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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: February 15, 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.

Holiday Weekend: Due to the three day Presidents' Day holiday weekend expect to encounter more vehicles at trailheads and more people and snowmobiles on the trails.

Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout the Adirondacks.

  • Snow depths range from 12 to 20 inches
  • See the NERFC Snow Page (leaves DEC website) for current snow information.
  • Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience. (leaves DEC's website)
  • Be prepared for cold weather and avoid hypothermia, wear:
    • Water proof upper and lower outer shell
    • Waterproof footwear
    • Layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing (not cotton!)
    • Hat and gloves or mittens

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered in 12 to 20 inches of snow. Trails may have ice on the surface of the snow due to recent and forecasted warm weather and rain. Thick ice is present on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas.

  • Snow shoes or skis are should be worn on all trails.
  • Trail crampons and other traction devices should be carried during outings on low elevation and less steep trails and used when warranted.
  • Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons during outings on steep slopes in the high elevations and use when warranted.

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

  • Temperatures will be colder
  • Winds will be stronger
  • Wind chill temperatures will be much lower
  • Snow will be deeper
  • Ice will be thicker

Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts (leave DEC website) for selected summits.

Ice on Water Surfaces: Ice has formed and thickened on most waterbodies. Ice on rivers and streams is less thick. Be safe on ice.

  • Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
  • Avoid ice:
    • Over running water
    • Near inlets & outlet
    • Near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices.

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.

Snowmobile Trails: Snowmobile trails systems throughout the Adirondacks are open. Check local conditions before going out. Be safe when snowmobiling. (link leaves DEC's website)

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.
  • Due to the 8 to 12 inches of recent snow, all snowmobile trails are once again open. Check local conditions before going out. (02/08)
  • The gates on the Moose River Plains Road and other gates in the area are open providing access to all designated snowmobile trails. (2018)
  • 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.
  • 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: