Trail Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: February 4, 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
- Winter Boots
- Waterproof Outer Wear
- Layers of non-cotton clothing
- Fleece or Wool Hat
- Gloves or Mittens
- Sunglasses (if sunny)
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Snowshoes or skis
- Crampons, spikes or traction devices
- Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
- Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- 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.
Ice on Water: Recent warm temperatures and rain have deteriorated ice conditions. NO ICE IS SAFE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES. Water is present on the surface of ice. Thin spots have opened and open areas around inlets and outlets have expanded. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlets, and near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices. Ice with snow on the surface, may not hold a person's weight.
Prepare for Winter Conditions: Winter conditions are present throughout the area. Days are short, temperatures are below freezing, and snow & ice are present. Wear appropriate footwear, a waterproof outer layer, a hat and layers of non-cotton clothing. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers to keep comfortable. Avoid hypothermia by staying warm & dry, and resting, eating and hydrating often. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries in case you are caught after dark. (2/4)
Snow Information: Snow depths range from 0 to 4 inches, the deeper snow is found in western Clinton County and northwestern Essex County and in the higher elevations. Snow will hard, crunchy or crusty. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service "NERFC Snow Information" for maps depicting current snow depths, daily snowfall amounts, snow forecasts and information about the snowpack. (2/4)
Trail Conditions: Trails are icy with the return to below freezing temperatures after recent warm weather and rain. The use of crampons or spikes is strongly encouraged. Snowshoes should be carried on hikes planned to go to higher elevations such as on Lyon Mountain (3,830 ft) and worn when warranted. The use of snowshoes prevents injuries, eases travel through snow, and avoids "post-holing". Post-holing makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use. Skiing conditions are poor to non-existent due to no snow and icy trails. (2/4)
Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) may be found on trails, especially on trails in the higher elevations and less used trails. (2/4)
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, open areas will be icy, and snow will be deeper. 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. (2/4)
Snowmobile Trails: Gates have been opened on some snowmobile trails. Currently snowmobile trail conditions range from non-existent to poor. Snowmobilers should check local conditions before going out on trails. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers. (2/4)
Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle access at this time. The roads will be reopened after the spring mud season. (2016)
Hunting Season: Small game hunting seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or other hunting implements 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 may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution. (2016)
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.
- Some snowmobile trails and associated gates are open. Currently snowmobile trail conditions range from poor to good. Snowmobilers should check local conditions before going out on trails. (1/14)
- Old Liberty Road is open and groomed from Loon Lake to the Goldsmith Road
- Wolf Pond Mountain Road, which connects Old Liberty Road to Wolf Pond Road in the north, is open and groomed.
- Logging operations are ongoing in the Wolf Pond Road area east of the Wolf Pond Mountain Road's intersection with the Wolf Pond Road. Snowmobilers may encounter plowed roads and log trucks and should exercise caution when traveling on the Wolf Pond Road in the Standish area.
- 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.
- All trails and other infrastructure are in satisfactory condition.
Taylor Pond Wild Forest
- 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)