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Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: April 20, 2018

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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Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information for important general notices and information which apply across the Adirondacks.

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast (leaves DEC website) and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data, forecasts, and snow depths.

Late Winter/Early Spring Conditions: Snow and ice remain present throughout most of the Adirondacks.

  • Expect to encounter 1-4 inches of recently fallen, wet snow in the lower elevations.
  • Woods, north facing slopes, and other shaded areas will have deeper snow
  • Snow remains deep in the highest elevations with fresh accumulations during the past week.
  • NERFC Snow Page provides current snow information.

Cool and Cold Temperatures:

  • In the lower elevations, daytime temperatures are forecast in the 40s and 50s this weekend
  • Night time and morning temperatures will be below freezing.
  • Temperatures will remain below freezing throughout the day in the higher elevations (above 3,000 feet)

Be Prepared for Conditions: Stay dry and warm to avoid hypothermia, bring/wear:

  • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
  • Waterproof footwear
  • Layers of synthetic or wool clothing (not cotton!)
  • Hat and gloves or mittens

Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience. (link leaves DEC's website)

Low Elevation Trail Conditions:

  • Compacted snow has turned to ice on many lower elevation trails, creating "monorails" on the trails as surrounding snow melts.
  • Low elevation trails will be covered in mud, snow, and ice in various combinations.
  • Wear proper foot wear and carry trail crampons (microspikes) on all hikes.
  • Walk on monorails and through mud and water to avoid post-holing in trailside snow, trampling vegetation, and eroding trails.

High Elevation Trail Conditions:

  • Compacted snow has turned to ice which may be thick in some locations.
  • Deep snow is still present above 3,000 feet.
  • Carry crampons and snowshoes and use when warranted.
  • Climbing or mountaineering crampons may be required in some places.

Water Levels and Temperatures: Melting snow will raise water levels.

  • Rivers and streams will be flowing high and fast.
  • Stream crossings may be dangerous or impossible.
  • Water temperatures are very low.
  • People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
  • Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.
  • Boaters and paddlers are required to wear personal flotation devices until May 1.

Blowdown: The Adirondacks have experienced heavy winds recently resulting in a significant amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches). Plan for all hikes to take longer than usual and be prepared to turn back if blowdown is heavy.

Ice on Waterbodies: While most flowing waters are open, most ponds and lakes are still covered in ice - except around inlets and outlets. No ice should be considered safe at this time.

Seasonal Access Roads: All gates on seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.

Mountain Summits: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead.

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.
  • The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed and road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the opening of the big game season. (2018)

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.
  • Beginning April 1, all rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain are closed to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites with the exception of Opposition, A Womb with a View , and all routes in between as described on pages 38-45 of Adirondack Rock - A Rock Climber's Guide. Once nest sites are identified DEC will reopen routes that will not interfere with nesting activities. (3/29)
  • The gate on Redd Road in Terry Mountain State Forest is locked and the road is closed due to icy conditions. (2/23)
  • The road under the rail trestle in the Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area has been closed due to flooding. (2/22)

Wilmington Wild Forest

  • The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A small section of the Whiteface Mountain Trail just above the junction with the Whiteface Highway (Wilmington Turn) has been rerouted to avoid the hazard created by variable ice conditions and the "rock cut" of the highway. (1/18)
  • More than 1.5 miles of bike trails, including a new loop opportunity, have been added to the Beaver Brook Trail Network. (2017)
  • 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)