patches in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind.
  • Snow and ice are gone below 2,000 feet elevation, mud may be present in low spots, drainages, and along waterways.

Fire Danger Rating: MODERATE. Check the current fire danger map. Be safe with campfires.

Hikers and Campers

Trail Conditions:

  • Ice and snow are present on high elevation trails (above 3,000 feet), especially in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind. Carry crampons and use when warranted.
  • Patches of snow and ice may be present along with mud on moderately high elevation (2,500 to 3,000 feet). Ice "monorails", created from melting compacted snow may be found on some trails. Snow and ice are most likely to be found in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to sun and wind. Carry crampons and use when warranted.
  • Middle elevation and lower elevation (below 2,500 feet) trails may be wet and muddy in places, especially in low spots, drainages, and sections of trails by water.
  • Avoid damaging hiking trails and sensitive trail side vegetation and habitats.
    • Wear waterproof hiking boots and let them get dirty.
    • Stay in the center of trails.
    • Walk through mud and water.
    Due to heavy winter snow and recent storms with strong winds, expect to find blowdown (trees, limbs, and branches) on portions of many trails. Blowdown may be heavy in some areas.

Mountain Summits: Avoid trails above 2,500 feet in the High Peaks Region. Elsewhere, remember conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead. Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, ice and snow may be present. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Stream Crossings: Due to high swift waters, crossing may be treacherous or impossible, especially in the afternoon in areas with snow covered peaks as snow melt increases with warming temperatures. Streams and drainages that are passable in the morning may not be in the afternoon.

Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks.

Boaters, Paddlers and Anglers

Water Levels: Water levels remain within the average spring time ranges which are higher than mid-summer water levels. Rivers and streams are still have strong flows. Boaters and paddlers should use caution and beware of obstacles and debris on or just below the surface. See the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.

Cold Water: Water temperatures are COLD. Paddlers and boaters should wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD, aka Life Jacket)! People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water. Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.

Rock Climbers

Rock Climbing Route Closures: A number of rock climbing cliffs and routes in the eastern Adirondacks are closed climbers to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites.

  • Once nest sites are identified DEC will reopen routes that will not interfere with nesting activities.
  • Rock climbers are urged to be cautious and observant while climbing in other locations and report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291 or info.R5@dec.ny.gov.
  • DEC appreciates the continued cooperation of the climbing community for avoiding closed routes, volunteering to observe nest sites, and reporting peregrine falcon activity.

All

Memorial Day Weekend: Due to the holiday weekend, trailheads parking areas and campsite will fill early. Expect to encounter many people on trails and waterways. Plan accordingly and seek outdoor recreational opportunities in other less used areas of the Adirondacks.

Biting Insects: The Adirondack Bug Season has begun. Black flies and mosquitoes are active. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:

  • Wear light colored clothing.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts; tuck shirts into pants and button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist.
  • Wear long pants and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks.
  • Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick.
  • Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.

Seasonal Access Roads: Although many seasonal access roads will be open this weekend, some seasonal access roads remain closed for mud season.

  • See the list of open roads in the Specific Notices.
  • Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
  • Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravels roads that can be rough.
  • Four wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.

Specific Notices

Check the map and then link to the area of Adirondacks you plan to visit. Use the Adirondack Forest Preserve Map and Guide to help you determine the area you plan to visit. The information is provided by DEC Forest Rangers and Foresters based on their knowledge & observations and is updated weekly.

The information provided may not reflect current specific conditions. Contact the local Forest Ranger for more current and specific information by calling 518-897-1300 or check the list of Region 5 Forest Rangers or Region 6 Forest Rangers for direct contact information.



Northeastern Eastern High Peaks East Central Southern West Central Northern Southwestern Western Northwestern
Legend:

Green - Forest Preserve Lands
Tan - Conservation Easement Lands
Gray - Private Lands

More about Adirondack Backcountry Information :

  • Backcountry Information for the Northwestern Adirondack - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northwestern Adirondack Backcountry for Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, and Whitehill Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northern Adirondack Backcountry for the DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Tract, Santa Clara Conservation Easement Tract, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and St. Regis Canoe Area
  • Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northern Adirondack Backcountry for the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, and Wilmington Wild Forest.
  • Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the backcountry of the High Peaks Region for the High Peaks Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, Hurricane Mountain Wilderness, Jay Mountain Wilderness, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and Sentinel Range Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the Western Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Western Adirondack Backcountry for the Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest, and William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the West Central Adirondack Backcountry for the Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Easement, Township 20 Easement, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the East Central Adirondack Backcountry for the Camp Santanoni Historic Area,Essex Chain Lakes Complex, Hoffman Notch Wilderness, Hudson Gorge Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, Siamese Ponds Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Eastern Adirondack Backcountry for the Hammond Pond Wild Forest, Lake George Wild Forest, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, and Split Rock Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Southwestern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Southwestern Adirondack Backcountry for the Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, and Pigeon Lake Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the Southern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Southern Adirondack Backcountry for the Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, and Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
  • North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) - The DEC has completed a Draft Plan/GEIS for the North Country National Scenic Trail Adirondack Park section. This plan describes a proposed route across the central region of the Adirondack Park. The route assessment presented in this plan will be integrated into the unit management plans (ump's) for each respective unit traversed by the trail.