Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks
Updated: August 27, 2015
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!
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.
- 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 and short-term forecast
- Hiking shoes or hiking boots
- Comfortable non-cotton clothing
- Hat to protect from sun or rain
- Sunglasses (if sunny)
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
- Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Gaiters to wear on wet & muddy trails
- 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.
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.
AVOID DEHYDRATION: DEC Forest Rangers and other field staff have assisted numerous people suffering from varying degrees of dehydration this summer. Dizziness, confusion, weakness, cramping and nausea are signs of dehydration. Be sure to carry plenty of water. It is better to drink moderate amounts of water often than large amounts of water occasionally. Rest and drink water often - especially in warm weather - to avoid dehydration. (8/27)
Fire Danger: MODERATE. Don't leave campfires unattended. Be sure campfires are completely out and embers are wet and cool. Check today's Fire Danger Rating Map. (8/27)
Trail Conditions: Trails may be wet and muddy, especially in low areas and along water. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters walk through - not around - mud and water on trails to avoid further eroding trails. (8/27)
Water Levels: Water levels in streams and rivers are average or above average for this time of year. Low water crossings are passable, but may not be during or immediately after thunderstorms or heavy rain. (8/27)
Paddlers & Boaters: PFDs should be worn by all paddlers and boaters in small boats. A PFD is required for each person in a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Use the link near the bottom of the right column to check levels and flows of selected waters at the USGS Current Streamflow for New York Waters. (2015)
Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits, water surfaces and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations, head to shore or otherwise seek shelter. If caught outside in a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks. (2015)
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. 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. (2015)
Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are open. Seasonal access roads are rough, dirt or gravel roads. Four wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles are recommended. (2015)
Bear-Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks to avoid losing food to bears and to prevent creating nuisance bears. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. (2015)
Biting Insects: Expect to encounter Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and Gnats (no-see-ums). Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: (2015)
- Wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants;
- Tuck shirts into pants, pant legs into socks and button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist;
- Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick;
- Use an insect repellant with DEET and follow the label directions.
Camp Santanoni Historic Area
- Information about the recreational opportunities in the Camp Santanoni Historic Area, including a map, is available.
- The Newcomb Lake Road which connects the Gate House Area with the Main Camp Area is open for hiking, biking and horseback riding. (2015)
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
- Information about the recreational opportunities in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, including a map, is available.
- The public should not travel on the Goodnow Flow Road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North. The Goodnow Flow Road becomes a private road shortly after the DEC sign for "Essex Chain Lakes and Hudson River Access" sign at the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North. Motorists, bicyclists and others should turn left at the sign on to the Chain Lakes Road North. (2015)
- Nearly 20 miles of trails are open for use by bicycles. The administrative roads open for bicycle use are (see map): (2015)
- 8.5 miles of the Chain Lakes Road North from the Goodnow Flow Road to the Cedar River;
- 3 miles of the Chain Lakes Road South from the Outer Gooley Parking Area to the Cedar River;
- 2.5 miles of road connecting the Chain Lakes Road North to the Deer Pond Parking Area;
- 2.5 miles of road around Deer Pond;
- 1.5 miles of the Drake's Mill Road connecting the Chain Lakes Road North to the Hudson River/Polaris (Iron) Bridge (NOTE: Biking is prohibited beyond the Polaris (Iron) Bridge into the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest);
- 1 mile from the Chain Lakes Road South to Pine Lake; and
- 0.3 mile from the Chain Lakes Road North to Jackson Pond
- The bridge replacement on the Cornell Road is complete and the road, which accesses the Deer Pond Parking Area, is open to motor vehicle traffic. The road is a little soft around the bridge but in fairly good condition beyond. (2015)
- Chain Lakes Road South is open for motor vehicle access to the Old Gooley Club Parking Area. (2015)
- Chain Lakes Road North and Drakes Mill Road are open for motor vehicle access to the Hudson River/Polaris Bridge Parking Area. (2015)
- Public trespass of the Gooley Club and Polaris Club cabins, out buildings and the lands around them is prohibited. (2015)
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
- The Ross Pond/Whortleberry Pond/Big Bad Luck Pond Trail has dried considerably, most of the standing water is gone but expect to encounter wet and muddy areas on the trail. Wear proper footwear and walk through - not around - mud and water to avoid further eroding the (8/6)
- The trail to OK Slip Falls Trail is in good shape. (7/23)
- The three-mile OK Slip Falls Trail leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the falls. OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge. (2014)
- The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. (Latitude: 43° 46.325' N; Longitude: 74° 7.792' W (NAD83/WGS84))
- The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. (Latitude: 43°46.273' N; Longitude: 74° 7.996' W (NAD83/WGS84))
- The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds.
- Approximately a half mile from the trailhead hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls.
- Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge.
- OK Slip Falls Trail Map (PDF 1.6 mb)
- DEC is still working on this trail and plans to install additional signs and bog bridging, and make other trail improvements during the summer.
Lake George Wild Forest (Western)
- The following roads are open to motor vehicles. Be cautious the roads are rough. The use of four wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high axle vehicles is recommended. (2015)
- Gay Pond Road
- Jabe Pond Road
- Lily Pond Road
- Public motor vehicle use on Palmer Pond Road is limited to people with mobility disabilities with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit. (2015)
- 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. (2015)
- 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. (2014)
- 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
- 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. (7/16)
- Eagle Cave is closed until May to protect hibernating bats. (2015)
- 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. (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
- 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. (2015)
- 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:
- 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