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Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks

Updated: December 13, 2018

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 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.

Road Conditions and Closures: Check before you travel at NY511 (leaves DEC website).

Winter Weather: Snow, ice, and below freezing temperatures are present throughout the Adirondacks. The National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) provides maps depicting current snow depths, forecasts, and other snow information.

Be Prepared for Winter Conditions with safety tips from this fact sheet and winter safety video (leaves DEC website).

DEC Adventure Adirondacks: Follow the DEC Adventure Adirondacks Group (leaves DEC website) on Facebook for more information on winter hiking safety, preparedness, trail conditions, and trip ideas.

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.
  • Gates on the D&H rail bed (C-7B Snowmobile Route) have been opened. (12/13)
  • The C-7 Snowmobile Route has been groomed from Lake Clear to Loon Lake. (12/13)
  • 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. (11/7)
  • Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program Crew Members installed drainage structures and repaired badly eroded sections of the Debar Meadows-Meacham Lake Trail. (7/5)
  • 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. (3/9)
  • 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.
  • 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. (3/9)

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 gates are closed:
    • Pinnacle Road
    • Howe Access Road
    • Four Mile Road
    • Vanderwalker Road (East Branch St Regis River)
    • Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook
  • Howe Access Road to the Lake Ozonia and Dexter Lake Outlets is newly opened for public motor vehicle use. (2018)

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.
  • Gates on the D&H rail bed (C-7B Snowmobile Route) have been opened. (12/13)
  • The C-7 Snowmobile Route has been groomed from Lake Clear to Loon Lake. (12/13)
  • The gate on the Connery Pond Road is closed. Use the nearby trailhead parking area along State Route 86 (12/6).

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.
  • 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. (7/5)