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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Note: The Adirondack Trail Information web pages are now the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages. The web pages include information on the western Adirondacks and have been reorganized and reformatted. Individual Forest Preserve units may not be listed on the same page they were previously listed.

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: August 25, 2016

Special Notice: Construction work, including blasting of bedrock, is underway on the access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain and is expected to continue through the fall. Hikers should not use the access road to ascend or descend Blue Mountain. Hikers on Tirrell Pond Trail may encounter heavy equipment operating where the trail crosses the access road approximately 1.9 miles from the Blue Mountain Trailhead. Use caution when hiking the trail in this area, especially during the week.

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 weather and other conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Weather forecasts can and do change. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast (leaves DEC website) before entering the backcountry.

Trail Conditions: Trails have been drying up but if forecasted thunderstorms and rain occur Thursday afternoon and night, expect trails to be wet and muddy - especially along water bodies, in low lying areas and during & after rain events. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on trails; walk through mud & water to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.

Hot Weather Precautions: DEC Forest Rangers continue to respond to incidents of hikers in distress due to dehydration. Be prepared for hot weather. Wear loose clothing of material that wicks moisture away from your body and protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses and sun block. Drink plenty of water at home, in the car and at the trailhead. Carry at least 2 liters/quarts of water per person; rest often and drink water more often; and replace electrolytes via tablets or other means.

Black Bear Activity: Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks.

  • The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
  • ALL food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
  • Elsewhere, ALL food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters or in a food (aka bear) hang elsewhere.
  • Bears are most active in the evening; cook, eat, and clean up before dusk.
  • These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry.

Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits and other open areas and being on the water during thunderstorms. Immediately move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter at the first sound of thunder. Find a low spot away from tall trees. Seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads may be rough, wet and muddy, the use of 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, SUVs and other high clearance motor vehicles is recommended.

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.
  • The Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew, under DEC contract and direction, has built two replacement foot bridges on the Northville Placid Trail. (8/4)
  • Pickwacket Pond Road which provides access to the Fishing Brook Hand Launch Site on the Township 20 Tract Easement Lands is open to public motor vehicle use. Paddlers may travel downstream to County Line Flow and take out at the new hand launch site on the south shore - see entry below. (2016)
  • Construction work, including blasting of bedrock, is underway on the access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain and is expected to continue through the fall. Hikers should not use the access road to ascend or descend Blue Mountain. Hikers on Tirrell Pond Trail may encounter heavy equipment operating where the trail crosses the access road approximately 1.9 miles from the Blue Mountain Trailhead. Use caution when hiking the trail in this area, especially during the week. (2016)
  • O'Neill Flow Road and Barker Pond Road are rough, only 4-wheel drive pickups & SUVs and other high clearance vehicles should use the road. (2016)
  • Construction of a roadway, parking area and trail which provide access for paddlers to the County Line Flow on the Township 20 Tract is complete and open for public use. Public trespass on the lands other than the roadway, parking lot and trail is prohibited. Fishing from shore - including at the waterway access site - is prohibited. (2015)

Blue Ridge Wilderness

  • The Blue Ridge Wilderness and Wakely Mountain Primitive Area web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • 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. (7/15)

Moose River Plains Complex

  • The Moose River Plains Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report.

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 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. (8/4)
  • 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

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. (7/14)
  • 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.
  • 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: