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Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks

Updated: May 25, 2017

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 (leaves DEC's website).

Memorial Day Holiday Weekend: Due to the three-day holiday weekend, expect to see higher than usual numbers of people at trailheads and boat launches, and on trails and waterways, especially in typically popular areas. Visitors are encouraged to explore less used trails and waterways of the Adirondacks.

Seasonal Access Roads: Most seasonal access roads are now open. Check the Specific Notices below for the status of individual roads or road systems. Seasonal access roads consist of dirt, sand, gravel, and/or stone and typically have a rough surface. Four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs, or other high clearance vehicles are recommended for use on seasonal access roads.

Trail Conditions: Trails are wet and muddy, especially in low spots. Trails along waterways may be covered in standing water. Trail crossings of streams and rivers may be difficult due to high water levels.

Protect Trails and Trailside Vegetation: Stay on trails to protect vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails Walk through mud and water - do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails.

Water Conditions: Water levels are around average spring-time high levels and will likely rise due ot forecasted rains. Water temperatures are cold. Boaters, paddlers, and anglers wading in the water or fishing from steep or rocky shorelines should wear Personal Flotation Device (PFD, aka life jacket). A person submersed in cold water can lose consciousness in minutes, a PFD will keep their head above water and prevent drowning.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder and winds will be stronger. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC's website) for selected summits.

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 foot bridge on the access trail to Debar Pond has been removed. Debar Pond may now be accessed near the lodge building using the road beyond the gate at the parking area. A new gate will be installed that will allow easier passage of people with boats in the very near future. Trespassing in the lodge or any other building is prohibited. (5/25)
  • Loon Lake Mountain Trail is open for public use and logging operations have ended. (5/25)
  • Debar Meadow Road is open for public motor vehicle use. (2017)
  • Debar Pond Access Road is open and accessible by motor vehicle. (2017)

Kushaqua Tract Easement

  • The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Mountain Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use to the old log landing at the northeastern end of the road. (5/25)
  • North Branch Road and Hunter's Camp Road are open to public motor vehicle use. (2017)
  • A 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). (2016)

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.
  • Pinnacle Road is open to public motor vehicle use but brush has grown in from the sides of the road and there are number of trees leaning over the road. (5/25)
  • Blowdown is blocking the Pinnacle Trailhead and there is no register box or kiosk. (5/25)
  • Vanderwalker Road, between State Route 458 and the East Branch St. Regis River, is open to public motor vehicle use but brush has grown in from the sides of the road and there are number of trees leaning over the road. (5/25)
  • Madawaska Road provides access to Madawaska Pond (aka Madawaska Flow) and is open to public motor vehicle use. (2017)

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest

  • The Lower Locks in the Saranac Chain remains closed for extensive repairs and rehabilitation. The locks will reopen by the end of June. (5/25)
  • Mooring boats overnight at docks and on the shoreline at Second Pond Boat Launch, and mooring boats at any time at the lower locks is prohibited. Boats violating the mooring restrictions will be towed away and the owners ticketed. (5/25)
  • The Connery Pond Road gate is open and public motor vehicle traffic is allowed. (2017)
  • 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.
  • The Little Green Pond seasonal access road is open for public motor vehicle use. The road provides access to the campsites on Little Green Pond and the hand launch on Little Clear Pond. (2017)
  • Fishing is prohibited on Little Green Pond, Little Clear Pond and their tributaries to protect valuable hatchery brood stock and endangered round whitefish. (2017)
  • 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)

More about Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks: