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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: October 19, 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.

Fall Conditions: Daytime temperatures are cool, nighttime temperatures may be below freezing - especially in higher elevations.

  • Plan accordingly, wear or carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing
  • Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.
  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and to 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 drying with the good weather and loss of leaves on trees.

  • Expect to still encounter wet and muddy conditions along waterways, in low areas, and above 3,000 feet.
  • Use caution when hiking on fallen leaves.
  • Wet or icy leaves can be very slippery, particularly on steep sections of trail.

Protect Trails & Trailside Vegetation: Stay on trails to protect vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails.

  • Do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails.
  • Walk through mud and water.
  • It's not hiking (or fun) if your hiking shoes don't get muddy!!!

Summits: Temperatures will be colder and winds will be stronger on high elevation summits

Hunting Seasons: The regular big game hunting season opens Saturday, many small game, and waterfowl hunting seasons are or will soon open.

  • 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.

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: