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Trail Information for the Southeastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Southeastern Adirondacks

Updated: September 18, 2014

General Notices

WARNING: Wilderness 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!

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

Be Prepared in the Winter

  • Know
    • Your own physical capabilities, knowledge of backcountry recreation and skill level
    • The distance you plan to travel and the terrain and conditions you will encounter
  • Check (before entering the backcountry)
    • With the Local Forest Ranger for current information
    • Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
  • Wear
    • Hiking boots
    • Light, light-colored breathable non-cotton clothing
    • Hat to protect from sun, rain & biting insects
    • Sunglasses & sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
  • Carry
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
    • Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
    • Plenty of food and water
  • Pack
    • Extra clothes and socks
    • Waterproof jacket and pants
    • Sunscreen & insect repellent
    • Bivy sack or space blankets in case you need to spend the night in wood
    • Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
  • Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return

Organized Events on State Lands: DEC regulation (190.8(cc)) prohibits any person from sponsoring, conducting or participating in any organized event of more than twenty people unless authorized by DEC under a temporary revocable permit (TRP). DEC seeks to ensure that large groups recreate on forest preserve lands 1) at locations, 2) during certain periods and 3) following practices that minimize their impacts on trails, vegetation, wildlife and other users.

Camping Permits: Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more in Wild Forest lands requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. The following information must be provided to the forest ranger to obtain a camping permit: Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code, Vehicle License Plate Number, Telephone Number, Date of Birth, Number in Group, Camping Dates, and Location of Campsite.

Backcountry Campsites: Camping at designated campsites in the backcountry is done on a first come, first served basis. There is no reservation system for these primitive campsites. Campsites in popular areas fill up quickly on weekends so plan accordingly.

Road & Traffic Information: Use the link in the right column to visit NYS Department of Transportation 511 New York for information on transportation services, traffic, and road conditions throughout New York State.

Trails Supporter Patch: 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.

Seasonal Notices

Fire Danger: MODERATE, be cautious with campfires. Check the current Fire Danger Map. (9/18)

Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. See the information under the "Be Prepared" heading above to ensure you are prepared. 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, use the National Weather Service "NWS Weather Forecast" link near the bottom of the right column to check the current weather forecast before entering the backcountry. (9/18)

Watch for Moose When Driving: Moose are active at this time of year, especially around dawn and dusk when visibility can be limited. Reduce your speed, stay alert and watch the roadsides at this time of year. See the full press release for more information. (9/19)

Trail Conditions: Trails are mainly dry but wet and muddy conditions may be encountered in low areas, drainages and trails along waters. Wear gaiters and appropriate footwear. Walk through - not around - wet and muddy areas to avoid further eroding and widening trails. (9/18)

Cooler Temperatures & Shorter Days: Though technically still summer, early fall conditions are present in the Adirondacks. Temperatures are cooler, be sure to carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers as needed to keep comfortable. The sun is rising later and setting earlier. Plan your trips to ensure you are out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries just in case. (9/18)

Hunting Seasons: Hunting seasons for small game, waterfowl and big game are open or will open shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution. (9/18)

Paddlers & Boaters: Water levels are below average for this time of year. Although Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) are not required at his time, paddlers and boaters are strongly encouraged to wear PFDs at all times while on the water. Children under age 12 are required to wear a PFD at all times while on the water. Strong currents and cold water can quickly cause a person without a PFD to lose their ability to keep their head above water. Use the "USGS Current Streamflow for NY Waters" link near the bottom right column to check water levels and flows in select waters. (9/18)

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are typically dirt or gravel roads that often are rough and muddy with rocks sticking up in locations. Shoulders are soft, ditched or even non existent. Drivers should always drive slowly and use caution when operating on these roads. Pickup trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles are recommended - four wheel drive vehicles will serve even better. (9/18)

Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks. All campers should follow these practices to avoid attracting black bears: (9/18)

  • Store food, toiletries & garbage in a bear resistant canister away from the campsite or lean-to;
  • If you don't use a bear resistant canister hang your food, toiletries and garbage at least 15 feet above the ground and 10 feet away from any trees;
  • Prepare food away from the campsite or lean-to, and prepare and eat food well before dark;
  • Take food out immediately before preparation and/or eating;
  • Take out only as much food as will be eaten; and
  • If approached by a bear make noise and make all reasonable efforts to keep bears from obtaining food, but do not risk physical contact. Back away from the bear, but never run.

Summits: Conditions on and near summits of high elevation mountains are more extreme - stronger winds and cooler temperatures. (9/18)

Blowdown: Due to recent storms blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails. (9/18)

Specific Notices

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest

  • The Black Mountain Trailhead gate off Pike Brook Road remains closed, but only adds 15 minutes to hike up Black Mountain or other destinations. (2014)
  • 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. (2014)
  • DEC has replaced the roof on the Milman Pond Lean-to in the town of Dresden. (2013)
  • A new parking area has been constructed along Shelving Rock Road near the trailhead to Shelving Rock Falls. The parking area includes an accessible privy and space for 25 vehicles. (2012)

More about Trail Information for the Southeastern Adirondacks: