Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Note: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages. The web pages include information on the western Adirondacks and have been reorganized and reformatted. Individual Forest Preserve units may not be listed on the same page they were previously listed.
Updated: August 25, 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. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) before entering the backcountry.
Trail Conditions: Trails have been drying up but if forecasted thunderstorms and rain occur Thursday afternoon and night, expect trails to be wet and muddy - especially along water bodies, in low lying areas and during & after rain events. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on trails; walk through mud & water to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.
Hot Weather Precautions: DEC Forest Rangers continue to respond to incidents of hikers in distress due to dehydration. Be prepared for hot weather. Wear loose clothing of material that wicks moisture away from your body and protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses and sun block. Drink plenty of water at home, in the car and at the trailhead. Carry at least 2 liters/quarts of water per person; rest often and drink water more often; and replace electrolytes via tablets or other means.
Black Bear Activity: Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks.
- The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
- ALL food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
- Elsewhere, ALL food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters or in a food (aka bear) hang elsewhere.
- Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk.
- These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry.
Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits and other open areas and being on the water during thunderstorms. Immediately move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter at the first sound of thunder. Find a low spot away from tall trees. Seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. The National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC website) provides forecasts for selected summits in this area.
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.
- Volunteers from the Clinton County Historical Association open the Valcour Island Lighthouse (aka Bluff Point Lighthouse) every Sunday in August from 1 pm to 3 pm. (2016)
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 motor vehicle use only for those people with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit. It will reopen to all public motor vehicles in September 2016. Non-motorized use is allowed year-round. (2016)
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)
- DEC thanks the interns and volunteer stewards from the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine (leaving DEC website) who provide local & natural history interpretation, environmental education, and assistance to hikers at the Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower. (2016)
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. (5/12)
- 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)