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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: November 22, 2017

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.

Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC's website).

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC's website) when recreating in the West Central Adirondacks.

Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions: Expect to encounter below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Snow and snow showers are forecast but no significant accumulation is in the forecast at this time. Be prepared for conditions:

  • Avoid hypothermia, stay dry and warm.
  • Be prepared for wet and cold conditions with:
    • Waterproof outer layer
    • Wear layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing.
    • Hat and gloves or mittens.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight; the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered with fallen leaves, a dusting to 2 inches of snow, and ice. Water and mud may be present on some portions of trail throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Wet, icy, and snow-covered leaves can be very slippery, use caution when walking on leaves - particularly on steep sections of trail.
  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices - especially on steep sections of trail and at water crossings where rocks may be covered with a layer of ice.
  • Due to recent high winds, expect to encounter blow down (fallen or hanging trees, limbs and branches) on trails.
  • Walk through mud and water - not around - to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails.

Ice on Water: Ice has formed or begun forming on

  • Ponds and small lakes;
  • Backwaters and pools of streams and rivers;
  • Bays and along the shoreline of larger water bodies.

Ice will not bear the weight of person at this time. Remember ice that holds snow still doesn't hold the weight of a person.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, snow will be deeper, & ice will be present.

  • Wear a jacket or coat (outer shell) that blocks wind when on summits or other exposed areas.
  • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing to wear on summits.

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

Specific Notices

Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Trail

  • The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 Tract & Township 20 Tract Easement Lands

  • The Blue Mountain Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Logging operations on the Township 19 Easement Lands will result in increased numbers of logging trucks on O'Neil Flow Road this summer. Roll down vehicle windows, travel slowly, listen for trucks, and move off the road to allow passage of logging trucks. Logging trucks have the right of way. (2017)
  • The access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain is a private road. The use of the road by people other than authorized personnel with administrative duties is prohibited and is considered trespassing. (2017)

Blue Ridge Wilderness

  • The Blue Ridge Wilderness and Wakely Mountain Primitive Area web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Wakely Mountain Trail remains closed until further notice due to safety concerns with the Wakely Mountain Fire Tower. The fire tower was closed to public access in December 2016 due to structural deficiencies. The condition of the tower has worsened and it is possible the tower may collapse in heavy winds. DEC plans to replace all of the footings in 2018. (2017)

Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract

Moose River Plains Complex

  • The Moose River Plains Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Wilson Ridge Trail, Sly Pond Trail, and Otter Brook Truck Trail are overgrown and sections of the trails may be difficult to follow. DEC plans to clear and brush the trails in 2018. (9/14)
  • Portions of the Otter Brook Road and Indian Lake Road are rough. High clearance vehicles are recommend on these roads. (9/14)
  • Cellar Pond Trail and Horn Lake Trail have recently been cleared. (9/14)

Northville-Placid Trail

  • The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter (leaves DEC website) of the Adirondack Mountain Club provides the latest trail conditions and information for planning a hike on the trail - whether a through-hike, section-hike or weekend-hike.
  • The Sucker Brook Trail which connects the Northville-Placid Trail and the DEC Lewey Lake Campground in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness is closed until further notice. Blowdown, wet stretches of trail, and beaver activity make the trail impassable and difficult to follow. DEC is developing plans to restore the trail corridor and allow safe passage for hikers. The Colvin Brook Lean-to at the western end of the trail remains open but can only be accessed from the Northville-Placid Trail. (2017)

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands

  • The Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Two new designated campsites have been developed along Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Tract. (10/13)
  • Yennards Bridge over the Kunjamuk River on Pine Lakes Road in the Speculator Tree Farm Tract is being rebuilt. The bridge is currently closed to motor vehicles but will be also closed to foot traffic during 1-2 construction days. Construction is expected late fall. (11/6)

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest

  • All three lean-tos on Seventh Lake are fully repaired, work on Lean-to #2 and Lean-to #3 was completed this past spring by Lean2Rescue. (8/10)
  • Work has also been completed on Raquette Lake lean-tos by DEC, crews from the SCA Adirondack Program, and, most of all, volunteers from Lean2Rescue and includes: (2017)
    • All three lean-tos at Boucher Point have been repaired and moved, Boucher #2 was moved 0.2 mile to the east.
    • Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake was repaired and moved to a nearby site in the same general area
    • The middle lean-to on Big Island was replaced and relocated to the south eastern shore of the island
    • The eastern lean-to on Big Island was roofed and stained
    • The northern lean-to at Lonesome Bay was roofed and stained
    • The remaining two lean-tos (one on Big Island and one at Lonesome Bay) will be repaired this fall

West Canada Lakes Wilderness

The West Canada Lakes Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

  • The Sucker Brook Trail which connects the Northville-Placid Trail and the DEC Lewey Lake Campground is closed until further notice. Blowdown, wet stretches of trail, and beaver activity make the trail impassable and difficult to follow. DEC is developing plans to restore the trail corridor and allow safe passage for hikers. The Colvin Brook Lean-to at the western end of the trail remains open but can only be accessed from the Northville-Placid Trail. (2017)

More about Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks: