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Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: April 16, 2015

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 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.

Be Prepared in 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, snow depths and short-term forecast
  • Wear
    • Waterproof hiking boots and gaiters
    • Layers of wool, fleece or other non-cotton clothing
    • Hat and gloves or mittens
    • Skis or snowshoes (when snow depths are 8 inches or more)
    • Sunglasses (if sunny)
  • Carry
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
    • Traction devices to prevent slips and falls on snow and ice
    • Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
    • Plenty of food and water
  • Pack
    • Extra clothes and socks
    • Waterproof jacket and pants
    • Sunscreen
    • 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: HIGH, fires can start easily and spread quickly. Be careful with all ignitions sources. Don't leave campfires unattended. Make sure all campfires are completely out. Check today's Fire Danger Rating. (4/16)

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. (4/16)

Electronic Technology: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Prepare before the trip and carry a map and compass for navigation or at least as backup. (4/16)

Early Spring Conditions: Days are becoming longer and daytime high temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s. Nighttime lows are forecast around freezing in the lower and middle elevations and will likely be consistently below freezing in highest elevations through the weekend. Winter conditions still remain on the upper reaches and summits of mountains, be prepared for cold temperatures and snow! Dress and pack properly to avoid being cold & wet. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and remove layers as needed to keep comfortable. Wear an outer layer that is water & wind resistant. (4/16)

Snow: There is little to no snow in the lower elevations. Snow and ice may be present in the woods or other sheltered and shaded areas. Snow is still present on the upper reaches and summits of mountains such as Vanderwhacker Mountain! Use the National Weather Service "NWS Snow Cover Maps" link near the bottom of the right column to check the snow depth and snow forecast for the area. Maps are updated daily. (4/16)

Trail Conditions: Trails in the lower to middle elevation are mixture of mud & water. Snow and ice may be present in sheltered and shaded sections of trail. Trails may be hard and icy in the morning. Snow is still present on the upper reaches of mountain trails including, but not limited to, Vanderwhacker Mountain! (4/16)

Snowshoes & Crampons: Carry both snowshoes and crampons when hiking mountain trails - use them as warranted! Traction devices are necessary on hard packed trails in the morning. The use of snowshoes avoids "post-holing", eases travel, and prevents injuries. (4/16)

Avoid Hypothermia: Stay dry and warm. Drink plenty of water, eat food and rest often. (4/16)

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger and snow will be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits. 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. (4/16)

Ice on Water: Ice is darkening and thinning on all ponds and lakes. Open water may be present around shorelines, inlets, outlets and other areas. Streams and rivers are open or opening. No ice should be considered safe at this time. (4/16)

Water Levels & Temperatures: Water levels are high, currents are swift and water temperatures are cold. (4/16)

Snowmobile Trails: All snowmobile trails are closed for the season. Gates are closed and locked. Groomers are not operating. (4/16)

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are closed to motor vehicle traffic until after the spring mud season. (4/16)

Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails. (4/16)

Specific Notices

Essex Chain Lakes Complex

  • The Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page and the map of the complex (PDF 1.0 mb) provide information about the unit and its outdoor recreational opportunities. The web page and map will be updated as additional recreation facilities and opportunities become available.
  • All gates have been closed and locked. All roads are closed until the end of the spring mud season. (4/16)
  • The gate on the Chain Lakes Road in the southern portion of the complex near the Outer Gooley Club has been closed. The Town of Indian Lake plows the road to the raft put-in site. The roads beyond will be closed to motor vehicle traffic until after the spring mud season. (2015)
  • The Shadow Dam Gate which provides access to the Deer Pond Parking Area is closed and the road beyond is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. (2015)
  • The Chain Lakes Road North Gate which provides access to the Iron Bridge/Hudson River Parking Area is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. (2015)
  • Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins, out buildings and the lands around them is prohibited. (2015)

Hammond Pond Wild Forest

  • There is blowdown on the trail between Hammond Pond and Bloody Pond. (2014)
  • A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot 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.
  • Several small beaver dams are flooding sections of the Hoffman Notch Trail just south of Blue Ridge Road Trailhead under a foot of water. A reroute has not yet been developed. Hikers may have to walk through the water - take off boots and socks and roll-up pants. (2014)
  • There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail. (2014)

Hudson Gorge Wilderness

A high waterfall
  • The trail to OK Slip Falls Trail is open for public use. The three-mile hike leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the falls. OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge. (2014)
    • The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. (Latitude: 43° 46.325' N; Longitude: 74° 7.792' W (NAD83/WGS84))
    • The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. (Latitude: 43°46.273' N; Longitude: 74° 7.996' W (NAD83/WGS84))
    • The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds.
    • Approximately a half mile from the trailhead hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls.
    • Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge.
    • OK Slip Falls Trail Map (PDF 1.6 mb)
    • DEC is still working on this trail and plans to install additional signs and bog bridging, and make other trail improvements during the summer.


Lake George Wild Forest (Western)

  • Gates are closed on the following roads until the end of the spring mud season: (4/2)
    • Lilly Pond Road
    • Long Pond Trail
    • Palmer Pond Road
    • Gay Pond Road
  • Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until after the spring mud season. (2015)
  • Trails on Cat & Thomas Mountains are marked with Lake George Land Conservancy markers. Obtain a map from Conservancy before hiking this trail system. (2014)
  • Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (2015)
  • On the Tongue Mountain Range, signs at trail intersection of the Summit (red) Trail and Lake (blue) Trail coming from the Clay Meadow Trailhead are often stolen. Hikers are advised to carry maps. (2014)
  • Deer Leap Trail on Tongue Mountain is washed out and heavily cobbled with boulders from the trail head to the spur to Deer Leap, but is passable on foot. (2014)
  • The Hudson River Special Management Area web page provides more information and maps on the facilities, including ADA accessible facilities, in this area.
  • 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. (2010)

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

  • The two trails between the Pharaoh 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 Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. (2011)

Santanoni Historic Area

  • 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

  • The bridge on Thirteenth Lake Road (County Route 78) has been repaired and the road is open. (2015)
  • Eagle Cave is closed until May to protect hibernating bats. (2015)
  • 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. (2013)
  • 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

  • Thanks to the efforts of the Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Committee the fire tower is a wonderful attraction for hikers in the southern Adirondacks. DEC appreciates all of efforts of this group of volunteers who maintain the trail and undertake minor maintenance projects on the fire tower and the observer's cabin. The Committee also provides a summer summit steward to do maintenance work and monitor the trails and structures. The steward also educate visitors about the fire tower, the history of the area, the Adirondacks in general and how to minimize their impacts on the natural resources - adding greatly to the experience of those who climb to the summit of Hadley Mountain. (2015)
  • 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: