Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: November 22, 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!

Sign up for DEC Delivers

Enter email address:

Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information for important general notices and information which apply across 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 (leaves DEC's website).

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

Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions: Expect to encounter below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Temperatures are forecast to be warmer and little to no snow will be present in the low elevation, southeastern portion of this region. Snow and snow showers are forecast but no significant accumulation is in the forecast at this time. Be prepared for conditions:

  • Avoid hypothermia, stay dry and warm.
  • Be prepared for wet and cold conditions with:
    • Waterproof outer layer
    • Wear layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing.
    • Hat and gloves or mittens.

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.

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered with fallen leaves, a dusting to 2 inches of snow, and ice - except in low elevation, southeastern portion of this region where trails have fallen leaves or bare ground. Water and mud may be present on some portions of trail throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Wet, icy, and snow-covered leaves can be very slippery, use caution when walking on leaves - particularly on steep sections of trail.
  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices - especially on steep sections of trail and at water crossings where rocks may be covered with a layer of ice.
  • Due to recent high winds, expect to encounter blow down (fallen or hanging trees, limbs and branches) on trails.
  • Walk through mud and water - not around - to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails.

Ice on Water: Ice has formed or begun forming on

  • Ponds and small lakes;
  • Backwaters and pools of streams and rivers;
  • Bays and along the shoreline of larger water bodies.

Ice will not bear the weight of person at this time. Remember ice that holds snow still doesn't hold the weight of a person.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, snow will be deeper, & ice will be present.

  • Wear a jacket or coat (outer shell) that blocks wind when on summits or other exposed areas.
  • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing to wear on summits.
  • Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC's website) for selected summits.

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

  • Nothing to report.

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.
  • Barnes Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use and will remain open through the big game hunting season The public can access and use the six designated primitive campsites along the road by foot. Camping is permitted at designated sites only. Map of road and campsites. (10/19)
  • Barnes Pond Road is open to ATVs for people with a Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). MAPPWD permit holders should contact the DEC Ray Brook Office at 518-897-1291 for information on how to access the road. Camping is permitted at designated sites only. Map of road and campsites. (2017)
  • 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. (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.
  • 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. (8/31)

Wilmington Wild Forest

  • The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • More than 1.5 miles of bike trails, including a new loop opportunity, have been added to the Beaver Brook Trail Network. (7/20)
  • 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)