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Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks

NOTE: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages and 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.

Map of showing the Northern Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: May 26, 2016

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 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.

Spring Conditions: Trails are dry and firm for this time of year. However, mud and water are present on trails along water bodies, in low lying areas and in higher elevations. Walk through mud and water - not around - to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.

Water Levels: Waters levels are low. Low water crossings are passable. Paddlers and boaters should watch for unexpected obstacles above or just below the water. Some sections of rivers and streams may not be passable.

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are open. Seasonal access roads can be rough, the use of 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, SUVs and other high clearance motor vehicles is recommended.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder 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.

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

  • 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.
  • Mountain Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic. (5/26)
  • 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

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.
  • Public access to the Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands via the Madawaska Road between Madawaska Pond from Route 458 is unavailable at this time. DEC continues to work to reopen public access to this area. (2016)

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest

  • The locks on the Saranac Chain of Lakes are operating and will be staffed from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm on Friday through Monday. (5/26)
  • Connery Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic. (5/12)
  • 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. (5/12)
  • Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road which provides access to Meadow Pond, Lindsey Pond, and St. Germain Pond is open to public motor vehicle traffic. (5/12)
  • 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: