Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks
NOTE: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages and include information on the western Adirondacks and have been reorganized and reformatted. Individual Forest Preserve units may not be listed on the same page they were previously listed.
Updated: May 26, 2016
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 weather and other conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Weather forecasts can and do change. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) before entering the backcountry.
Spring Conditions: Trails are dry and firm for this time of year. However, mud and water are present on trails along water bodies, in low lying areas and in higher elevations. Walk through mud and water - not around - to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.
Water Levels: Waters levels are low. Low water crossings are passable. Paddlers and boaters should watch for unexpected obstacles above or just below the water. Some sections of rivers and streams may not be passable.
Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are open. Seasonal access roads can be rough, the use of 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, SUVs and other high clearance motor vehicles is recommended.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder and winds will be stronger. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. The National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leaves DEC website) provides forecasts for selected summits in this area.
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
- Restoration and rehabilitation of the Lyon Mountain Fire Tower has been completed by DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. (2015)
Lake Champlain Islands
- The Lake Champlain Islands Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- The Valcour Island Lighthouse (also known as the Bluff Point Lighthouse) is currently closed for restoration. (2016)
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands
- The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- The D&H Road is open to public motor vehicle use. (5/12)
- Barnes Pond Road is closed to all public motor vehicle use. The road will reopen to motor vehicle use for those people with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit once the spring mud season ends. It will reopen to all public motor vehicles in September 2016. Non-motorized use is allowed year-round. (2016)
Taylor Pond Complex
- All rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain between and including #26 "Hang 'Em High" and # 82 "Piece of Snatch" remain closed. (See pages 42-64 of Adirondack Rock - A Rock Climber's Guide) All other climbing routes on the Main Face are open. (5/27)
- 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)
- Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season. DEC thanks the interns and volunteer stewards from the Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine (leaving DEC website) who provided local & natural history interpretation, environmental education, and assistance to hikers. (2016)
Wilmington Wild Forest
- The Wilmington Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Ice is still present on northeastern facing slopes between 4,000 feet and tree line on Whiteface and Esther Mountains. (5/26)
- Due to wet, muddy, icy & snowy conditions in the higher elevations hikers are advised to avoid trails above 2,500 feet on Whiteface and Esther Mountains. This will help to avoid further eroding steep trails in thin soil and destroying sensitive vegetation. Please use trails at lower elevations during the spring mud season. The Muddy Trail Advisory press release has additional information and a list of alternate trails. (5/26)
- Connery Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic. (5/12)
- 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. (5/12)
- 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)