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Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks

Updated: December 1, 2016

Map of showing the Northern Region of the Adirondacks

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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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)

Trail Conditions: Trailheads and lower elevation trails will be a varying mix of mud, water, snow, and ice. Wear proper footwear and stay on trails. Higher elevation trails will be mainly snow and ice. Traction devices should be carried and worn when warranted.

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.

Blowdown: Recent rains were accompanied by strong winds. Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) may be present on trails, especially on lesser used trails and trails in the higher elevations.

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads will remain open through the weekend, but beginning Monday gates may be closed. The use of 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, SUVs and other high clearance motor vehicles is recommended. Many seasonal access roads are wet and muddy due to recent rains.

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

Specific Notices

Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Trail

  • The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

DeBar Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Loon Lake Mountain Trail will be temporarily closed to ensure public safety while the private landowner of the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands, on which a portion of the trail is located, conducts a timber harvest. DEC is closing the trail beginning Monday, October 31. The trial will remain closed through Friday, December 30. Trail map (10/27)

Kushaqua Tract Easement

  • The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The Loon Lake Mountain Trail will be temporarily closed to ensure public safety while the private landowner of the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands, on which a portion of the trail is located, conducts a timber harvest. DEC is closing the trail beginning Monday, October 31. The trial will remain closed through Friday, December 30. Trail map (10/27)
  • 2.3 miles of Hunter's Camp Road is newly open for public motor vehicle use. The road provides public access to the southern-most reaches of the tract for outdoor recreation. A designated parking area (44.5021°N, 74.1829°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)has been constructed at the end of section of road. (9/29)
  • A newly opened 115-foot path to a dock on the upper reaches of the North Branch of the Saranac River provides access for non-motorized watercraft to this trout stream. The path is located off the southern shoulder of the North Branch Road approximately 460 feet west of the North Branch Road Parking Area near intersection of Mountain Pond Road (44.5114°N, 74.1472°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website). (9/29)

Paul Smith College Easement

Santa Clara Tract Easement (includes Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area & Deer River Primitive Area)

  • The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A new sign has been installed at the Madwaska Road entrance to the easement lands off State Route 458. Please respect the rights and privacy of lease camps, particularly when accessing Madawaska Pond via the canoe carry on the eastern shoreline of Madawaska Pond. (9/29)
  • Madawaska Road to Madawaska Pond from State Route 458 is once again open to public use by motor vehicle and bicycles. The road provides access to Madwaska Pond, Quebec Brook and the thousands of acres of surrounding forest preserve and conservation easement lands. The entrance to the road is on the south side of State Route 458, 1.25 miles west of the intersection with State Route 30. (2016)

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest

  • The Lower Lock in the Saranac Chain is closed for extensive repairs and rehabilitation. The lock will reopen in spring 2017. (10/13)
  • Whiteface Landing Trail has been rerouted to avoid private camps on Connery Pond. The new trail route starts at the small parking area just before the private gate. Please respect the private property and stay on the trail. (2016)

St. Regis Canoe Area

  • The St. Regis Canoe Area web page provides information including a map about the unit, its recreational opportunities and how to access the lands and waters.
  • Fishing is prohibited on Little Green Pond, Little Clear Pond and their tributaries to protect valuable hatchery brood stock and endangered round whitefish. (2016)
  • DEC, Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program members and volunteers from the Friends of St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower have completed the restoration and rehabilitation of the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower. (2016)
  • A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. (2011)

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