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Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks

Updated: June 20, 2019

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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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 (NWS) 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 and forecasts.

Travel: Check NY511 for road closures and conditions (leaves DEC website).

DEC Adventure Adirondacks: Visit the DEC Facebook page (leaves DEC website) to follow the DEC Adventure Adirondacks Group for more information on winter hiking safety, preparedness, trail conditions, and trip ideas. Login to join the group

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information main web page for important general notices and information which applies across the Adirondacks.

Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Ray Brook Dispatch 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 Debar Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Due to cool temperatures and the amount of rainfall the Spring Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect. Please protect high elevation trails and vegetation and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until these high elevation trails have dried and hardened. (6/20)
  • Be prepared for all conditions to protect trails and trailside vegetation, hike through mud - not around it. (6/20)
  • The following roads are open for public motor vehicle use: (5/23)
    • Debar Pond Road
    • Debar Meadows Road
    • Debar Mountain Trailhead Access Road (from Meacham Lake Campground)
  • A portion of the Conservation Road in the nearby Deer River State Forest has been flooded due to beaver activity. The road will reopen again once the flooding has been addressed and any necessary road repairs have been completed. (2019)
  • Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members installed drainage structures and repaired badly eroded sections of the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trail. (2018)
  • Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, the private landowner of the Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, is conducting a timber harvest in the area of the Loon Lake Mountain Trail. Be prepared to encounter logging trucks and heavy equipment at any time on the trail and the easement lands in the area during this active harvest operation. Please contact the DEC Ray Brook Office at 518-897-1291 for questions regarding this harvest operation. (2018)
  • 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. (2017)

Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract

  • The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Tract web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Mountain Pond Road remains closed due to muddy conditions. (6/6)
  • The following roads are open for public motor vehicle use: (5/23)
    • North Branch Road
    • Hunter's Camp Road
    • Aden Road
    • Road 5-2
  • Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, the private landowner of the Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, is conducting a timber harvest in the area of the Loon Lake Mountain Trail. Be prepared to encounter logging trucks and heavy equipment at any time on the trail and the easement lands in the area during this active harvest operation. Please contact the DEC Ray Brook Office at 518-897-1291. (2018)

Paul Smiths College Easement Tract

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

  • The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Tract web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The following roads are open for public motor vehicle use: (5/23)
    • Madawaska Pond Road
    • Vanderwalker Road (East Branch St Regis River)
    • Pinnacle Road
    • 4-Mile Road
    • Howe Access Road

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest

  • The Saranac Lake Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and maps of the unit.
  • The Saranac River is closed to boating between the Lower Lock and Second Pond Boat Launch because of extremely low waters levels. (6/20)
    • The low water levels are result of vandals breaking into the controls for the sluice gate overnight and fully opening it.
    • The sluice gate was further damaged and cannot be immediately closed.
    • DEC is working to repair and close the gate.
    • DEC will provide notice when repairs are complete and water levels have risen.
    • Anybody with information regarding the vandalism should contact 518-897-1326.
  • Due to cool temperatures and the amount of rainfall the Spring Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect. Please protect high elevation trails and vegetation and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until these high elevation trails have dried and hardened. (6/20)
  • Be prepared for all conditions to protect trails and trailside vegetation, hike through mud - not around it. (6/20)
  • Most bike trails are dry and ride able, but some trails remain closed due to wet and muddy conditions. (6/13)
    • Don't' use muddy trails, they are easily rutted and damaged through use.
    • If you are leaving tracks, turn back.
    • The Barkeaters Trail Alliance (leaves DEC website) provides information on the status of mountain bike trails in the Tri-lakes region of the Adirondacks.
  • Connery Pond Road is open for public motor vehicle use. (5/30)
  • The Lake Placid Boat Launch is open for use by boaters. (5/23)
  • Moose River Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use. (5/2)
  • The Department of Transportation will be replacing the Spider Creek Culvert on State Route 30 this year. (4/11)
    • Spider Creek is the waterway that flows out of Follensby Clear Pond to Fish Creek Ponds.
    • During the construction watercraft will not be able to pass through the culvert.
    • A temporary canoe carry to bypass the culvert may be established, but people visiting the area should consider using existing canoe routes that avoid this culvert entirely.
    • The culvert may be closed for the entire 2019 construction season.
    • When construction is complete, the culvert can be used once again for paddling.

St. Regis Canoe Area

  • The St. Regis Canoe Area web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Due to cool temperatures and the amount of rainfall the Spring Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect. Please protect high elevation trails and vegetation and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until these high elevation trails have dried and hardened. (6/20)
  • Be prepared for all conditions to protect trails and trailside vegetation, hike through mud - not around it. (6/20)
  • Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members replaced 120 feet of bog bridging and hardened 60 feet of trail on the Floodwood to Long Pond Trail. (2018)