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Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: April 17, 2014

General Notices

Access to Former Finch Lands

March 2014: Governor Cuomo announces New York State has purchased an additional 8,451 acres of former Finch lands in Fulton, Warren, Essex and Hamilton counties. The 14 new parcels contain miles of rivers and streams, ponds, wildlife habitat and trails, and offer exceptional opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, cross country skiing and mountain biking. Already, the state has completed two acquisition phases totaling 30,037 acres.

October 2013 - Governor Cuomo has announced approximately 11,600 acres of lands and waters on the Essex Chain Lakes tract in the center of the Adirondacks is now open to the public for outdoor recreation through an Interim Access Plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Tract and Essex Chain Lakes Easement Tract (PDF, 2.5 MB).

June 2013 - Governor Cuomo has announced that public access to the 7,200 acres of land, the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River is available for the first time in 100 years through an Interim Access Plan for the Former Finch Lands (PDF, 2.4 MB).

DEC has developed an interim access web page with information about the area and descriptions and maps of the interim public access facilities. Updated information will be provided here and on the interim access web page as roads are opened and trails, landing sites and other infrastructure are developed.

Public access opportunities are also available on the Former Finch Lands that are now part of the Upper Hudson Woodlands Conservation Easement. Additional public access on the conservation easement lands will available in the future.

Acquisition of Former Finch Lands

Last year Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Martens announced the commitment by New York State to acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch lands in the Adirondacks from the Nature Conservancy in phases over the next five years. See Governor Cuomo's press release on the planned acquisition.

Earlier this year Governor Cuomo recently announced the closing on five tracts of land totaling 9,300 acres acquired from the Nature Conservancy. Some of these tracts lie just outside the Adirondack Park. When combined with the previously purchased 18,318-acre Essex Chain of Lakes Tracts, the State has added 27,618 acres of new forest preserve and state forest lands. The remaining 41,382 acres will be purchased in phases over the next three years.

More information on the acquisition of the former Finch lands from the Nature Conservancy, including announcements regarding public access opportunities, can be found on the Acquisition of Former Finch Lands web page.

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 the 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
    • Winter hiking boots
    • Cold weather outer wear
    • Layers of non-cotton clothes
    • Hat and gloves or mittens
  • Carry
    • Traction devices and crampons and use when warranted
    • Snowshoes or skis and use in snow depths of 8 inches or more
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
    • Plenty of food and water
  • Pack
    • Extra clothes and socks
    • Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces
    • Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth
    • 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

Early Spring Weather: Recent very warm temperatures and heavy rains have been followed by a period of very cold weather. The weekend forecast is for daytime temperatures in the mid 40s to low 50s; nighttime temperatures around freezing; and chance of rain & snow Saturday and clear Sunday. Snow and ice are present in the middle and higher elevations, while lower elevations have little to no snow. Water-proof footwear; cool weather, water-resistant outer wear; extra layers of non-cotton clothing; and hat & gloves are recommended for any outdoor recreation activities. 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 going into the backcountry. (4/17)

Trail Conditions: Trail conditions will vary with changes in elevation and the time of day. Low elevation trails, trailheads and parking areas may have mud, water, hard-packed snow and ice or a mix some or all of those. Middle & high elevation trails have hard-packed snow and ice in the morning which softens in later in the day as temperatures warm. DEC Forest Rangers report 18-24 inches of snow above 2000 feet in some locations. Water is present below the hard packed snow on many trails. Use the link in the right column to see the National Weather Service "NWS Snow Cover Map" which is updated daily. (4/17)

Snowshoes: Snowshoes are necessary on any trails throughout the Adirondacks with 8 inches of snow or more. Snow may not be present at trailheads or on low elevation trails but snow will be present at 1800 feet and higher. Carry snowshoes on all hikes that will take you above this elevation. Trails with hard snow in the morning will soften later in the day. Even with snowshoes hikers are sinking knee deep in snow when they step off the trail. Wear snowshoes when warranted and don't posthole. If you don't have snowshoes, turn back when you encounter snow. The use of snowshoes or skis prevents "post-holing," avoids injury and eases travel on snow. "Post-holing" ruins the trails for other users and makes them hazardous to travel. (4/17)

Mud & Water: Snowmelt and rain are creating muddy, wet trails in the lower elevations and raising water levels in rivers, streams and drainages at all elevations. Stream and drainage crossings may not be passable, especially in the afternoon. Trails adjacent to rivers, streams or low lying areas may be flooded. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters and walk through wet and muddy areas on trails not around them so that you don't erode and widen trails. (4/17)

Crampons & Traction Devices: Traction devices should be carried and worn when warranted on lower elevation icy areas. Crampons should be carried and worn on summits and other open areas where significant ice has accumulated. (4/17)

Ice on Water: Ice is breaking up and going out on rivers and streams. Ice on ponds and lake is thin and deteriorating, open water is present along shorelines and near inlets and outlets. No ice is considered safe at this time. (4/17)

Snowmobiles: Gates and trails are closed closed and the snowmobile season has ended. (4/17)

Access Roads: Gates have been closed on many access roads for the mud season. Roads will be reopened once they have dried, firmed and any needed maintenance is completed. (4/17)

Prevent Hypothermia: Dress properly, stay dry and add or remove layers to regulate your body temperature. Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia. Traveling in snow takes more energy and more time than traveling the same trail on bare ground. (4/17)

Summits: Conditions on and near summits are more extreme - stronger winds, colder temperatures, snow and ice. 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. (4/17)

Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails. Prepare accordingly. (4/17)

Specific Notices

Former Finch Paper Lands

  • Public parking is available along the Goodnow Flow Road just before the Chain Lakes Road entrance - this is the road used in the summer to access the Hudson River at the Polaris or Iron Bridge. The public can access the Essex Chain Lakes Tract to ski, snowshoe or otherwise traverse the roadways and the lands. (4/17)
  • The Deer Pond and Chain Lakes Road gates have been closed and locked. The roads beyond are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the mud season. The roads will reopen when they have dried, firmed and any needed maintenance has been completed. (4/17)
  • Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins and other buildings is prohibited. (4/17)
  • DEC has developed a Former Finch Lands Interim Access web page with information about former Finch Paper lands that are now owned by the State and open to the public. The web page includes descriptions and maps of the interim public access facilities. Updated information will be provided here and on the interim access web page as roads are opened and trails, landing sites and other infrastructure are developed. (10/17)
  • Governor Cuomo has announced approximately 11,600 acres of lands and waters on the Essex Chain Lakes tract in the center of the Adirondacks is now open to the public for outdoor recreation through an Interim Access Plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Tract and Essex Chain Lakes Easement Tract (PDF, 2.53 MB) . (2013)
  • Governor Cuomo has announced that public access to the 7,200 acres of land, the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River is available for the first time in 100 years through an Interim Access Plan for the Former Finch Lands (PDF, 2.38). (2013)
  • The OK Slip Falls Tract is now part of the Forest Preserve: (2013)
    • Parking areas do not exist;
    • No trails have been established; and
    • Boundaries lines with adjacent private lands have not been marked.
    • DEC is discouraging public access until public access infrastructure has been developed.
    • DEC will provide updated information here as the infrastructure for public access is developed.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest

  • There is blowdown on the trail between Hammond Pond and Bloody Pond. (1/3)
  • 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.
  • Blowdown has been removed from the Bailey Pond, Marion Pond and Hoffman Notch Trails. (2013)
  • Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program completed a reroute of Hoffman Notch Trail. Two new bridges were built and the bridge that was washed out has been replaced. (2012)
  • There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail. (2012)

Hudson Gorge Wilderness

  • Spring rafting season has begun for the Hudson Gorge. Hudson River water level at North Creek gage is 8.0 feet and dropping at this time. (4/17)
  • Water levels are high and water temperatures are cold. (4/17)
  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs, aka Life Jackets) must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1. (4/17)

Lake George Wild Forest (Western)

  • Gates are closed on the following access roads for mud season. The roads will reopen once they have dried, firmed and any needed maintenance is completed. (4/17)
    • Gay Pond
    • Lily Pond
    • Long Pond
    • Jabe Pond
  • The Hudson River Special Management Area web page provides more information and maps on the facilities, including ADA accessible facilities, in this area.
  • Darlings Ford Road in the Hudson River Special Management area is open to motor vehicle access for those with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). (2013)
  • Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic. (2013)
  • Palmer Pond Road is open to motor vehicle access for those with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD).
  • 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. (2012)
  • The following roads and access routes are now open to motor vehicle access for people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). MAPPWD holders must remember to check the allowable vehicle type and call the Warrensburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. (2012)
    • Bear Slide Access Route
    • Pikes Beach Road
    • Schofield Flats Road
  • 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. Lack of resources, resulting from the state's historic budget shortfall, preclude DEC from clearing trails of blowdown at this time. Individuals or groups that want to volunteer to remove blowdown may contact Senior Forester Tad Norton in the DEC's Warrensburg office at 518-623-1209. (2010)
  • Several designated tent sites in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area) have been relocated due to over use and vandalism. The parking and access paths to the new locations are clearly marked. Camp at designated sites only. (2010)
  • The Deer Leap trail is washed out and heavily cobbled with boulders from the trail head to the spur to Deer Leap, but is passable on foot. (2007)

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

  • The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the 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)
  • The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown. (2011)
  • The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers. (2011)

Santanoni Historic Area

  • Newcomb Road between the Gate House and the Main Lodge has snow and is skiable at this time. It will likely be the middle of May before horses, horse drawn carriages and bikes will be able to use the road. (4/11)
  • 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

  • Eagle Cave is close to the public until April 30 to prevent further stress and spread of disease to bats that hibernate there. (4/17)
  • Blowdown was cleared from the Sacandaga Trail from the Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to the Old Farm Trailhead. (2013)
  • Second Pond Trail was cleared of blowdown. (2013)
  • On the Halfway Brook Trail the washout of a culvert at Barton Mines Road was temporarily repaired and is passable for the time being. (2013)
  • Also on the Halfway Brook Trail the washed out timber bridge crossing near the Vly is repaired. (2013)
  • Blowdown has been removed from the Puffer Pond and Peaked Mountain Pond Trails. (2013)
  • A reroute has been constructed around the original beaver flooded trail segment of the West Puffer Pond Trail which travels around the south side of Chimney Mountain and continues past the John Pond Crossover Trail. (2012)
  • The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. (2012)
  • 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. The trail was cleared and marked with yellow trail markers by the Student Conservation Association's Adirondack Program. (2012)
  • Three campsites along the Northwoods Club Road near the bridge over the Boreas River have been reopened. Numerous dead and hazardous trees have been removed the sites were rehabilitated. (2012)
  • 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

  • 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: