Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks
Updated: December 8, 2016
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. (link leaves DEC's website)
Snow: Currently there is 2 to 6 inches of snow on the ground with little additional snow in the forecast. The National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information Page provides additional information on snow conditions.
- Snow will be deeper in the higher elevations such as the summit of Pharaoh Mountain (elevation 2,556 feet)
- Wear proper foot wear and stay on trails.
- Carry spikes or crampons and wear on icy trails.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be deeper. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
Ice on Water: Ice has begun forming on some waters and some high elevations ponds and lakes are iced over. Any ice on water is thin and not able to bear the weight of people at this time.
Seasonal Access Roads: Many seasonal access roads will are closed to public motor vehicle traffic. Some gates will be reopened when there is enough snow for snowmobiling. Others will remain closed through the spring mud season.
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 thanks to the efforts of volunteers from Champlain Area Trails. (11/23)
- The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity. (2007)
Lake George Wild Forest
- Dacy Clearing Road is currently open but contains snow and ice. It is recommended that only 4 wheel drive vehicles with good tires use the road at this time. (12/8)
- 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 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