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Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region

Note: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages. The web pages 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.

Map of showing the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: September 22, 2016

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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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.

Crowded Conditions: Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks.

Shorter Days: Autumn has arrived the sun sets earlier each day. Sunset is around 6:50 pm, earlier in deep valleys and on northern and eastern facing slopes. Plan to return to the trailhead by sunset but always carry a flashlight or headlamp when hiking.

Cooler Days: Autumn has arrived and the days and nights are cooler. Night time temperatures are forecast to be below freezing this weekend with daytime highs in the 40s & 50s. Wear layers of non-cotton clothing and pack extra clothing including a non-cotton jacket or sweater and a hat. Add and remove layers to regulate your body temperature.

Summits: Temperatures will be cooler 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.

Hunting Seasons: Some big game, small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers can wear bright colors as an extra precaution if it makes them more comfortable.

Black Bear Activity: Due to the dry conditions, black bears throughout the Adirondacks are more actively seeking food.

  • In the Eastern High Peaks, campers not properly using bear-resistant canisters have lost their food to bears.
  • The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
  • ALL food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
  • Elsewhere, ALL food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters or in a food (aka bear) hang elsewhere.
  • Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk.
  • These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry.

State Route 73 Bridgework: The Department of Transportation is working on several bridges on State Route 73 between St. Hubert's and Alstead Hill Road west of Keene. There is single lane with traffic lights and/or flaggers on most bridges - expect and plan for traffic delays.

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

Specific Notices

Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Trail

  • The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) (aka Ausable Club)

  • The Adirondack Mountain Reserve web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks. (9/22)
  • The public easement agreement only allows for hiking on designated trails and roads. Do not trespass on AMR lands and waters or participate in any unauthorized activities. (2016)
  • Dogs are prohibited on the AMR. (2016)

Boreas Ponds Tract

  • Boreas Ponds Tract web page provides information on access and outdoor recreation opportunities available on these lands and waters including links to maps.
  • Interim Access Plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract has been developed which identifies access and recreational opportunities (PDF 773 KB) including: (9/1)
    • Five year-round parking areas and three seasonal parking areas;
    • 3.2 miles of motor vehicle access on the Gulf Brook Road;
    • 6.7 miles of roadway open to bicycling from Blue Ridge Road to the Boreas Ponds Dam; and
    • Approximately 25 miles of seven roadways open to horse and horse drawn wagons.
    • DEC press release provides summary.
  • The lands of this tract are unclassified at this time . The Interim Access Plan does not have any bearing on the future land classification of the tract currently in development and does not prejudge what access and uses will be allowed in the future. (9/1)
  • The public is prohibited from trespassing in and around leased hunting camps. (9/1)

High Peaks Wilderness

  • Due to expected high use on the weekends through Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend, when the parking lot at the Adirondak Loj Trailhead is full DEC Forest Rangers will be turning around motor vehicles on the Adirondak Loj Road at South Meadow Lane. (9/22)
  • Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks. (9/22)
  • Due to the dry conditions, black bears are more actively seeking food. In the Eastern High Peaks, campers not using bear-resistant canisters properly have lost their food to bears. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk. These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry. (9/22)
  • For the second year DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program will be working on the removal of Marcy Dam. Please pay attention to caution flagging in this area and follow minor reroutes around the rigging equipment at the dam. Do not enter the worksite or disturb tools when workers are not present after hours and on weekends. (9/15)
  • The second bridge on the East River Trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls has been replaced by DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. Please do not bounce on the bridge. (9/8)
  • A trail reroute has been constructed around the washout on Opalescent Trail near Uphill Lean-to by members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. (9/1)
  • Moose Creek Suspension Bridge on the Northville-Placid Trail between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River is now open. DEC and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Northeast have completed the repairs. (8/19)
  • The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible. (8/4)
  • The first 1,500 feet of Blueberry Hiking Trail has been closed. The trail now connects with the Blueberry Horse Trail approximately 0.3 mile east of the previous location (0.8 mile from the Seward Trailhead). This reroute eliminates the need to hike through a large wet area and avoids hiking (and maintaining) more than 120 feet of bog bridging. (7/21)
  • The Northville Placid Trail has been rerouted around a beaver pond south of Plumley's Point on the shores of Long Lake. The reroute passes the beaver pond higher up the slope and eliminates having to cross the beaver dam and the wet feet obtained when the water levels were high. Follow the Blue NPT trail markers. (7/21)
  • The Blueberry Horse Trail between the Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the Western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation and is poorly marked. The trail is impassable to horses making it impossible to complete the Cold River Horse Trail Loop. DEC intends to work on the trail this fall. (6/16)
  • The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook on the Phelps Trail between the Garden and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unusable. (5/19)
  • Logging trucks are using Corey's Road. Listen and watch for trucks when on or entering the road from trailheads. (2016)
  • The town of Keene operates the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and charges a $7/day fee for parking. An attendant is present 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Fridays and from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays until October 16. The rest of the week hikers are expected to pay the fee using the envelope and collection slot. (2016)
  • The town of Keene operates the Garden Trailhead Shuttle between the Porter Mountain/Marcy Field Trailhead Parking Area and the Garden Trailhead from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekends and holidays through October 16. A roundtrip costs $5. (2016)
  • The use of wood burning stoves is prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. The ban on campfires applies to any type of use of wood as fuel to protect the trees and other vegetation from being damaged. (2016)
  • The first and second foot bridges on the Bradley Pond Trail has been damaged and are unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped most of time on the down stream side of the bridge sites. (2015)
  • Many of the herd paths found on Mount Marshall and some of the other trail-less peaks meander around the slopes of the mountain without reaching the peak. Those climbing these peaks should navigate with a map and compass rather than follow the paths created by others. (2013)
  • Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used. (2012)
  • The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses. (2011)

Dix Mountain Wilderness

  • The Dix Mountain Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks. (9/22)
  • Due to the dry conditions black bears are more actively seeking food. Campers not properly using bear-resistant canisters have lost their food to bears. The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended. Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk. These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry. (9/22)

Giant Mountain Wilderness

  • The Giant Mountain Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks. (9/22)
  • Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to. (2011)

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness

  • The Hurricane Mountain Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC, Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program members and volunteers from the Friends of Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower have completed work to restore and rehabilitate the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower for this year. The fire tower remains closed to the public at this time. (2015)

Jay Mountain Wilderness

  • The Jay Mountain Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report at this time.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness

  • The McKenzie Mountain Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Construction is occurring on the State Route 86 Bridge over the West Branch Ausable River about three miles northeast of Lake Placid. (2016)
    • Construction is expected to continue unit November 1st
    • Parking near the bridge will be restricted.
    • Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are discouraged from using the parking areas near the bridge. Use the parking area along Route 86 near the Connery Pond Road.
    • Paddlers using that section of the river are advised to find an alternate takeout. Paddlers are discouraged from paddling under the bridge during the construction period.
    • Entering the construction site or staging area is prohibited.
    • Anyone parking near the bridge should use caution when pulling out of the parking area.
    • Pedestrians crossing the road should use the marked crosswalk.
  • Volunteers from Lean2Rescue and the Syracuse University Outing Club reroofed the Whiteface Brook Lean-to. (2015)

Northville-Placid Trail

  • The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter (leaves DEC website) of the Adirondack Mountain Club provides the latest trail conditions and information for planning a hike on the trail - whether a through-hike, section-hike or weekend-hike.
  • Moose Creek Suspension Bridge between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River is now open. DEC and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Northeast have completed the repairs. (8/19)
  • The bridge over Ouluska Brook has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible. (8/4)
  • The trail has been rerouted around a beaver pond south of Plumley's Point on the shores of Long Lake. The reroute passes the beaver pond higher up the slope and eliminates having to cross the beaver dam and the wet feet obtained when the water levels were high. Follow the Blue NPT trail markers. (7/21)

Sentinel Range Wilderness

  • The Sentinel Range Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report.

More about Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region: