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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Map of showing the West Central Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: March 30, 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).

Snow: Snow depths range from 6 to 12 inches with 6 to 8 inches of additional snow forecasted, more in the higher elevations. National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information Page (leaves DEC's website) provides additional information on snow conditions.

Trail Conditions: Trails are covered with snow. . Secondary, less used trails may have blowdown (fallen or leaning trees, limbs and branches) and may require "breaking trail" after the storm where the deeper snows are forecast. Trails along water and in low areas will be a mix of snow, slush, mud, ice, and water. Trails may be icy where snow depths are a few inches or less.

Snowshoes or Skis: Snowshoes or skis should be used on all trails covered in 8 inches or more of snow. The use of snowshoes prevents "post-holing" (deep footprints in the snow), avoids injuries, and eases travel on snow-covered trails. Post-holing makes trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use.

Ice on Trails: Rocks and bedrock along streams, in drainages, on open summits and other exposed locations are icy. Carry microspikes or other food traction devices and use when warranted.

Snowmobiles: Some trails systems and gates on individual trails are closed. Contact the local club or tourist information center (leaves DEC website) for information on opened trails and local trail conditions before going out.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, and snow will be deeper on high elevation summits such as Blue Mountain. Sight distance can be limited by blowing snow, sometimes significantly.

Ice on Water: Ice is thinning, weakening, and receding from inlets, outlets and shorelines. Snow, slush and water are present on the surface of the ice. Ice on rivers, streams, and most channels of moving water, if present, is breaking up or very thin. Ice that can hold snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person. No ice should be considered safe without checking the thickness and condition first. Be safe on the ice.

Winter Conditions: Be prepared for snow, ice, cold temperatures and short days.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Limekiln Lake Gate, the Cedar River Gate and the Moose River Plain Snowmobile Trail have been reopened. The local snowmobile club is working to have it groomed by the weekend. (3/16)

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

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: