Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks
NOTE: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information. The web pages now include information on the western Adirondacks and have been reorganized and reformatted. Individual Forest Preserve units may not be listed on the same page they were previously listed.
Updated: August 25, 2016
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!
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 weather and other conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Weather forecasts can and do change. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) before entering the backcountry.
Trail Conditions: Trails have been drying up but if forecasted thunderstorms and rain occur Thursday afternoon and night, expect trails to be wet and muddy - especially along water bodies, in low lying areas and during & after rain events. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on trails; walk through mud & water to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.
Hot Weather Precautions: DEC Forest Rangers continue to respond to incidents of hikers in distress due to dehydration. Be prepared for hot weather. Wear loose clothing of material that wicks moisture away from your body and protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses and sun block. Drink plenty of water at home, in the car and at the trailhead. Carry at least 2 liters/quarts of water per person; rest often and drink water more often; and replace electrolytes via tablets or other means. Black Bear Activity: Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks.
- The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
- ALL food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
- Elsewhere, ALL food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters or in a food (aka bear) hang elsewhere.
- Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk.
- These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry.
Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits and other open areas and being on the water during thunderstorms. Immediately move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter at the first sound of thunder. Find a low spot away from tall trees. Seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. The National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC website) provides forecasts for selected summits in this area.
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest
- There is blowdown on the trail between Hammond Pond and Bloody Pond. (2014)
- A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. (2011)
- The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity. (2007)
Lake George Wild Forest
- A black bear raided a campsite in the Shelving Rock Area earlier this summer and took the camper's food from coolers. Campers must follow these practices to prevent attracting bears: (6/9)
- Secure food in vehicles, food hangs or bear canisters at all times except when cooking and eating
- Prepare and eat food away from tents;
- Do not eat or store food in tents;
- Do not leave food or dirty dishes out overnight in campsites; and
- Campers and day users should not feed or otherwise provide food to a bear for any reason.
- Reducing Human Bear Conflicts in the Backcountry
- Camping is prohibited on Montcalm Point at the point of the Tongue Mountain Range on Lake George. (2016)
- Large camping groups (more than 8 people) must contact local Forest Ranger prior to leaving the trailhead and entering the Tongue Mountain Range trail system. Also campfires must be kept small and within a 3 foot fire ring. (2016)
- Gay Pond Road is heavily rutted from illegal use by 4-wheel drive vehicles during the snowmobile season. Only high clearance vehicles should be used to traverse the road and even those should be used with caution. (2016)
- Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (2016)
- Trails on Cat & Thomas Mountains are marked with Lake George Land Conservancy markers. Obtain a map from Conservancy before hiking this trail system. (2016)
- On the Tongue Mountain Range, signs at trail intersection of the Summit (red) Trail and Lake (blue) Trail coming from the Clay Meadow Trailhead are often stolen. Hikers are advised to carry maps. (2016)
- Heavy blowdown is present above 1,200 feet on Erebus Mountain Trail, Fishbrook Pond to Lake George Trail and other lesser used trails in the area. (2015)
- Users of the Shelving Rock Day Use Area must park in designated parking areas, not on the side of Shelving Rock Road. Vehicles parked along the road block traffic including emergency vehicles. Vehicles parked along the road will be ticketed. (2015)
- Deer Leap Trail on Tongue Mountain is washed out and heavily cobbled with boulders from the trail head to the spur to Deer Leap, but is passable on foot. (2014)
- Equestrians should be aware that there is significant blowdown on horse trails. While hikers may be able to get through the trails, it may be impossible or at least much harder for horses to get through. (2010)
- The Hudson River Special Management Area contains campsites, trails and day use areas., including ADA accessible facilities.
- The Shelving Rock Area contains campsites, trails, and day use areas.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
- Members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program have cleared blowdown and installed turnpikes (trail hardening) on the Sucker Brook Horse Trail. (8/11)
- The newly constructed Berrymill Pond Lean-to is available for use. DEC Operations, Lands & Forests and Forest Ranger staff completed the construction of the new lean-to. (2016)
- The two trails between the Pharaoh Lake and Glidden Marsh have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. (2011)
- The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. (2011)
- The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. (2011)
Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest
- The Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Nothing to report.
More about Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks:
- Shelving Rock Area of the Lake George Wild Forest - New camping sites, parking lots and management actions in the Shelving Rock Area of the Lake George Wild Forest