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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: April 20, 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).

Early Spring Conditions: Temperatures are warming, rain is falling, snow is melting and waters are rising. Spring has arrived in the lower elevations but winter remains in the higher elevations. Be prepared for a variety of conditions.

Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are closed for the spring mud season. The roads will be reopened after they have dried, hardened, and any necessary maintenance. DEC plans to have all seasonal roads open before the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. However, wet, cold weather and other factors could prevent the opening individual roads or sections of roads. Check the Specific Notices for the status of individual roads or road systems.

Snow: Patches of snow may be present in the middle elevations mostly in in and along forests, on north facing slopes, and in other shaded areas. Deep snow is present in the higher elevations.

High Elevation Trails: Deep snow is still present on high elevation mountains. If you plan to hike Wakely Mountain (3,744 feet in elevation), Blue Mountain (3,740 feet in elevation), or Pillsbury Mountain (3,602 feet in elevation), CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM! DEC Forest Rangers have responded to several incidents of hikers who continued on to mountain summits despite deepening snow and lack of snowshoes, then sought assistance because they were wet, cold, tired, and running out of daylight.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will present on high elevation summits.

Trail Conditions: Trails are wet and muddy conditions are prevalent. Remember to walk through mud and water - not around - to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails. Patches of ice or snow may be present on middle elevation trails in or along forests, on north facing slopes, or other shaded areas.

Water Conditions: Water levels are high and water temperatures are cold. Boaters and paddlers are reminded that until May 1 all persons on any boat, kayak, or canoe must be wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD aka). Anglers are encouraged to wear PFDs when wading or fishing from steep shorelines. A person submersed in cold water can lose consciousness in minutes, a PFD will keep their head above water and prevent drowning.

Water Crossings: High water levels will make crossings of some rivers and streams difficult, treacherous or even impossible.

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.
  • Although trailheads and lower elevation trails are without snow, DEEP SNOW is present in the higher elevations. If you plan to hike to the summit of Blue Mountain, CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM when snow is deeper than your lower shins. CARRY SNOWSHOES OR DO NOT CONTINUE UP TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER SNOW. (4/20)
  • Gates are closed and public motor vehicle use is prohibited on the following roads: (2017)
    • O'Neil Flow Road
    • Pickwickett Pond Road
    • Minverva Club Road
  • Construction work on the access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain is completed for the season. The road 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.
  • Although trailheads and lower elevation trails are without snow, DEEP SNOW is present in the higher elevations. If you plan to hike to the summit of Wakely Mountain, CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM when snow is deeper than your lower shins. CARRY SNOWSHOES OR DO NOT CONTINUE UP TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER SNOW. (4/20)
  • Wakely Mountain Fire Tower has been found to be structurally unsound and has been closed to the public until further notice. (2017)
  • 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)

Moose River Plains Complex

  • The Moose River Plains Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • The Moose River Plains Road/Snowmobile Trail System is closed for the spring mud season. The roads will be reopened after they have dried, hardened, and any necessary maintenance. (4/6)

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 Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Road/Snowmobile Trail System is closed for the spring mud season. The roads will be reopened after they have dried, hardened, and any necessary maintenance. (4/6)

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.
  • Although trailheads and lower elevation trails are without snow, DEEP SNOW is present in the higher elevations. If you plan to hike to the summit of Pillsbury Mountain, CARRY SNOWSHOES and USE THEM when snow is deeper than your lower shins. CARRY SNOWSHOES OR DO NOT CONTINUE UP TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER SNOW. (4/20)
  • 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: