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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: October 21, 2016

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!

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.

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Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. 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.

Rain and Snow: Significant amounts of rain are forecast through the weekend. The forecast calls for a mix of rain & snow and snow at times. Snow may accumulate in the higher elevations such as Pharaoh Mountain. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) and the National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for the latest snow information.

High Elevation Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow may be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Trail Conditions: Trails will be wet and muddy in the lower elevations and may have snow and ice in the higher elevations - with mixed conditions in between. Wet leaves, snow and ice will make for slippery trails - wear proper footwear and traction devices. Remain on trails; walk through mud & water and on snow & ice to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.

Avoid Hypothermia: The forecasted wet and cold weather provides ideal conditions for hypothermia.

  • Wear waterproof outer layers.
  • Wear layers of fleece, wool, and other non-cotton clothing.
  • Pack extra clothing including a fleece, wool or other non-cotton jacket or sweater.
  • Add or remove layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Wear cold weather hat and gloves (or mittens).
  • Eat, drink and rest often.

Shorter Days: Autumn has arrived the sun sets earlier each day. Sunset is around 6:00 pm, earlier in deep valleys and on northern and eastern facing slopes. It will become darker sooner when skies are cloud covered. Plan to return to the trailhead by sunset but always carry a flashlight or headlamp just in case.

Water Levels: Waters level are low but will rise with the forecasted precipitation. Use caution when traversing low water crossings and drainages.

Autumn Foliage: Track the changing colors of the leaves in the Adirondacks, view the New York Fall Foliage Report (leaves DEC website).

Hunting Seasons: The regular Northern Zone Big Game hunting season opens this weekend. Small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are also 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. Hikers can wear bright colors as an extra precaution if it makes them more comfortable.

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

  • There is blowdown on the trail between Hammond Pond and Bloody Pond. (2014)
  • A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. (2011)
  • The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity. (2007)

Lake George Wild Forest

  • 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)
  • Gay Pond Road is heavily rutted from illegal use by 4-wheel drive vehicles during the snowmobile season. Only high clearance vehicles should be used to traverse the road and even those should be used with caution. (2016)
  • Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (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. (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)
  • The two trails between the Pharaoh Lake and Glidden Marsh have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. (2011)
  • The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. (2011)
  • The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. (2011)

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

More about Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks: