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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: November 22, 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 Eastern Adirondacks.

Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions: Expect to encounter below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Temperatures are forecast to be warmer and little to no snow will be present in the lower elevations of this region. Snow and snow showers are forecast but no significant accumulation is in the forecast at this time. 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.
    • 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 covered with fallen leaves, a dusting to 2 inches of snow, and ice in the higher elevations. Trails have fallen leaves or bare ground in the lower elevation. Water and mud may be present on some portions of trail throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Wet, icy, and snow-covered leaves can be very slippery, use caution when walking on leaves - particularly on steep sections of trail.
  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices - especially 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.
  • Walk through mud and water - not around - to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails.

Ice on Water: Ice has formed or begun forming on

  • Ponds and small lakes;
  • Backwaters and pools of streams and rivers;
  • Bays and along the shoreline of larger water bodies.

Ice will not bear the weight of person at this time. Remember ice that holds snow still doesn't hold the weight of a person.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, snow will be deeper, & 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

  • 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: