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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: June 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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Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information web page for important notices and information which apply broadly across the Adirondacks, and links to important information about hiking, camping and paddling in 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.

Trail Conditions: Trails are wet and muddy especially along water ways and in low areas.

Protect Trails & Trailside Vegetation: Stay on trails to protect vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails. Walk through mud and water. Do not walk on the vegetation growing beside trails.

Water Conditions: Water levels are above average for this time of year. (USGS Current Water Data for New York (leaves DEC website)). Water temperatures are warming but remain cool to cold. Boaters, paddlers, and anglers wading or fishing from treacherous shorelines should wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD, aka life jacket). A person submersed in cold water can lose consciousness in minutes, a PFD will keep their head above water and prevent drowning.

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads consist of dirt, sand, gravel, and/or stone and typically have a rough surface. Four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs, or other high clearance vehicles are recommended for use on seasonal access roads.

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. (6/8)
  • Barker Pond Roadside Campsite will be closed for several weeks due to logging operations in the area. Access to Barker Pond will remain open. Do not block the road when parking. Be prepared to reverse back down Barker Pond Road if you encounter logging trucks. (6/8)
  • O'Neil Flow Road, Pickwackett Pond Road, and Minverva Club Road are open for public motor vehicle use. The roads are wet, muddy, and soft in sections but are passable. (5/25)
  • Logging operations are taking place on the conservation easement lands around the Tirrell Pond Trail. Be alert for logging equipment crossing the trail. (4/27)
  • 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)
  • The Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew, under DEC contract and direction, has built two replacement foot bridges on the Northville Placid Trail. (2016)

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. (5/25)
  • A 19-foot bridge on the Slim Pond Trail has been replaced by DEC and the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program with a new bridge constructed of native materials. (2016)

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 whole length of Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (aka Moose River Plains Road) is open for public motor vehicle use. (6/8)
  • Otter Brook Road is open to the trailhead parking area near Squaw Lake for public motor vehicle use. (6/8)
  • Rock Dam Road remains closed to public motor vehicle use. (6/8)
  • The Town of Indian Lake has opened Cedar River Road to public motor vehicle use. The public can now access the Cedar River Flow by motor vehicle. (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.
  • A crew from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program and staff of the DEC Northville Trail Crew, with assistance from the State Police Aviation Unit, recently replaced the Beaver Pond Foot Bridge on a well-traveled segment of the trail in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. The bridge, which crosses the water connecting Beaver Pond and the Cedar Lakes, had been badly damaged since one of the two stringers failed, creating a near 30 degree tilt and erosion washed out the bank on the approach. The new bridge is constructed with three pole stringers, the eroding bank was armored and a ramp constructed to the bridge to stay above the wash out. The bridge should remain level and stable for the next 50 years. (2016)
  • The Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew, under DEC contract and direction, has built two replacement foot bridges on the trail in the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. (2016)
  • 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. (2016)

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.
  • The bridge on Long Level Road is open. (6/8)
  • Jessup River Road/Old Military Road to Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead is open to public motor vehicle use. (2017)
  • Mud Lake Road is open to public motor vehicle use. (2017)
  • Jessup River Road, Perkins Clearing Road, and Elm Lake Road are open to public motor vehicle use. (2017)

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest

  • DEC staff, a Student Conservation Association (SCA) Backcountry Steward and volunteers from Lean2Rescue have repaired and relocated the Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake to a nearby site in the same general area. (2016)
  • Other work completed on Raquette Lake lean-tos by DEC and crews from the SCA Adirondack Program include: (2016)
    • The middle lean-to on Big Island was replaced and relocated to the south eastern shore of the island. Fall 2015
    • The eastern lean-to on Big Island was roofed and stained;
    • The northern lean-to at Lonesome Bay was roofed and stained; and
    • DEC plans to repair and relocate all three lean-tos at Boucher Point in Fall 2016.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness

  • The West Canada Lakes Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A crew from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program and staff the DEC Northville Trail Crew, with assistance from the State Police Aviation Unit, recently replaced the Beaver Pond Foot Bridge on a well-traveled segment of the Northville-Placid Trail. The bridge, which crosses the water connecting Beaver Pond and the Cedar Lakes, had been badly damaged since one of the two stringers failed creating a near 30 degree tilt and erosion washed out the bank on the approach. The new bridge is constructed with three pole stringers, the eroding bank was armored and a ramp constructed to the bridge to stay above the wash out. The new bridge should remain level and stable for the next 50 years. (2016)
  • 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. (2016)

More about Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks: