Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks
Updated: April 20, 2017
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 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).
Early Spring Conditions: Temperatures are warming, rain is falling, snow is melting and waters are rising. Spring has arrived in the lower elevations but winter remains in the higher elevations. Be prepared for a variety of conditions.
Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season. The roads will be reopened after they have dried, hardened, and any necessary maintenance. DEC plans to have all seasonal roads open before the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. However, wet, cold weather and other factors could prevent the opening individual roads or sections of roads. Check the Specific Notices for the status of individual roads or road systems.
Snow: Patches of snow may be present in the middle elevations mostly in in and along forests, on north facing slopes, and in other shaded areas. Deep snow is present in the higher elevations.
High Elevation Trails: Deep snow is still present on high elevation mountains. If you plan to hike Pharaoh Mountain (2,556 feet in elevation) CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM! DEC Forest Rangers have responded to several incidents of hikers who continued on to mountain summits despite deepening snow and lack of snowshoes, then sought assistance because they were wet, cold, tired, and running out of daylight.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will present on high elevation summits. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC's website) for selected summits.
Trail Conditions: Trails are wet and muddy conditions are prevalent. Remember to walk through mud and water - not around - to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails. Patches of ice or snow may be present on middle elevation trails in or along forests, on north facing slopes, or other shaded areas.
Water Conditions: Water levels are high and water temperatures are cold. Boaters and paddlers are reminded that until May 1 all persons on any boat, kayak, or canoe must be wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD aka). Anglers are encouraged to wear PFDs when wading or fishing from steep shorelines. A person submersed in cold water can lose consciousness in minutes, a PFD will keep their head above water and prevent drowning.
Water Crossings: High water levels will make crossings of some rivers and streams difficult, treacherous or even impossible.
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
- The bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail has been replaced. (2016)
- The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity. (2007)
Lake George Wild Forest
- Beginning April 1, all rock climbing routes on the Main Wall on Shelving Rock Mountain will be closed to allow peregrine falcons to breed and choose a nesting site. (3/30)
- Beginning April 1, all rock climbing routes on Sleeping Beauty Mountain will be closed to allow peregrine falcons to breed and choose a nesting site. (3/30)
- Gates on Notch Lane in the Mount Tom State Forest (town of White Creek, Washington County) have been reopened for snowmobiles. (3/16)
- Gates have been reopened and snowmobiles can use both Lily Pond Road and Long Pond Road. (3/16)
- Gates remain closed on Jabe Pond Road and Palmer Pond Road. (3/16)
- The gate on Prospect Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway has been closed for the season. The highway will reopen for use for a fee in the spring. (3/9)
- Dacy Clearing Road and all other DEC gates in the Shelving Rock/Buck Mountain Area are closed. Dacy Clearing road is closed to snowmobiles and motor vehicles for the spring mud season. The road will be reopened when it has dried and hardened. (3/3)
- 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)
- 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
- The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program have cleared blowdown and installed turnpikes (trail hardening) on the Sucker Brook Horse Trail and removed blowdown from other trails in the wilderness. (2016)
- 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)
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