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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: December 14, 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.

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

Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout this region of the Adirondacks. Snow depths range from 2-6 inches, although more snow is present in the higher elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC's website) for current snow information. Be prepared for conditions:

  • Avoid hypothermia, stay dry and warm.
  • Be prepared for wet and cold conditions with:
    • Waterproof outer layer
    • Wear layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Carry extra wool socks
    • 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: Snow and ice is present on trails at all elevations. Water and mud may also be present on lower elevation trails

  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices - especially in the higher elevations
  • Snowshoes or skis are strongly encouraged wherever snow depths exceed 8".
  • Use caution on steep sections of trail and at water crossings where rocks may be covered with a layer of ice.
  • Due to recent high winds, expect to encounter blow down (fallen or hanging trees, limbs and branches) on trails.

Ice on Water: Ice is beginning or has formed on many waters. Ice will not bear the weight of a person at this time. Ice may be covered in snow and still will not hold the weight of a person.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, snow will be deeper, and ice will be present.

  • Wear a jacket or coat (outer shell) that blocks wind when on summits or other exposed areas.
  • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing to wear on summits.
  • Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC's website) for selected summits.

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

Specific Notices

Hammond Pond Wild Forest

  • The Hammond Pond Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC has completed paving the Brant Lake Boat Launch. (9/30)

Lake George Wild Forest

  • Dacy Clearing Road is closed to public motor vehicle use. The gate has been closed. The gate will reopen and the road accessible for snowmobile use when there is appropriate snow cover.
  • Town of Fort Ann Highway Department crews have completed upgrading eight parking lots and constructing a new parking lot along the Shelving Rock Road. (2017)
  • The Town of Fort Ann local law prohibits parking along Shelving Rock Road. (2017)
  • Lily Pond Road is open for public motor vehicle access, additional work will be done on the road in the future. (2017)
  • Directional signs on trails, especially on the Tongue Mountain Trail System and the Shelving Rock/Sleeping Beauty/Black Mountain Trail system, are often stolen. Hikers are advised to carry maps to navigate the trail systems. (2017)
  • 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)
  • Trails on Cat & Thomas Mountains are marked with Lake George Land Conservancy markers. Obtain a map from Conservancy before hiking this trail system. (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)
  • 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

  • The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC staff have completed construction of a 15-vehicle parking area near along Pharaoh Lake Road near the intersection with Beaver Pond Road. (8/17)
  • A new bridge over the Pharaoh Lake Outlet (and dam) was installed by Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program crews. (8/10)

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest


More about Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks: