Trail Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: May 24, 2013
WARNING: Wilderness 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!
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
Mountain Weather Forecast: Weather is an important factor in preparing for hiking or camping in the Adirondack backcountry. Often there is considerable difference in weather conditions at the trailhead and those experienced in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin County. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast.
Lake Champlain Weather Forecast: Weather is also an important factor in preparing for paddling or boat particularly on large bodies of water such as Lake Champlain. The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for Lake Champlain. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast.
- Your own physical capabilities, knowledge of backcountry recreation and skill level
- The distance you plan to travel and the terrain and conditions you will encounter
- Check (before entering the backcountry)
- With the Local Forest Ranger for current information.
- Current weather conditions, snow depths and short-term forecast
- Appropriate outer wear and winter foot wear (boots, gaiters and waterproof outerwear)
- Hat and gloves or mittens
- Layers of non-cotton clothes
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces
- Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth
- Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
- Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return
Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation prohibiting the use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers is not affected by this new regulation. See Section 196.8 in the DEC Regulations.
Camping Group Sizes in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC regulation requires that groups of ten or more persons camping on state land obtain a permit from a forest ranger. DEC policy prohibits issuing group camping permits to groups wanting to camp on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks that are classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe area. This policy was developed to protect natural resources, the primeval character of the area and exceptional wilderness experiences for all recreationists, and follows Leave No Trace practices. Except for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness and the William C. Whitney Wilderness, where the group size is 8, camping groups in wilderness, primitive and canoe area lands are limited to 9 people or less.
Camping Permits: Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more in Wild Forest lands requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. The following information must be provided to the forest ranger to obtain a camping permit: Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code, Vehicle License Plate Number, Telephone Number, Date of Birth, Number in Group, Camping Dates, and Location of Campsite.
Backcountry Campsites: Camping at designated campsites in the backcountry is done on a first come, first served basis. There is no reservation system for these primitive campsites. Campsites in popular areas fill up quickly on weekends so plan accordingly.
Road & Traffic Information: Use the link in the right column to visit NYS Department of Transportation 511 New York for information on transportation services, traffic, and road conditions throughout New York State.
Trails Supporter Patch: The Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.
Memorial Day Weekend: Trailhead parking lots, boat launches and interior campsites may reach capacity across the region. Plan accordingly and seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the Adirondack Forest Preserve to avoid crowds. (5/23)
Bear Activity: Black bears are becoming active in the backcountry. The use of bear-resistant canisters is encouraged throughout the Adirondacks. Prevent creating nuisance bears by properly using bear-resistant canisters, by storing all food, toiletries and garbage in the canister and by following other practices to prevent attracting bears. (5/23)
Biting Insect: Until the end of summer black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies and/or midges (no-see-ums) will be present. Take steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: (5/23)
- Wear light colored clothing;
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, and tuck shirts into pants;
- Button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist;
- Tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks;
- Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick;
- Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.
Road Construction and Parking Area Closures: Road construction on the Old Military Road, which connects Route 73 and Route 86 near Lake Placid, is scheduled to be completed on Friday. Motor vehicles may still be required to detour through the village of Lake Placid during the day Friday. Old Military Road should be open to traffic throughout the holiday weekend. Use the link in the right column to visit NYS Department of Transportation 511 New York for information on transportation services, traffic, and road conditions throughout the Adirondacks. (5/23)
Trail Conditions: Recent rains and the forecast for showers throughout the weekend means trails will be wet and muddy. Water levels are high; low water crossings may be unpassable and trails along waters may be flooded. Wear appropriate footwear for hiking through wet and muddy areas. Stay on the trail and hike through muddy areas to avoid widening the trails or creating "herd paths". Always check current weather conditions and forecasts before entering the backcountry. Use the link near bottom of the right column to view the current National Weather Service "Weather Forecast". (5/23)
Paddling Conditions: Water levels are high on most waters after recent rains and waters temperatures remain cold. Don't paddle alone, wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD). Use the link near the bottom of right column to view the USGS Streamflows for selected waters in this area. (5/23)
Summits: Conditions on and near summits are more extreme - stronger winds and cooler temperatures. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service's "Mountain Forecasts" for selected summits in this area. (5/23)
Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used trails. Plan accordingly. (5/23)
Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
- The gate on Red Road on Terry Mountain is open and the road open for vehicle access. (5/17)
- DEC has begun developing the Chazy Highlands Complex Unit Management Plan. A public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 23, at the Saranac Central School in Saranac, NY, at 6:30 pm to obtain suggestions for recreational opportunities on the lands within the complex. (5/10)
- The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Thanks to the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail crew there is now a completely new trail from the trailhead to the summit. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion. (2011)
- Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. DEC thanks the Town of Dannemora Highway Department for installing the posts for the signs and register box. (2011)
- The newly acquired Forest Preserve lands on the Standish and Chazy Lake Roads in the Lyon Mountain area, and on the Smith and Carter Roads in the Ellenburg Mountain area, are open for public use. State boundary lines are not yet marked, contact the DEC Region 5 Natural Resources office (518-891-1291) to obtain a property map. Be aware of your location at all times, do not trespass. (2009)
Jay Mountain Wilderness
- A new 2.5-mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge is open. The trail starts at a new trailhead at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road in the town of Jay. The new trailhead is on Forest Preserve lands 300 feet downhill from the old herd path. Parking is available for 5 cars. At the end of the new trail, a short spur trail to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree scenic view. Hikers can continue along the ridgeline, following rock cairns, for approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Jay Mountain. DEC contracted with the Student Conservation Association's Adirondack Program and the Adirondack Mountain Club's (ADK) Professional Trail Crew to build the trail with DEC staff. The new trailhead was constructed by the Town of Jay Highway Department, with additional work by inmate crews from the Department of Correctional Services Moriah Shock Camp and DEC staff. There are some rough sections of trail that DEC will be working to improve in the future. See the press release for more details. (2012)
- A bridge on the Carlott Road, one of the roads to access the Jay Mountain Road from the southeast, is closed. (2012)
Lake Champlain Islands
- The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a forecast for Lake Champlain. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast. (2012)
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
- A new web page has been developed for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Public highways and roads designated for use by to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) are open to public motor vehicle use. As explained on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page other roads are open to the public for hiking and biking but will not be open to motor vehicle usage until some time in the future. MAPPWD holders must check with the DEC Ray Brook Land & Forests office (518-897-1291) for information about motor vehicle access on the designated roads.(2012)
- Accessible campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available to for use and the privy on campsite #2 has been repaired. (2012)
- People with disabilities with a MAPPWD permit can used motorized vehicles to access the accessible campsite on the North Branch Saranac River, north of the Goldsmith Road. (2011)
- Accessible campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. (2011)
- Two new accessible fishing/waterway access sites have been constructed on Fishhole Pond and Grass Pond. The facility is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and provides outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The features that provide accessibility for people with disabilities include: universally accessible parking area designed to accommodate up to five vehicles; ADA compliant access ramp; and universally accessible platform designed for getting in and out of boats, canoes and kayaks. Contact the Region 5 Lands & Forests Office (518-897-1291) for more information and directions to these facilities. (2011)
Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest
- A new web page has been developed for the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- The gate at the Lewis Clearing Trailhead is closed. (5/9)
- A 700-foot long accessible access trail provides scenic views of Webb Royce Swamp for birders, wildlife observers and outdoor photographers of all abilities. (2012)
- The trailhead parking lot is located on the east side of Clark Road about 0.6 miles from Route 9/Lake Shore Road.
- Leaving the parking lot, the hardened access trail travels through a field in the early stages of succession, then crosses a hedgerow into another field that is actively mowed before ending at a raised pad overlooking the swamp.
- The pad provides unblocked views across a large expanse of the swamp and serves as a turn around spot for wheelchairs.
- The variety of habitats that can be viewed from the access trail provides an opportunity to view a wide range of bird species and other wildlife.
- The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for Lake Champlain. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast. (2012)
Taylor Pond Wild Forest
- Rock climbing routes on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain's Main Face between and including Shark Week (#106) and Lichenstorm (#167) (See pages 39-45 of Adirondack Rock - A Rock Climber's Guide) are closed due to confirmed peregrine falcon nesting activity. The rock climbing routes are closed to allow Peregrine Falcons to raise their young. DEC will reopen he climbing routes once the young falcons have fledged which is typically by August 1. (5/16)
- The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season. DEC appreciates the work and efforts of the Friends of the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower and the fire tower steward. (2012)