Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: October 21, 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.
WEEKEND SNOW FORECAST: Weather forecasts vary but some weather services forecast accumulations of snow ranging from three to eight inches this weekend in the western portions of this region. Snow depths will be deeper in higher elevations. Hikers should plan and prepare accordingly.
Rain, Snow, and Wind: Significant amounts of rain are forecast through the weekend with rain mixing with snow before changing to all snow. Winds will get stronger through the weekend. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) and the National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for the latest snow information.
High Elevation Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be present and deeper than depths at trailheads on summits. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
Trail Conditions: Trails will be wet and muddy through midday Saturday and then become a mix of water, mud, ice, and snow before becoming snow covered.
- Wet leaves, snow and ice will make for slippery trails - wear proper footwear and traction devices.
- Snowshoes may be warranted late Saturday and on Sunday especially in higher elevations such as Lyon Mountain.
- Remain on trails. Walk through mud & water and on snow & ice to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.
Avoid Hypothermia: The forecasted wet and cold weather provides ideal conditions for hypothermia.
- Wear waterproof outer layers.
- Wear layers of fleece, wool, and other non-cotton clothing.
- Pack extra clothing including a fleece, wool or other non-cotton jacket or sweater.
- Add or remove layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
- Wear cold weather hat and gloves (or mittens).
- Eat, drink and rest often.
Shorter Days: Autumn has arrived the sun sets earlier each day.
- Sunset is around 6:00 pm, earlier in deep valleys and on northern and eastern facing slopes.
- It will become darker sooner when skies are cloud covered.
- Plan to return to the trailhead by sunset but always carry a flashlight or headlamp just in case.
Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) may be present on trails as winds strengthen, especially on trails in the higher elevations.
Water Levels: Waters level are low but will rise with the forecasted precipitation. Use caution when traversing low water crossings and drainages.
Autumn Foliage: Track the changing colors of the leaves in the Adirondacks, view the New York Fall Foliage Report (leaves DEC website).
Hunting Seasons: The regular Northern Zone Big Game hunting season opens this weekend. Small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are also 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.
Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
- Restoration and rehabilitation of the Lyon Mountain Fire Tower has been completed by DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. (2015)
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.
- Barnes Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use, including access to the six designated primitive campsites along the road. The six designated campsites are marked with "Camp Here" discs and have privies, fire rings, and picnic tables. The campsites y are schedule for some routine maintenance, but are in useable condition. Camping is permitted at designated sites only. Map of road and campsites. (9/29)
- 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. (9/29)
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. (10/13)
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)