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Trail Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: August 28, 2014

General Notices

WARNING: Wilderness 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!

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

Mountain Weather Forecast: Weather is an important factor in preparing for hiking or camping in the Adirondack backcountry. Often there is considerable difference in weather conditions at the trailhead and those experienced in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin County. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast.

Lake Champlain Weather Forecast: Weather is also an important factor in preparing for paddling or boat particularly on large bodies of water such as Lake Champlain. The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for Lake Champlain. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast.

Be Prepared in the Winter

  • Know
    • Your own physical capabilities, knowledge of backcountry recreation and skill level
    • The distance you plan to travel and the terrain and conditions you will encounter
  • Check (before entering the backcountry)
    • With the Local Forest Ranger for current information
    • Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
  • Wear
    • Hiking boots
    • Light, light-colored breathable non-cotton clothing
    • Hat to protect from sun, rain & biting insects
    • Sunglasses & sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
  • Carry
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
    • Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
    • Plenty of food and water
  • Pack
    • Extra clothes and socks
    • Waterproof jacket and pants
    • Sunscreen & insect repellent
    • Bivy sack or space blankets in case you need to spend the night in woods
    • Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
  • Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return

Organized Events on State Lands: DEC regulation (190.8(cc)) prohibits any person from sponsoring, conducting or participating in any organized event of more than twenty people unless authorized by DEC under a temporary revocable permit (TRP). DEC seeks to ensure that large groups recreate on forest preserve lands 1) at locations, 2) during certain periods and 3) following practices that minimize their impacts on trails, vegetation, wildlife and other users.

Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation (Section 196.8)prohibiting the use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers are not affected this new regulation. See in the DEC Regulations.

Camping Group Sizes in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC regulation (Section 190.4) requires that groups of ten or more persons camping on state land obtain a permit from a forest ranger. DEC policy prohibits issuing group camping permits to groups wanting to camp on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks that are classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe area. This policy was developed to protect natural resources, the primeval character of the area and exceptional wilderness experiences for all recreationists, and follows Leave No Trace practices. Except for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness and the William C. Whitney Wilderness, where the group size is 8, camping groups in wilderness, primitive and canoe area lands are limited to 9 people or less.

Camping Permits: Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more in Wild Forest lands requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. The following information must be provided to the forest ranger to obtain a camping permit: Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code, Vehicle License Plate Number, Telephone Number, Date of Birth, Number in Group, Camping Dates, and Location of Campsite.

Backcountry Campsites: Camping at designated campsites in the backcountry is done on a first come, first served basis. There is no reservation system for these primitive campsites. Campsites in popular areas fill up quickly on weekends so plan accordingly.

Road & Traffic Information: Use the link in the right column to visit NYS Department of Transportation 511 New York for information on transportation services, traffic, and road conditions throughout New York State.

Trails Supporter Patch: The Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

Seasonal Notices

Fire Danger: MODERATE, be cautious with campfires. Check the current Fire Danger Map. (8/28)

Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. See the information under the "Be Prepared" heading above to ensure you are prepared. 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, use the National Weather Service "NWS Weather Forecast" link near the bottom of the right column to check the current weather forecast before entering the backcountry. (8/28)

Labor Day Weekend: Due to the holiday weekend visitors can expect trailhead parking lots and interior campsites to reach capacity in the more popular locations. Expect to encounter many people on the trails and waters. Plan accordingly and consider recreating in less popular trails and waters of the Adirondacks. (8/28)

Trail Conditions: The lack of any significant rains over the past week has allowed trails to dry going into the weekend. However, rains are forecast for Sunday and Monday. Low areas, drainages and trails along waters may still be wet and muddy. Wear gaiters and appropriate footwear. Walk through - not around - wet and muddy areas to avoid further eroding and widening trails. (8/28)

Paddlers & Boaters: Water levels at or slightly above average for this time of year. Although Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) are not required at his time, paddlers and boaters are strongly encouraged to wear PFDs at all times while on the water. Children under age 12 are required to wear a PFD at all times while on the water. Strong currents and cold water can quickly cause a person without a PFD to lose their ability to keep their head above water. Use the "USGS Current Streamflow for NY Waters" link near the bottom right column to check water levels and flows in select waters. (8/28)

Biting Insects: Mosquitoes are present in the backcountry, but not in large numbers in most places. Minimize the nuisance of biting insects: (8/28)

  • Wear light colored clothing
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants
  • Tuck shirts into pants
  • Button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist
  • Tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks
  • Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick
  • Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions
  • Check for and remove ticks

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are typically dirt or gravel roads that often are rough and muddy with rocks sticking up in locations. Shoulders are soft, ditched or even non existent. Drivers should always drive slowly and use caution when operating on these roads. Pickup trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles are recommended - four wheel drive vehicles will serve even better. (8/28)

Bear Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks. All campers should follow these practices to avoid attracting black bears: (8/28)

  • Store food, toiletries & garbage in a bear resistant canister away from the campsite or lean-to;
  • If you don't use a bear resistant canister hang your food, toiletries and garbage at least 15 feet above the ground and 10 feet away from any trees;
  • Prepare food away from the campsite or lean-to, and prepare and eat food well before dark;
  • Take food out immediately before preparation and/or eating;
  • Take out only as much food as will be eaten; and
  • If approached by a bear make noise and make all reasonable efforts to keep bears from obtaining food, but do not risk physical contact. Back away from the bear, but never run.

Summits: Conditions on and near summits of high elevation mountains are more extreme - stronger winds and cooler temperatures. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service "NWS Mountain Forecasts" for selected summits in this area. (8/28)

Blowdown: Due to recent storms blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails. (8/28)

Specific Notices

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest

  • All trails and other recreational facilities are in satisfactory condition.

Jay Mountain Wilderness

  • A 2.5-mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge starts at a trailhead at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road in the town of Jay. The trailhead is on Forest Preserve lands 300 feet downhill from the old herd path. Parking is available for 5 cars. At the end of the new trail, a short spur trail to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree scenic view. Hikers can continue along the ridge line, following rock cairns, for approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Jay Mountain. (2014)
  • A bridge on the Carlott Road, one of the roads to access the Jay Mountain Road from the southeast, is closed. (2012)

Lake Champlain Islands

  • The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a "Lake Champlain Forecast". Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast. (2014)
  • The Valcour Island Lighthouse (also known as the Bluff Point Lighthouse) is currently closed for restoration. (8/21)

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands

  • The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Barnes Road has been repaired and six campsites can now be by MAPPWD permit holders. (7/2)
  • The D&H Road is open through is whole length. (6/19)
  • The directional sign for the Fishhole Pond Fishing Access Site along Franklin County Route 26 has been replaced. (6/19)
  • Grass Pond and Fishhole Pond Fishing Access Sites are open and in satisfactory condition. (5/22)
  • The roadside sign at the Cold Brook PUA parking area on Standish road is missing and scheduled to be replaced.(5/22)
  • The Barnes Pond Road is closed to public motor vehicle traffic, the gate is closed and locked. It can be accessed by motor vehicle by by people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). (2014)

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A 700-foot long accessible access trail provides scenic views of Webb Royce Swamp for birders, wildlife observers and outdoor photographers of all abilities. (2014)
    • The trailhead parking lot is located on the east side of Clark Road about 0.6 miles from Route 9/Lake Shore Road.
    • Leaving the parking lot, the hardened access trail travels through a field in the early stages of succession, then crosses a hedgerow into another field that is actively mowed before ending at a raised pad overlooking the swamp.
    • The pad provides unblocked views across a large expanse of the swamp and serves as a turn around spot for wheelchairs.
    • The variety of habitats that can be viewed from the access trail provides an opportunity to view a wide range of bird species and other wildlife.
  • The National Weather Service in Burlington provides a weather forecast for Lake Champlain. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to access the forecast. (2014)

Taylor Pond Wild Forest

  • All trails and other recreational facilities are in satisfactory condition.