Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: March 23, 2017
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 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).
Snow: Snow depths range from 8 to 20 inches as you move from east to west in this area. National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information Page (leaves DEC's website) provides additional information on snow conditions.
Trail Conditions: Trails are covered with snow. Secondary, less used trails may have blowdown (fallen or leaning trees, limbs and branches) and may require "breaking trail". Snowbridges and ice on most stream crossings have only recently formed and may not hold the weight of a person.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be deeper on high elevation summits such as Lyon Mountain. Sight distance can be limited by blowing snow, sometimes significantly. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC's website) for selected summits.
Snowshoes or Skis: Snowshoes or skis should be used on all trails covered in 8 inches or more of snow. The use of snowshoes prevents "post-holing" (deep footprints in the snow), avoids injuries, and eases travel on snow-covered trails. Post-holing makes trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use.
Snowmobiles: Some trails systems and gates on individual trails are closed. Contact the local club or tourist information center (leaves DEC website) for information on opened trails and local trail conditions before going out. Trail Conditions: All trails are covered with up to 3 feet of new snow.
Ice on Water: Ice had thinned, weakened, and receded from inlets, outlets and shorelines before the recent cold spell. Ice on rivers, streams, and most channels of moving water only recently formed during the very cold temperatures and is very thin even though it is covered with snow. Ice that can hold snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person. No ice should be considered safe without checking the thickness and condition first. Be safe on the ice.
Winter Conditions: Be prepared for snow, ice, cold temperatures and short days.
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
- Nothing to report.
Lake Champlain Islands
- The Lake Champlain Islands Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Nothing to report.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
- The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Public motor vehicle use is prohibited on the D&H Road until the end of the spring mud season. (2017)
- Barnes Pond Road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the 2017 Big Game Hunting Season. It will open to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit after the spring mud season. The public can access and use the six designated primitive campsites along the road by foot. (12/8)
- The six designated campsites are marked with "Camp Here" discs
- Each site has privies, fire rings, and picnic tables.
- The campsites are scheduled for some routine maintenance, but are in useable condition.
- Camping is permitted at designated sites only. Map of road and campsites.
- A new parking area (44.6004°N, 74.1359°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website) has been constructed off Franklin County Route 26 (aka Old Route 99) north of Loon Lake which provides access to the northern portion of the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area. A 0.4-mile foot trail follows an old skid road east from the parking area, through a log landing, and continues on to access the banks of Plumadore Brook - a trout stream. The stream bank access point also provides scenic views of the Loon Lake Mountain Range to the west. (2016)
Taylor Pond Complex (Taylor Pond Wild Forest, Terry Mountain State Forest, Burnt Hill State Forest, Franklin Falls Easement Tract, Shell Rock Easement Tract, and Black Brook Easement Tract)
- The Taylor Pond Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine and follows the Saranac River through this area. (2016)
- Significant trail work has been completed on the Ranger Trail on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain. Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine (leaving DEC website) hired Tahawus Trails LLC and an Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew to upgrade the existing trail under DEC supervision. Stone steps were installed and portions of the trail are rerouted. One trail reroute passes some interesting rock features. (2016)
Wilmington Wild Forest
- The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- 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)
- The map of the Beaver Brook Trail system has been updated to include a new 3.0 mile trail on the east side of Hardy Road. See the Beaver Brook Trail System web page for more information and a link to the map. (2015)
- The outlet of Cooper Kill Pond is flooded by beaver activity. (2009)