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Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the East Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: October 19, 2017

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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Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information for important general notices and information which apply across the Adirondacks.

Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC's website).

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC's website) when recreating in the East Central Adirondacks.

Fall Conditions: Daytime temperatures are cool, nighttime temperatures may be below freezing - especially in higher elevations.

  • Plan accordingly, wear or carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing
  • Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.
  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and to carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight - the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Trail Conditions: Trails are drying with the good weather and loss of leaves on trees.

  • Expect to still encounter wet and muddy conditions along waterways, in low areas, and above 3,000 feet.
  • Use caution when hiking on fallen leaves.
  • Wet or icy leaves can be very slippery, particularly on steep sections of trail.

Protect Trails & Trailside Vegetation: Stay on trails to protect vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails.

  • Do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails.
  • Walk through mud and water.
  • It's not hiking (or fun) if your hiking shoes don't get muddy!!!

Summits: Temperatures will be colder and winds will be stronger on high elevation summits

Hunting Seasons: The regular big game hunting season opens Saturday, many small game, and waterfowl hunting seasons are or will soon 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.

Specific Notices

Camp Santanoni Historic Area

Essex Chain Lakes Complex

  • The Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The gate at the beginning of the Camp Six Road has been opened, allowing motor vehicles to travel for an additional 1 mile to a designated 4-vehicle parking area. There are 4 primitive tent sites along this section of road. The road will remain open through the regular big game season weather permitting. (10/13)
  • The gate at the Outer Gooley parking area on the Chain Lakes Road South has been opened, allowing for motor vehicles to travel for approximately 1.5 miles to a designated 4-vehicle parking area. There are 3 primitive tent sites along this section of road. Two additional tent sites are located past the seasonal parking area (and gate), one further north on the Chain Lakes Road South and one at Pine Lake. The road will remain open through the regular big game season weather permitting. (10/13)
  • Campers planning to camp on one of the 11 tent sites on the shores of the Essex Chain Lakes are reminded they no longer are required to reserve a site before camping. Self-issuing permits will still be required to allow DEC to gather use data. Campfires are prohibited on the 11 shoreline tent sites. (2017)
  • People with a valid Motorized Access for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit should contact the DEC Warrensburg office during regular business hours at 518-623-1275 to obtain access to the accessible parking area, tent site and hand launch on Fifth Lake. (2017)
  • Goodnow Flow Road is a private road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North and should not be used by the public. (2017)
  • Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins, out buildings and the lands around them is prohibited. (2017)

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)

Hudson Gorge Wilderness

  • The Hudson Gorge Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program recently completed building bog bridging on a muddy section near the beginning of the OK Slip Falls Trail. (6/29)

Jessup River Wild Forest

  • 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

  • The Siamese Pond Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The former site of the 55 foot bridge over the East Branch of the Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail is now a foot crossing (rock hopping). Hikers may have trouble crossing during times of high water following a lot of rain or spring snow melt.
  • The bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail south of Thirteenth Lake has been replaced.
  • Eagle Cave on Chimney Mountain is closed to protect the bats as of October 1st and will remain closed through April 30th.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The Boreas River crossing on the Cheney Pond- Irishtown Trail is not bridged. During low water conditions, crossing by rock hopping may be possible. (2016)

More about Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks: