Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks
Note: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages. The web pages include information on the western Adirondacks and have been reorganized and reformatted. Individual Forest Preserve units may not be listed on the same page they were previously listed.
Updated: September 29, 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 weather and other conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Weather forecasts can and do change. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) before entering the backcountry.
Shorter Days: Autumn has arrived the sun sets earlier each day. Sunset is around 6:40 pm, earlier in deep valleys and on northern and eastern facing slopes. Plan to return to the trailhead by sunset but always carry a flashlight or headlamp when hiking.
Cooler Days: Autumn has arrived and the days and nights are cooler. Night time temperatures are forecast to be below freezing this weekend with daytime highs in the 40s & 50s. Wear layers of non-cotton clothing and pack extra clothing including a non-cotton jacket or sweater and a hat. Add and remove layers to regulate your body temperature.
Autumn Foliage: Track the changing colors of the leaves in the Adirondacks, view the New York Fall Foliage Report (leaves DEC website).
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. The National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC website) provides forecasts for selected summits in this area.
Hunting Seasons: Some big game, small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers can wear bright colors as an extra precaution if it makes them more comfortable.
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
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
- A trail has been built to the fire tower on summit of 3,355-foot Loon Lake Mountain. A trailhead parking area is located on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. Trail map and press release with more information. (2013)
Kushaqua Tract Easement
- The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- 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)
- A trail has been built to the fire tower on summit of 3,355-foot Loon Lake Mountain. A trailhead parking area is located on the west side of of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. Trail map and press release with more information. (2013)
Paul Smith College Easement
- The Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Nothing to report.
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. Currently, there is no sign to identify the road. (2016)
Saranac Lakes Wild Forest
- The Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain will be closed until Spring 2017 beginning the end of the Columbus Day Holiday. Boaters should have their boats on the desired side of the locks before dark on October 10 or they will need to transport their boat by trailer. Boats upstream of the locks can be removed from the water at the Second Pond Boat Launch along State Route 3. Boats downstream of the locks can be removed from the water at the Lake Flower Boat Launch in Saranac Lake. (9/29)
- Channel markers in the sections of the Saranac River between Middle Saranac Lake & Lower Saranac and Second Pond & Oseetah Lake have been moved closer to direct boats to remain in the deeper waters in the center of the channel. Boaters should slow down and use caution when meeting and passing boats coming in the opposite direction. (8/11)
- 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)
- Construction is occurring on the State Route 86 Bridge over the West Branch Ausable River about three miles northeast of Lake Placid. (2016)
- Construction is expected to continue unit November 1st.
- Parking near the bridge will be restricted.
- Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are discouraged from using the parking areas near the bridge. Use the parking area along Route 86 near the Connery Pond Road.
- Paddlers using that section of the river are advised to find an alternate takeout. Paddlers are discouraged from paddling under the bridge during the construction period.
- Entering the construction site or staging area is prohibited.
- Anyone parking near the bridge should use caution when pulling out of the parking area.
- Pedestrians crossing the road should use the marked crosswalk.
- The typical location for roadside parking for access to the McKenzie Pond Boulder Field has been posted with no parking signs by the Essex County Highway Department. A location a short distance away on the other side of the road now is designated with signs for roadside parking. DEC plans to develop a parking area for the McKenzie Pond Boulder Field after the Saranac Lake Wild Forest UMP is finalized, until then boulderers should use the designated roadside parking. (2016)
St. Regis Canoe Area
- The St. Regis Canoe Area web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Maps depicting the current location of campsites can be viewed by using the links in the left column. Maps in PDF can be downloaded also be view and downloaded Map 1 - Long Pond region (PDF, 166 KB) and Map 2 -St Regis Pond region (PDF, 181 KB).
- 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 to restore and rehabilitate the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower for this year. The fire tower remains closed to public use at this time. (2015)
- 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:
- Loon Lake Mountain Trail Map - Map of the trail to the fire tower on the summmit of Loon Lake Mountain
- St Regis Canoe Area Campsite Map 1 - Map depicting the current location of campsites in the Long Pond region of the St. Regis Canoe Area
- St Regis Canoe Area Campsite Map 2 - Map depicting the current location of campsites in the St. Regis Pond region of the St. Regis Canoe Area