Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
Updated: April 27, 2017
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 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).
Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season. The roads will be reopened after they have dried, hardened, and any necessary maintenance. DEC plans to have all seasonal roads open before the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. However, wet, cold weather and other factors could prevent the opening individual roads or sections of roads. Check the Specific Notices below for the status of individual roads or road systems.
Trail Conditions: Deep snows are still present above 3,300 feet (Lyon Mountain is 3,830 feet high). Snow on trails will be soft in the afternoon - snowshoes are recommended. Hard-packed snow and ice may be present on heavily used trails above 2,700 feet - carry microspikes and use them when warranted. Otherwise trails are wet and muddy, especially in low spots and along waterways.
Protect Trails & Trailside Vegetation: Stay on trails to protect vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails, especially in the higher elevations. Walk through mud and water, use microspikes to walk on hard-packed snow and ice, and use snowshoes to get through deep, soft snow. Do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails.
Water Conditions: Water levels are at average spring-time high levels and water temperatures are reminded that until May 1 all persons on any boat, kayak, or canoe must be wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD aka). Anglers are encouraged to wear PFDs when wading or fishing from steep shorelines. A person submersed in cold water can lose consciousness in minutes, a PFD will keep their head above water and prevent drowning.
Water Crossings: High water levels will make crossings of some rivers and streams difficult, treacherous or even impossible.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be present on high elevation 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.
Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
- Deep snow is present above 3,000 feet. Carry and use microspikes and snowshoes when climbing Lyon Mountain. (4/27)
Lake Champlain Islands
- The Lake Champlain Islands Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Nothing to report.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
- The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Public motor vehicle use is prohibited on the D&H Road until the end of the spring mud season. (2017)
- 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. (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)
- Beginning April 1, all rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain except for the climbing routes between (and including) Opposition and A Womb With A View will be closed to allow peregrine falcons to breed and choose a nesting site. (3/30)
- 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. (2016)
Wilmington Wild Forest
- The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Although trailheads and lower elevation trails are without snow, DEEP SNOW is present in the higher elevations. If you plan to hike to the summit Whiteface Mountain, Catamount Mountain, or the Stephenson Range, CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM when snow is deeper than your lower shins. CARRY SNOWSHOES OR DO NOT CONTINUE UP TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER SNOW. (4/20)
- 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 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)