Backcountry Information for the East Central 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.
Camp Santanoni Historic Area
- The Camp Santanoni Historic Area web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- DEC partners with the Adirondack Architectural Heritage (leaves DEC website), Adirondack Interpretive Center (leaves DEC website),and the Town of Newcomb (leaves DEC website) to restore, maintain and interpret Camp Santanoni.
- Nothing to report.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
- The Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Camping permits are required to camp at any of the 13 shoreline primitive tent sites. The free permits can be obtained from the Adirondack Interpretive Center (leaves DEC's website) at 518-582-2000. (5/19)
- Cornell Road, Deer Pond Road, Chain Lakes Road North, and Drakes Mill Road are all open to public motor vehicle use. (5/12)
- Chain Lakes Road South is open to public motor vehicle use to the parking area and gate at the Old Outer Gooley Club. The road and trails beyond the gate which access the Cedar River, several ponds and five designated tent sites, are open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. (5/12)
- Camp Six Road remains closed to public motor vehicle use until the 2016 hunting season. The road and the four designated tent sites along the road are open to hikers. (5/12)
- People with a valid Motorized Access for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit may contact the Adirondack Interpretive Center (leaves DEC's website) at 518-582-2000 to obtain access to the accessible parking area, tent site and hand launch on Fifth Lake. (5/12)
- Goodnow Flow Road is a private road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North and should not be used by the public. (2016)
- Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins, out buildings and the lands around them is prohibited. (2016)
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
- The Hudson Gorge Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
- Nothing to report at this time.
Jessup River Wild Forest
- The 1.6-mile Watch Hill Trail has been newly designated, signed and marked. The trailhead is located on State Route 30 near Griffin Brook approximately 1 mile south of the Snowy Mountain Trailhead (43.6891° N; 74.3431° W (NAD83/WGS84)). The trail ascends 1.1 mile and 380 feet to the pinnacle of the hill before descending 0.5 mile and 480 feet to the shore of Indian Lake. There are two locations near the top of the descent to the shore that provide scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountains and forests. A map of the trail (PDF 213 KB) is posted in the trailhead kiosk. (2015)
- The two designated primitive tent sites at the northern end of Fawn Lake have been closed for rehabilitation. Two new tent sites will be designated in the future. (2015)
- The Snowy Mountain Fire Tower was restored and the cab is open to the public.
- The Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower is open to the public up to the topmost landing, but the cab is closed. DEC plans to restore the tower, including the cab, and the observer's cabin, in the future with the help of a friends group. Once the work is complete the public will be able to access the cab of the fire tower as well.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
- Trail markers on Siamese Ponds Trail from the suspension bridge across the Sacandaga River to the ponds are now yellow. (2016)
- Eagle Cave is closed through May to protect hibernating bats. (2016)
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)
More about Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks:
- Map of Interim Public Access on the Former Finch Lands - Map of the lands and waters on the Essex Chain Tract open to the public and public access facilities.
- 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