Trail Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: April 28, 2016
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!
Be Prepared for Winter Conditions
- 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
- Snow depths
- Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
- Waterproof Outer Wear
- Layers of non-cotton clothing
- Sunglasses (if sunny)
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Spikes or other traction devices
- Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
- Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Fleece or Wool Hat
- Gloves or Mittens
- Bivy sack or space blankets in case you need to spend the night in woods
- Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
- Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
All links to regulations leave DEC website.
Electronic Technology: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Prepare before the trip and carry a map and compass for navigation or at least as backup.
Organized Events on State Lands: DEC regulation (190.8(cc)) prohibits any person from sponsoring, conducting or participating in any organized event of more than twenty people unless authorized by DEC under a temporary revocable permit (TRP). DEC seeks to ensure that large groups recreate on forest preserve lands 1) at locations, 2) during certain periods and 3) following practices that minimize their impacts on trails, vegetation, wildlife and other users.
Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation (Section 196.8)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 are not affected this new regulation. See in the DEC Regulations.
Camping Group Sizes in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC regulation (Section 190.4) 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.
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, use the National Weather Service "NWS Weather Forecast" link near the bottom of the right column to check the current weather forecast before entering the backcountry.
Fire Danger: Moderate. Plenty of dead, dry vegetation remains present. Never leave campfires unattended and be sure campfires are out and embers are cool. Current Fire Danger Map. (4/28)
Early Spring Trail Conditions: Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-50s, nighttime low temperatures will be in the mid-30s. A chance of rain showers forecasted for Sunday. (4/28)
Mud & Water on Trails: Middle and high elevation trails are muddy and wet. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on the trails and walk through mud & water to protect trails. Walking around mud & water erodes trails and damages trailside vegetation. (4/28)
Ice on Trails: High elevation trails may be icy where snow was compacted through the winter. All hikers should carry micro-spikes and wear them when warranted. Remain on the trails and walk on ice to protect trails. Walking around ice erodes trails and damages trailside vegetation. (4/28)
Snow on Trails: Snow may still present on trails in the highest elevations especially in heavily wooded areas and on north facing slopes. (4/28)
Water Crossings: Water levels in rivers and streams are high but well below average for this time of year. Water temperatures are cold. Melt water is flowing in drainages. Low water crossings that are passable in the morning may not be in the afternoon. (4/28)
Ice on Water: Ice is out all waters. (4/28)
Water Levels & Temperatures: Waters levels are high but well below average for this time of year. Water temperatures are very cold. A person fell into the water could quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water. People boating or paddling should wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. PFDs are required to be worn by all people in watercraft less than 21 feet in length until May 1st. (4/28)
Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) on trails, especially on trails in the higher elevations and less used trails. (4/28)
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, bedrock and ice and snow will be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service "NWS Mountain Forecasts" for selected summits in this area. (4/28)
Seasonal Access Roads: Gates have been closed and seasonal access roads will remain closed through the spring mud season. DEC will reopen the roads once any needed maintenance is completed and the roads are dry enough to safely handle public motor vehicle traffic. Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season will damage roads and result in road opening delays. (4/28)
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)
Jay Mountain Wilderness
- Information about the recreational opportunities in the Jay Mountain Wilderness, including a map, is available.
- All trails and other infrastructure are in satisfactory condition.
Lake Champlain Islands
- The Valcour Island Lighthouse (also known as the Bluff Point Lighthouse) is currently closed for restoration. (2016)
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
- The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- The D&H Road is closed to public motor vehicle use. The road will reopen to motor vehicle use once the spring mud season ends. (2016)
- Barnes Pond Road is closed to all public motor vehicle use. The road will reopen to motor vehicle use for those people with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit once the spring mud season ends. It will reopen to all public motor vehicles in September 2016. Non-motorized use is allowed year-round. (2016)
Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest
- Information about the recreational opportunities in the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest, including a map, is available.
- Nothing to report.
Taylor Pond Wild Forest
- All rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest, except the following the routes between and including "Opposition" and "Womb with a View". (4/7)
- Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season. DEC thanks the interns and volunteer stewards from the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine (leaving DEC website) who provided local & natural history interpretation, environmental education, and assistance to hikers. (2016)