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Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the East Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: April 20, 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.

Late Winter/Early Spring Conditions: Snow and ice remain present throughout most of the Adirondacks.

  • Expect to encounter 1-4 inches of recently fallen, wet snow in the lower elevations.
  • Woods, north facing slopes, and other shaded areas will have deeper snow
  • Snow remains deep in the highest elevations with fresh accumulations during the past week.
  • NERFC Snow Page provides current snow information.

Cool and Cold Temperatures:

  • In the lower elevations, daytime temperatures are forecast in the 40s and 50s this weekend
  • Night time and morning temperatures will be below freezing.

Be Prepared for Conditions: Stay dry and warm to avoid hypothermia, bring/wear:

  • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
  • Waterproof footwear
  • Layers of synthetic or wool clothing (not cotton!)
  • Hat and gloves or mittens

Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience. (link leaves DEC's website)

Low Elevation Trail Conditions:

  • Compacted snow has turned to ice on many lower elevation trails, creating "monorails" on the trails as surrounding snow melts.
  • Low elevation trails will be covered in mud, snow, and ice in various combinations.
  • Wear proper foot wear and carry trail crampons (microspikes) on all hikes.
  • Walk on monorails and through mud and water to avoid post-holing in trailside snow, trampling vegetation, and eroding trails.

High Elevation Trail Conditions:

  • Compacted snow has turned to ice which may be thick in some locations.
  • Deep snow is still present above 3,000 feet.
  • Carry crampons and snowshoes and use when warranted.
  • Climbing or mountaineering crampons may be required in some places.

Water Levels and Temperatures: Melting snow will raise water levels.

  • Rivers and streams will be flowing high and fast.
  • Stream crossings may be dangerous or impossible.
  • Water temperatures are very low.
  • People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
  • Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.
  • Boaters and paddlers are required to wear personal flotation devices until May 1.

Blowdown: The Adirondacks have experienced heavy winds recently resulting in a significant amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches). Plan for all hikes to take longer than usual and be prepared to turn back if blowdown is heavy.

Ice on Waterbodies: While most flowing waters are open, most ponds and lakes are still covered in ice - except around inlets and outlets. No ice should be considered safe at this time.

Seasonal Access Roads: All gates on seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.

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

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

Specific Notices

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 North Warren Snowmobile Trail System has closed for the season. (3/29)
  • 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: