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Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: April 28, 2016

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!

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Be Prepared for Winter Conditions

  • 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
    • Snow depths
    • Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
  • Wear
    • Boots
    • Gaiters
    • Waterproof Outer Wear
    • Layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Sunglasses (if sunny)
  • Carry
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Spikes or other traction devices
    • Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
    • Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
    • Plenty of food and water
  • Pack
    • Extra clothes and socks
    • Fleece or Wool Hat
    • Gloves or Mittens
    • 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

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

All links to regulations leave DEC website.

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.

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

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, 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.

Fire Danger: Moderate. Plenty of dead, dry vegetation remains present. Never leave campfires unattended and be sure campfires are out and embers are cool. Current Fire Danger Map. (4/28)

Early Spring Trail Conditions: Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-50s, nighttime low temperatures will be below freezing. A chance of rain showers forecasted for Sunday. (4/28)

Mud & Water on Trails: Middle and high elevation trails are muddy and wet. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on the trails and walk through mud & water to protect trails. Walking around mud & water erodes trails and damages trailside vegetation. (4/28)

Ice on Trails: High elevation trails may be icy where snow was compacted through the winter. All hikers should carry micro-spikes and wear them when warranted. Remain on the trails and walk on ice to protect trails. Walking around ice erodes trails and damages trailside vegetation. (4/28)

Snow on Trails: Snow may still present on trails in the highest elevations especially in heavily wooded areas and on north facing slopes. (4/28)

Water Crossings: Water levels in rivers and streams are high but well below average for this time of year. Water temperatures are cold. Melt water is flowing in drainages. Low water crossings that are passable in the morning may not be in the afternoon. (4/28)

Ice on Water: Ice is out all waters. (4/28)

Water Levels & Temperatures: Waters levels are high but well below average for this time of year. Water temperatures are very cold. A person fell into the water could quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water. People boating or paddling should wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. PFDs are required to be worn by all people in watercraft less than 21 feet in length until May 1st. (4/28)

Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) on trails, especially on trails in the higher elevations and less used trails. (4/28)

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, bedrock and ice 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. (4/28)

Seasonal Access Roads: Gates remain closed on most seasonal access roads through the spring mud season. DEC will reopen the roads once any needed maintenance is completed and the roads are dry enough to safely handle public motor vehicle traffic. Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season will damage roads and result in road opening delays. (4/28)

Specific Notices

Camp Santanoni Historic Area

Essex Chain Lakes Complex

  • Information about the recreational opportunities in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, including a map, is available.
  • All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the spring mud season ends. DEC will reopen the roads once any needed maintenance is completed and the roads are dry enough to safely handle public motor vehicle traffic. Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season will damage roads and result in road opening delays. This includes: (2016)
    • Cornell Road
    • Chain Lakes Road North and Drakes Mill Road
    • Camp Six Road - the road is closed until the 2016 hunting season
    • Chain Lakes Road South
  • 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)

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

  • Information about the recreational opportunities in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness, including a map, is available.
  • 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

  • Information about the recreational opportunities in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness, including a map, is available.
  • Nothing to report at this time.

Lake George Wild Forest (Western)

  • All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the spring mud season ends. DEC will reopen the roads once any needed maintenance is completed and the roads are dry enough to safely handle public motor vehicle traffic. Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season will damage roads and result in road opening delays. This includes: (3/17)
    • Jabe Pond Road
    • Gay Pond Road
    • Palmer Pond Road and
    • Lily Pond Road
  • Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (2015)
  • Trails on Cat & Thomas Mountains are marked with Lake George Land Conservancy markers. Obtain a map from Conservancy before hiking this trail system. (2016)
  • 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. (2016)
  • 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

  • Replacement of the Berrymill Pond Lean-to is underway. The lean-to will not be available for use the until early May. (4/21)
  • 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)

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 until 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)

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

  • All rock climbing routes on the Black Arches Wall on Crane Mountain are closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest. (4/7)
  • The famous Wilcox Lake Leaning Lean-to has been torn down by volunteers from Lean 2 Rescue. Most of the logs were salvaged and will be re-used to construct a new lean-to at a new location on a newly constructed base. Additional materials were flown in by helicopter after plans to snowmobile them in was thwarted by lack of snow. (4/7)
  • The Spruce Mountain Trail is open to the summit. However, the cab on the fire tower will be closed until further notice. Hikers are reminded that the section of the trail just prior to reaching the two acres of forest preserve lands on the summit passes through private lands. An easement allows the public to use the trail but not the nearby lands. The road and trails other than the DEC marked trail that leave the top are on private lands. Do not trespass on private lands. (2016)
  • The directional sign to the Crane Mountain Trailhead located at the intersection of the Garnet Lake Road and the Sky Hi Road is missing. (2016)
  • The nearby Lake Desolation Road Conservation Easement Tract (Map PDF, 1.58 MB), located in the town of Greenfield, is now open for non-motorized recreational uses including hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, etc. (2016)
    • Access is from Lake Desolation Road; roads from the other side are very rough and impassible.
    • Archer Vly can be accessed from a hand boat launch on its southern shore.
    • Two primitive tent sites have been designated on Archer Vly.
    • ATV use is not permitted.
    • No vehicles are permitted past gates or signs.
    • Please respect private property; several inholdings are throughout the property.
  • 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. (2016)
  • The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. (2011)
  • The northern access to Crane Mountain Trail Head via the 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: