Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks
Updated: June 13, 2013
Former Finch Pruyn Lands: Governor Cuomo has announced that public access to the 7,200 acres of land, the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River is available for the first time in 100 years through an Interim Access Plan for the Former Finch Lands (PDF, 2.38 MB). DEC has developed a interim access web page with information about the area and descriptions and maps of the interim public access facilities. Updated information will be provided here and on the interim access web page as roads are opened and trails, landing sites and other infrastructure are developed. (6/13)
Last year Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Martens announced the commitment by New York State to acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands in the Adirondacks in phases over the next five years. See Governor Cuomo's press release on the planned acquisition.
Governor Cuomo recently announced the closing on five tracts of land totaling 9,300 acres. Some of these tracts lie just outside the Adirondack Park. When combined with the previously purchased 18,318-acre Essex Chain of Lakes Tracts, the State has added 27,618 acres of new forest preserve and state forest lands. The remaining 41,382 acres will be purchased in phases over the next three years.
More information on the acquisition of the former Finch Pruyn Lands, including announcements regarding public access opportunities, can be found on the Acquisition of Former Finch Pruyn Lands web page.
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!
Mountain Forecast: Weather is an important factor in preparing for hiking or camping in the Adirondack backcountry. Often there is a considerable difference in weather conditions at the trailhead and those experienced in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service in Burlington has a product that 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.
- 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, snow depths and short-term forecast
- Shoes or boots specifically designed for hiking
- Layers of non-cotton clothes
- Hat for protection from sun and rain
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
- Plenty of food and water
- Insect repellent and sunblock
- Extra clothes and socks
- Hat and gloves or mittens
- Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces
- Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth
- Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
- Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return
Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation 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 by this new regulation. See Section 196.8 in the DEC Regulations.
Camping Group Sizes in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC regulation 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.
Bear Activity: Black bears are active in the backcountry. The use of bear-resistant canisters is encouraged throughout the Adirondacks. Prevent creating nuisance bears by properly using bear-resistant canisters, by storing all food, toiletries and garbage in the canister and by following other practices to prevent attracting bears. (6/13)
Biting Insect: Until the end of summer black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies and/or midges (no-see-ums) will be present. Take steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: (6/13)
- Wear light colored clothing;
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, and 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.
High Water Levels: Water levels are high, low water crossings may not be passable. Trails along waters may be flooded. (6/13)
Trail Conditions: Trails are wet and muddy. Wear appropriate footwear and gaiters for hiking through wet and muddy areas. Stay on the trail and hike through muddy areas to reduce erosion and avoid widening the trails or creating "herd paths". Always check current weather conditions and forecasts before entering the backcountry. Use the link near bottom of the right column to view the current National Weather Service "Weather Forecast". (6/13)
Paddling Conditions: Water levels are very high and waters temperatures remain cold. Don't paddle alone, wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD). Use the link near the bottom of right column to view the USGS Streamflows for selected waters in this area. (6/13)
Summits: Conditions on and near summits are more extreme - stronger winds and cooler temperatures. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service's "Mountain Forecasts" for selected summits in this area. (6/13)
Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used trails. Plan accordingly. (6/13)
Former Finch Paper Lands
- Governor Cuomo has announced that public access to the 7200 acres of land, the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River is available for the first time in 100 years through an Interim Access Plan for the Former Finch Lands (PDF, 2.38 MB). DEC has developed a web page with information about the area and descriptions and maps of the interim public access facilities. Updated information will be provided here and on the interim access web page as roads are opened and trails, landing sites and other infrastructure are developed. (6/13)
- Water levels are very high and waters temperatures remain cold. Don't paddle alone, wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry and always wear a personal floatation device (PFD). Use the link near the bottom of right column to view the USGS Streamflows for selected waters in this area. (6/13)
- The OK Slip Falls Tract is now part of the Forest Preserve: (5/23)
- Parking areas do not exist;
- No trails have been established; and
- Boundaries lines with adjacent private lands have not been marked.
- DEC is discouraging public access until public access infrastructure has been developed.
- DEC will provide updated information here as the infrastructure for public access is developed.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest
- A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. (2011)
- The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. (2011)
- The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity. (2007)
Hoffman Notch Wilderness
- The Hoffman Notch Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Blowdown has been removed from the Bailey Pond, Marion Pond and Hoffman Notch Trails. (6/13)
- Last summer the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program completed a reroute of Hoffman Notch Trail. Two new bridges were built and the bridge that was washed out has been replaced. (2012)
- There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail. (2012)
Hudson Gorge Primitive Area
- Water levels are very high and water temperatures remain cold. (6/13)
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs, aka life jackets) must be present in the boat and should be worn at all times. Cold water temperatures can cause hyperventilation, hypothermia and weakening of limbs; all which can quickly lead to drowning if a person is not wearing a PFD. (6/6)
- Blowdown may be found on trails. (2010)
Lake George Wild Forest (Western)
- The Hudson River Special Management Area web page provides more information and maps on the facilities, including ADA accessible facilities, in this area.
- Jabe Pond Road is open to motor vehicle traffic. (5/30)
- Trails on Tongue Mountain are wet and muddy after heavy rains. (5/30)
- Rattlesnakes are coming out of their dens now and are moving about in the Tongue Mountain Range. If you leave them alone they will leave you alone. (5/30)
- Also on Tongue Mountain, the mileage from the Red/Blue Trail Intersection near Clay Meadow Trailhead to the 5th Peak Lean-to is 2.6 miles, not 5.2 as indicated on the sign.(5/30)
- All roads in the Hudson River Special Management Area designated for motor vehicle access are open. (5/23)
- Darlings Ford Road in the Hudson River Special Management area is open to motor vehicle access for those with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). (5/23)
- Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (5/23)
- Lily Pond Road is open to motor vehicle access. (5/23)
- Palmer Pond Road is open to motor vehicle access for those with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD).
- The gate for Long Pond Road is closed until next winters snowmobile season. (5/23)
- On the Tongue Mountain Range, signs at trail intersection of the Summit (red) Trail and Lake (blue) Trail coming from the Clay Meadow Trailhead have been replaced. Hikers are advised to carry maps as the signs at this location are often stolen. (2012)
- The following roads and access routes are now open to motor vehicle access for people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). MAPPWD holders must remember to check the allowable vehicle type and call the Warrensburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. (2012)
- Bear Slide Access Route
- Pikes Beach Road
- Schofield Flats Road
- A small detour has been made on the Clay Meadow Trail between the foot bridge and the intersection of the red and blue lake side trail. The detour is approximately 100-200 feet in length and goes around a highly eroded section of the trail that has exposed roots of the surrounding trees. The detour is on relatively flat ground and the original trail can be seen from the detour. (2010)
- Equestrians should be aware that there is significant blowdown on horse trails. While hikers may be able to get through the trails, it may be impossible or at least much harder for horses to get through. Lack of resources, resulting from the state's historic budget shortfall, preclude DEC from clearing trails of blowdown at this time. Individuals or groups that want to volunteer to remove blowdown may contact Senior Forester Tad Norton in the DEC's Warrensburg office at 518-623-1209. (2010)
- Several designated tent sites in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area) have been relocated due to over use and vandalism. The parking and access paths to the new locations are clearly marked. Camp at designated sites only. (2010)
- The Deer Leap trail is washed out and heavily cobbled with boulders from the trail head to the spur to Deer Leap, but is passable on foot. (2007)
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
- The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. (2011)
- The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. (2011)
- The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. (2011)
- The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. (2011)
- The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown. (2011)
- The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. (2011)
- The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers. (2011)
Santanoni Historic Preserve
- Excavation and concrete work on the second of the three stone bridges (3.2 miles from the trailhead) on the Newcomb Lake Road is underway until June 26 will require that visitors use a small foot bridge to bypass the site. Horse drawn wagons will not be able to pass the bridge and individual horses may also not be able to pass. Work to reconstruct the stone walls of this culvert will begin in late June and continue into the fall of 2013. This work should not impact movement along the Newcomb Lake Road significantly. (6/13)
- As part of the construction work steel plates have been placed on the surface of the Honeymoon Bridge located about 1.2 miles from the trailhead. This may create a slippery, unsafe surface for bikers and horses. (6/13)
- Other work this summer at Camp Santanoni will include: (6/6)
- Repairing the roof and framework of the New Farm Manager's Cottage on the Farm;
- Stabilizing and restoring the birch bark wall coverings in the Great Room of the Main Lodge on Newcomb Lake; and
- Re-glazing windows, painting and other site maintenance tasks.
- Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is providing a tour of Camp Santanoni on Friday June 28. See the AARCH web site link in the right column for more information. (6/6)
- Management, maintenance, restoration and interpretation of Camp Santanoni Historic site is accomplished through a partnership of DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb and volunteers.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
- Blowdown has been removed from the Puffer Pond and Peaked Mountain Pond Trails. (6/13)
- A reroute has been constructed around the original beaver flooded trail segment of the West Puffer Pond Trail which travels around the south side of Chimney Mountain and continues past the John Pond Crossover Trail. (2012)
- The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. (2012)
- The Peaked Mountain Trail contains blowdown from the beaver pond to the summit of Peaked Mountain. (2011)
- Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek on the Kunjamuck Trail, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. (2011)
Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
- A 2.5 mile foot trail from the trailhead on 14th Road in Minerva to the summit of Moxham Mountain is open for use. The trailhead is located on the south side of 14th Road, about 2 miles west of the intersection of 14th Road and Route 28N in the town of Minerva. The trail was cleared and marked with yellow trail markers by the Student Conservation Association's Adirondack Program. (2012)
- Three campsites along the Northwoods Club Road near the bridge over the Boreas River have been reopened. Numerous dead and hazardous trees have been removed the sites were rehabilitated. (2012)
- The Boreas River crossing on the Cheney Pond - Irishtown Trail is not bridged. During low water conditions, crossing by rock hopping may be possible. (2006)
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
- The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. (2011)
- The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle. (2011)
- Mud Pond Road contains washouts, it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. (2011)
- There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. (2011)
- The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. (2011)
- Trails to Wilcox Lake (Stony Creek Trail) and Tenant Falls beginning at the end of the Hope Falls Road, cross private property. While DEC does have a trail easement for the East Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake, there is no formal agreement with the landowner for access to the Tenant Falls Trail. DEC is working on a resolution to this matter. In the meanwhile, hikers and day uses must respect the private driveway at the trailhead and not block it. Also respect the landowner's privacy - stay on the trail, do not enter the private property. (2010)
- The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity. (2010)
- The Pine Orchard Trail is flooded due to beaver activity .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. (2010)
- The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. (2004)
The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet. (2004)
- Also the Murphy Lake Trail is flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake. (2004)
More about Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks:
- Interim Public Access on the Essex Chain Tract - Former Finch Lands - Description of the public access opportunities on the Essex Chain Tract for the Summer of 2013.
- Map of Interim Public Access on the Essex Chain Tract - Map of the lands and waters on the Essex Chain Tract open to the public and public access facilities.
- Hudson River Special Management Area - Information on the natural features and facilities of the Hudson River Special Management Area, aka teh Hudson River Recreation Area.
- Northern Hudson River Special Management Area Map - Map of the Northern Portion of the Hudson River Special Management Area (HRSMA)
- Southern Hudson River Special Management Area Map - Map of the Southern Portion of the Hudson River Special Management Area (HRSMA)
- Hudson River Special Management Area Map 1 - Map of the Stones Mountain/Pike's Beach/Scofield Flats Area of the HRSMA
- Hudson River Special Management Area Map 2 - Map of the Darling Ford/Bear Slides/The Pines Area of HRSMA
- Hudson River Special Management Area Map 3 - Map of the Buttermilk Road/Western Gay Pond Road Area of HRSMA
- Hudson River Special Management Area Map 4 - Map of the Eastern Gay Pond Road Area of HRSMA