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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West 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.
  • Temperatures will remain below freezing throughout the day in the higher elevations (above 3,000 feet)

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.

  • Temperatures will be colder
  • Winds will be stronger
  • Ice will be present
  • Snow will be present and deep on high elevation 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. (2018)
  • 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. (2018)

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 the upcoming year. (2018)

Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract

Moose River Plains Complex

  • The Moose River Plains Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The gates have been closed at both ends of the Limekiln-Cedar River Road for mud season. The road system will open for public motor vehicle use when it has dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed. (4/6)
  • Roads will be reopened once they have dried and hardened, and needed repairs and maintenance are completed. (4/6)
  • 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. (2017)

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. (2018)

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.
  • DEC is seeking input regarding public recreation on the Perkin's Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract. A public meeting is scheduled in Speculator on April 25 and comments will be accepted until May 11.
  • The town of Lake Pleasant has closed the gates on Perkins Clearing Road and Jessup River Road to public motor vehicle use for mud season. The roads will reopen once they have dried and hardened, and annual maintenance and repairs are completed. (4/6)
  • Brister Brook Parking Area is closed. (3/29)
  • The following trails have been closed for logging operations, the roads will be very active with log trucks and other logging related traffic: (2018)
    • The south end of Perkins Clearing road between State Route 30 and Mud Lake Road (a bypass route has been created to allow snowmobiles to access Perkins Clearing from the south)
    • Mud Lake Road
    • Elm Lake Road is closed and plowed from the entrance of the Speculator Tree Farm to Long Level Road
    • Long Level Road is closed and plowed to Fly Creek Road
    • Fly Creek Road is closed and plowed from Long Level Road south to about Pine Mountain.
  • Two new designated campsites have been developed along Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Tract. (2017)

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. (2017)
  • 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. (2018)

More about Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks: