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Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the East Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: February 15, 2018

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.

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast (leaves DEC website) and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data, forecasts, and snow depths.

Holiday Weekend: Due to the three day Presidents' Day holiday weekend expect to encounter more vehicles at trailheads and more people and snowmobiles on the trails. This weekend is also a Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend.

Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Snow depths range from 12 to 20 inches
  • See the NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for current snow information.
  • Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience.
  • Be prepared for cold weather and avoid hypothermia, wear:
    • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
    • Waterproof footwear
    • Layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing (not cotton!)
    • Hat and gloves or mittens

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered in 12 to 20 inches of snow. Trails may have ice on the surface of the snow due to recent and forecasted warm weather and rain. Thick ice is present on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas.

  • Snow shoes or skis are should be worn on all trails.
  • Trail crampons and other traction devices should be carried during outings on low elevation and less steep trails and used when warranted.
  • Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons during outings on steep slopes in the high elevations and use when warranted.

Mountain Summits: Conditions will be more extreme than those found at the trailhead.

  • Temperatures will be colder
  • Winds will be stronger
  • Wind chill temperatures will be much lower
  • Snow will be deeper
  • Ice will be thicker

Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leave DEC website) for selected summits.

Ice on Water Surfaces: Ice has formed and thickened on most waterbodies. Ice on rivers and streams is less thick. Be safe on ice.

  • Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
  • Avoid ice:
    • Over running water
    • Near inlets & outlet
    • Near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and 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.

Snowmobile Trails: Snowmobile trails systems throughout the Adirondacks are open. Check local conditions before going out. Be safe when snowmobiling. (link leaves DEC's website)

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

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.
  • All gates and seasonal access roads are closed public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. (2018)
  • Goodnow Flow Road is a private road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North and should not be used by the public. (2018)
  • Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins, out buildings and the lands around them is prohibited. (2018)

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.
  • Nothing to report.

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)

Siamese Ponds Wilderness

  • The Siamese Pond Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Eagle Cave on Chimney Mountain is closed to the public to protect hibernating bats through April 30th. (2018)
  • 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 heavy rain or during spring snow melt. (2017)
  • The bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail south of Thirteenth Lake has been replaced. (2017)

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: