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Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: February 15, 2018

Map of showing the Northeastern Region of the Adirondacks

General Notices

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!

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Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information for important general notices and information which apply across the Adirondacks.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC's website) when recreating in the Adirondacks.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast (leaves DEC website) and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data, forecasts, and snow depths.

Holiday Weekend: Due to the three day Presidents' Day holiday weekend expect to encounter more vehicles at trailheads and more people and snowmobiles on the trails.

Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Snow depths range from 8 to 20 inches
  • See the NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for current snow information.
  • Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience. (leaves DEC's website)
  • Be prepared for cold weather and avoid hypothermia, wear:
    • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
    • Waterproof footwear
    • Layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing (not cotton!)
    • Hat and gloves or mittens

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered in 8 to 20 inches of snow. Trails may have ice on the surface of the snow due to recent and forecasted warm weather and rain. Thick ice is present on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas.

  • Snow shoes or skis are should be worn on all trails.
  • Trail crampons and other traction devices should be carried during outings on low elevation and less steep trails and used when warranted.
  • Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons during outings on steep slopes in the high elevations and use when warranted.

Mountain Summits: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead.

  • Temperatures will be colder
  • Winds will be stronger
  • Wind chill temperatures will be much lower
  • Snow will be deeper
  • Ice will be thicker

Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leave DEC website) for selected summits.

Ice on Water Surfaces: Ice has formed and thickened on most waterbodies. Ice on rivers and streams is less thick. Be safe on ice.

  • Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
  • Avoid ice:
    • Over running water
    • Near inlets & outlet
    • Near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight; the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Snowmobile Trails: Snowmobile trails systems throughout the Adirondacks are open. Check local conditions before going out. Be safe when snowmobiling. (leaves DEC's website)

Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.

Specific Notices

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest

  • Gates on the snowmobile access trail in the nearby Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area in Rouses Point have been open to provide access to Catfish Bay and Kings Bay on Lake Champlain. (2018)

Lake Champlain Islands

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands

  • The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Snowmobiling is allowed on Wolf Pond Road and Liberty Road only. All other roads in the easement are closed to snowmobile use. This includes Goat Path Road, Piney Ridge Road, and D&H Road which are being used by logging trucks. (2018)
  • The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed and road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the opening of the big game season. (2018)

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.
  • Gates are open on all snowmobile trails. Check local conditions before going out. (2018)
  • Rehabilitation of lower half of the Ranger Trail on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain had been completed by Tahawus Trails LLC under contract with the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine (leaves DEC's website) and oversight of DEC. The Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew will be working on the reroute of the upper half of the trail this Fall. (2017)

Wilmington Wild Forest

  • The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A small section of the Whiteface Mountain Trail just above the junction with the Whiteface Highway (Wilmington Turn) has been rerouted to avoid the hazard created by variable ice conditions and the "rock cut" of the highway. (1/18)
  • More than 1.5 miles of bike trails, including a new loop opportunity, have been added to the Beaver Brook Trail Network. (2017)
  • 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 outlet of Cooper Kill Pond is flooded by beaver activity. (2009)