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Trail Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Map depicting forest preserve and conservation easement lands in Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: February 4, 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
    • Winter Boots
    • Waterproof Outer Wear
    • Layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Fleece or Wool Hat
    • Gloves or Mittens
    • Sunglasses (if sunny)
  • Carry
    • Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
    • Snowshoes or skis
    • Crampons, 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
    • Gaiters
    • 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.

Ice on Water: Recent warm temperatures and rain have deteriorated ice conditions. NO ICE IS SAFE FOR MOTOR VEHICLES. Water is present on the surface of ice. Thin spots have opened and open areas around inlets and outlets have expanded. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlets, and near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices. Ice with snow on the surface, may not hold a person's weight.

Prepare for Winter Conditions: Winter conditions are present throughout the area. Days are short, temperatures range freezing, and snow & ice are present. Wear appropriate footwear, a waterproof outer layer, a hat and layers of non-cotton clothing. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers to keep comfortable. Avoid hypothermia by staying warm & dry, and resting, eating and hydrating often. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries in case you are caught after dark. (2/4)

Snow Information: Snow depths range from 0 to 6 inches, the deeper snow is found in northeastern Essex County and in the higher elevations. Snow will hard, crunchy or crusty. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to view the National Weather Service "NERFC Snow Information" for maps depicting current snow depths, daily snowfall amounts, snow forecasts and information about the snowpack. (2/4)

Trail Conditions: Trails are icy with the return to below freezing temperatures after recent warm weather and rain. The use of crampons or spikes is strongly encouraged. Snowshoes should be carried on hikes planned for higher elevations such as on Vanderwhacker Mountain (3,386 ft) and worn when warranted. The use of snowshoes prevents injuries, eases travel through snow, and avoids "post-holing". Post-holing makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use. Skiing conditions are poor to non-existent due to no snow and icy trails with the except for . (2/4)

Blowdown: Blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) may be found on trails, especially on trails in the higher elevations and less used trails. (2/4)

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, open areas will be icy, and snow will be deeper. 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. (2/4)

Snowmobile Trails: Gates have been opened on some snowmobile trails. Currently snowmobile trail conditions range from non-existent to poor. Snowmobilers should check local conditions before going out on trails. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers. (2/4)

Seasonal Access Roads: Most seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle access at this time. The roads will be reopened after the spring mud season. (2/4)

Hunting Season: Small game hunting seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or other hunting implements 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. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution. (2016)

Specific Notices

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, has thin and icy snow. (2/4)
  • The remaining Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends hosted by DEC and its partners are: (1/21)
    • February 13-15, President's Day Holiday Weekend
    • March 12 & 13

Essex Chain Lakes Complex

  • Information about the recreational opportunities in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, including a map, is available.
  • The Hudson Loop Trail and the seasonal access roads have thin and icy snow. (2/4)
  • All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the spring mud season ends. This includes: (2016)
    • Cornell Road - the road serves as a snowmobile trail in the winter
    • Chain Lakes Road North and Drakes Mill Road
    • Camp Six Road - the road is closed until the 2016 hunting season
    • Chain Lakes Road South - the Town of Indian Lake only plows the Chain Lakes Road to the Rafter's Parking Area
  • Goodnow Flow Road is a public 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

A high waterfall
  • The OK Slip Falls Trail has thin and icy snow. (2/4)
  • 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)

Lake George Wild Forest (Western)

  • The gate on Long Pond Trail is closed, it will be reopened for snowmobiles when snow depths warrant. (2/4)
  • Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles until the end of the spring mud season. When snow depths warrant the road will be opened to snowmobiles. (1/7)
  • The following roads remain open to public motor vehicle use at this time. Be cautious the roads are rough. The use of four wheel drive trucks, SUVs or other high axle vehicles is recommended. When snow depths warrant the roads will be closed to motor vehicles and opened to snowmobiles. (1/7)
    • Gay Pond Road
    • Lily Pond Road
  • Public motor vehicle use on Palmer Pond Road remains open for motor vehicle use by people with mobility disabilities with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit. (1/7)
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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: