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Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: February 16, 2017

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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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 the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors.Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast. (link leaves DEC's website)

Busy Holiday Weekend: Due to the good amount of snow on the ground, the great weather forecast, and the three-day holiday weekend, expect to encounter larger than usual numbers of people on the trails.

Snow: Current snow depths range from 15 to 25 inches. National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information Page (leaves DEC's website) provides additional information on snow conditions.

Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoes or skis is strongly encouraged on all trails. The use of snowshoes or skis prevents "post-holing" (deep footprints in the snow), avoids injuries, and eases travel on snow-covered trails. Post-holing makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be deeper on high elevations summits such as Lyon Mountain. Sight distance can be limited by clouds and snow, sometimes significantly. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Ice on Trails: Thick ice may be present at some locations on exposed bedrock on summits and other open areas. Carry crampons on all hikes and use when conditions warrant.

Ice on Water: Due to periods of thaw and the lack of extremely cold temperatures this winter, ice on ponds and lakes is thinner than usual. Slush or water may be present between the snow cover and the surface of the main layer of ice. Ice over moving water is thin and may have only recently formed. Be safe on the ice.

Ice on Lakes & Ponds: Many lakes and ponds have rivers or streams passing through them. Ice over the channels of rivers or streams in the lakes or ponds is much thinner than other ice on the lake or pond due to the current beneath the ice. Know the location of channels and avoid ice over channels.

Snowmobiles: Snowmobile trails are open and trail conditions are excellent. Snowmobilers should contact the local club or tourist information center to obtain local trail conditions before going out. Snowmobilers are urged to follow designated trails and avoid frozen bodies of water.

Winter Conditions: Be prepared for snow, ice, cold temperatures and short days.

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

  • All gates have been opened on designated snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers should contact the local club or tourist information center to obtain local trail conditions before going out. (12/22)
  • Restoration and rehabilitation of the Lyon Mountain Fire Tower has been completed by DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. (2015)

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.
  • A logging operation is using the C7 Snowmobile Trail (D&H) during the week. (12/22)
  • Public motor vehicle use is prohibited on the D&H Road until the end of the spring mud season. (12/9)
  • Barnes Pond Road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the 2017 Big Game Hunting Season. It will open to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit after the spring mud season. The public can access and use the six designated primitive campsites along the road by foot. (12/8)
    • The six designated campsites are marked with "Camp Here" discs
    • Each site has privies, fire rings, and picnic tables.
    • The campsites are scheduled for some routine maintenance, but are in useable condition.
    • Camping is permitted at designated sites only. Map of road and campsites.
  • 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)
  • All gates have been opened on designated snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers should contact the local club or tourist information center to obtain local trail conditions before going out. (12/22)
  • 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.
  • All gates have been opened on designated snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers should contact the local club or tourist information center to obtain local trail conditions before going out. (12/22)
  • 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)