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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: April 12, 2018

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.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC's website) when recreating in the Adirondacks.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast (leaves DEC website) and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data, forecasts, and snow depths.

Early Spring Conditions: Snow and ice remain present.

  • Low elevation, open areas have little to no snow.
  • Woods, north facing slopes, and other shaded areas still have snow.
  • Snow remains deep in the highest elevations such as Pharaoh Mountain.
  • Overall above freezing temperatures and rain/freezing rain forecast through the weekend should reduce the amount of snow at all elevations.
  • NERFC Snow Page provides current snow information.

Be Prepared for Conditions: Stay dry and warm to avoid hypothermia, bring/wear:

  • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
  • Waterproof footwear
  • Layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing (not cotton!)
  • Hat and gloves or mittens

Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience. (link leaves DEC's website)

Trail Conditions:

  • Compacted snow has turned to ice on many trail, creating "monorails" on the trails as surrounding snow melts.
  • Low elevation trails through open areas will be muddy and wet, and may be icy in the morning.
  • Carry trail crampons (microspikes) on all hikes and use wherever trails are icy.
  • Walk on monorails and through mud and water to avoid post-holing in trailside snow, trampling vegetation, and eroding trails.

Water Levels and Temperatures: Melting snow and recent rain have raised water levels.

  • Rivers and streams will be flowing high and fast.
  • Stream crossings may be dangerous or impossible.
  • Water temperatures are very low.
  • People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
  • Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.
  • Boaters and paddlers are required to wear personal flotation devices until May 1.

Blowdown: Recent strong winds resulted in a significant amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches) on trails. Hikes to take longer than usual and be prepared to turn back if blowdown is heavy.

Ice on Waterbodies: No ice should be considered safe at this time.

Snowmobile Trails and Seasonal Access Roads: All snowmobile trails are closed for the season and all gates on seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.

Mountain Summits: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead.

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 and the town of Horicon have completed paving the Brant Lake Boat Launch. (2017)

Lake George Wild Forest

  • The Notch Lane gates on the nearby Mount Tom State Forest in the town of White Creek, Washington County are locked and road is closed to public motor vehicle traffic for mud season. The roads will reopen once they have dried, hardened, and annual maintenance and repairs are completed. (4/13)
  • Shelving Rock Road is open. (4/6)
  • The following seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle use until the end of mud season. The roads will reopen once they have dried, hardened, and annual maintenance and repairs are completed. (4/6)
    • Dacy Clearing Road
    • Long Pond Road
    • Lily Pond Road
    • Jabe Pond Road
    • Palmer Pond Road
  • The following rock climbing routes are closed to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites. Once nest sites are identified DEC will reopen routes that will not interfere with nesting activities. (4/6)
    • All climbing routes on the Main Wall and Carhartt Wall of Shelving Rock Mountain.
    • All climbing routes on Sleeping Beauty Mountain.
  • DEC crews have dismantled and removed the Thomas Mountain Cabin. Crews will return in the spring to rake and complete clean up of the site. The cabin was removed because it did not comply with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and was not compatible with the Forest Preserve. Additionally, vandals had started misusing the cabin, such that it had become an attractive nuisance. (2018)
  • Cross-country skiing trails at Rogers Rock are opened and groomed. (2018)
  • 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. (2017)
  • A new bridge over the Pharaoh Lake Outlet (and dam) was installed by Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program crews. (2017)

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

More about Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks: