Trail Information for the Central and Southern Adirondacks
Updated: May 21, 2015
WARNING: Wilderness 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!
Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235.
- Your own physical capabilities, knowledge of backcountry recreation and skill level
- The distance you plan to travel and the terrain and conditions you will encounter
- Check (before entering the backcountry)
- With the Local Forest Ranger for current information
- Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
- Hiking shoes or hiking boots
- Comfortable non-cotton clothing
- Hat to protect from sun or rain
- Sunglasses (if sunny)
- Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight or headlamp & extra batteries
- Pocket knife or other multi-tool device
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Gaiters to wear on wet & muddy trails
- Bivy sack or space blankets in case you need to spend the night in woods
- Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
- Always inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return
Northville-Placid Trail Website: The Adirondack Mountain Club has created a web site devoted to the 133-mile Northville-Placid Trail. The new website provides information about planning a hike on the trail - whether a through-hike, section-hike or weekend-hike. It also provides information on the latest trail conditions. Use the link near the bottom of the right column. (12/9)
Organized Events on State Lands: DEC regulation (190.8(cc)) prohibits any person from sponsoring, conducting or participating in any organized event of more than twenty people unless authorized by DEC under a temporary revocable permit (TRP). DEC seeks to ensure that large groups recreate on forest preserve lands 1) at locations, 2) during certain periods and 3) following practices that minimize their impacts on trails, vegetation, wildlife and other users.
Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation (Section 196.8)prohibiting the use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers are not affected this new regulation. See in the DEC Regulations.
Camping Group Sizes in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC regulation (Section 190.4) requires that groups of ten or more persons camping on state land obtain a permit from a forest ranger. DEC policy prohibits issuing group camping permits to groups wanting to camp on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks that are classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe area. This policy was developed to protect natural resources, the primeval character of the area and exceptional wilderness experiences for all recreationists, and follows Leave No Trace practices. Except for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness and the William C. Whitney Wilderness, where the group size is 8, camping groups in wilderness, primitive and canoe area lands are limited to 9 people or less.
Camping Permits: Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more in Wild Forest lands requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. The following information must be provided to the forest ranger to obtain a camping permit: Name, Address, City, State, Zip Code, Vehicle License Plate Number, Telephone Number, Date of Birth, Number in Group, Camping Dates, and Location of Campsite.
Backcountry Campsites: Camping at designated campsites in the backcountry is done on a first come, first served basis. There is no reservation system for these primitive campsites. Campsites in popular areas fill up quickly on weekends so plan accordingly.
Road & Traffic Information: Use the link in the right column to visit NYS Department of Transportation 511 New York for information on transportation services, traffic, and road conditions throughout New York State.
Trails Supporter Patch: The Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.
Fire Danger: MODERATE. Don't leave campfires unattended. Be sure campfires are completely out and embers are cool to the touch. Check today's Fire Danger Rating Map. (5/21)
Memorial Day Holiday Weekend: Due to the holiday weekend expect to see more people than usual recreating on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks. Trailheads, campsites, lean-tos and boat launches may fill up early at popular locations. Plan accordingly and seek less used locations to recreate. (5/21)
Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. See the information under the "Be Prepared" heading above to ensure you are prepared. 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, use the National Weather Service "NWS Weather Forecast" link near the bottom of the right column to check the current weather forecast before entering the backcountry. (5/21)
Electronic Technology: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries can expire. Prepare before the trip and carry a map and compass for navigation or at least as backup. (5/21)
Spring Conditions: Temperartures are forecast to drop below freezing Friday night. Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the high 50s and high 60s through Monday. There is a small chance of rain showers on Memorial Day. Carry a water & wind resistant outer layer and extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Add and remove clothing to stay comfortable. (5/21)
Trail Conditions: Trails may be muddy and wet, especially in low lying areas and along water. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through - not around - mud and water on trails to avoid further eroding trails. Ice may be present on trails early Saturday. (5/21)
Seasonal Access Roads: All seasonal access roads are open. Seasonal access roads are rough, dirt or gravel roads. Four wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles are recommended. (5/21)
Bear-Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks to avoid losing food to bears and to prevent creating nuisance bears. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. (5/21)
Biting Insects: Black Flies and Mosquitos are present in the lower elevations. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: (5/21)
- Wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants;
- Tuck shirts into pants, pant legs into socks and button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist;
- Pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick;
- Use an insect repellant with DEET and follow the label directions.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. (5/21)
Water Levels & Temperatures: Water levels are below normal spring flows, but water temperatures remain very cool. A person in the water will quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water without a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). PFDs should be worn by all paddlers and boaters in small boats. Use the link near the bottom of the right column to check levels and flows of selected waters at the USGS Current Streamflow for New York Waters. (5/21)
Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Route (central portion)
- The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine. Use the link near the bottom of the right column for more information.
- Water levels are running below normal spring flows, but water temperatures are very cool. A person in the water will quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water without a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). While not required PFDs should be worn by all paddlers. (5/21)
Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands
- The O'Neill Flow Road and the Barker Pond Road remain closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the roads dry and harden. (5/21)
- The Blue Mountain Fire Tower is open to the public including the cab. The fire tower was restored in 1994 and the observer's cabin was restored this year. (2010)
Blue Ridge Wilderness
- The Wakely Mountain Fire Tower is open to the public, but has not been restored at this time. DEC plans to restore the fire tower and the observer's cabin. (2007)
Ferris Lake Wild Forest
- The Powley-Piseco Road is open to public motor vehicle traffic. (5/21)
- Beavers have caused flooding problems on some trails: (2014)
- The Fall Stream Trail from Piseco towards the Big Brook trail has one bridge flooded out.
- The Hurrell Vly Trail in Morehouse has a bridge flooded out.
Jessup River Wild Forest
- The two designated primitive tent sites at the northern end of Fawn Lake have been closed for rehabilitation. Two new tent sites will be designated this summer. (5/21)
- The Snowy Mountain Fire Tower was restored and the cab is open to the public.
- The Pillsbury Mountain Fire Tower is open to the public up to the topmost landing, but the cab is closed. DEC plans to restore the tower, including the cab, and the observer's cabin, in the future with the help of a friends group. Once the work is complete the public will be able to access the cab of the fire tower as well.
Moose River Plains Wild Forest
- The western portion of the Moose River Plains (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River) Road is open to motor vehicles from the Limekiln Lake gate near Inlet to the Lost Ponds Access Road. (5/21)
- The Otter Brook Road is open to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. (5/21)
- The the eastern portion of the Moose River Plains (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River) Road from the Cedar River Gate to the Lost Ponds Access Road remains closed to motor vehicles. Due to a long winter with higher than average snowfall and lower than average temperatures, and Memorial Day Weekend coming early this year is too wet and soft to operate the heavy equipment used to prepare the road for motor vehicle traffic. (5/21)
- The Wakely Dam Camping Area at the eastern end of the Moose River Plains is open and camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the nine primitive campsites. (5/21)
- The Clarke's Point Lean-to on Raquette Lake has been destroyed by fire. (2013)
- The 12.8-mile Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail connecting the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake is open. The trail provides four seasons of recreational opportunities for the public to snowmobile, hike and bike. The southwestern end of the trail is at the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road in the Town of Inlet and the northeastern end is at the Sagamore Road in the Town of Long Lake. Trail Map (2013)
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.
- All roads designated for public motor vehicle traffic on the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement are open with a some soft spots. Motorist should stay in the center of the roads as much as possible. (5/21)
- The section of the Jessup River Road, in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement, leading to the Spruce Lake Trailhead is soft and should only be traveled by four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high axle vehicles. (5/21)
- All roads designated for public motor vehicle traffic on the Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement are open and in good condition. (5/21)
- A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on conservation easement lands. The old parking area, located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness, is closed and a rock barrier is located at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake. (2014)
Pigeon Lake Wilderness
- Blowdown may be found on trails, particularly infrequently used side trails. Blowdown may be heavy enough in some places to impede travel. (2012)
Sargent Ponds Wild Forest
- The footbridge on the Castle Rock Trail has been replaced by DEC staff. (2014)
- The Owls Head Mountain Fire Tower was restored a few years ago and is open to the public. There is no observer cabin. (2004)
Shaker Mountain Wild Forest
- All recreational facilities are in satisfactory condition. (2015)
Silver Lake Wilderness
- The Northville-Placid Trail has been rerouted in the Benson Road-Godfrey Road area. The reroute includes seven miles of new trail in the Silver Lake Wilderness combined with upgrades to the former Woods Lake Trail and eliminates 1.6 miles of walking along the Benson Road for through hikers. Non-through hikers may access the NPTl at the Woods Lake Trailhead on Benson Road or the Godfrey Road Trailhead using the Godfrey Road Spur Trail. (Map PDF 2.5 mb) (2015)
- The Mud Lake Lean-to on the Northville Placid Trail has been repaired and is fully functional. (2014)
- The trail to Cathead Mountain remains closed by a private landowner. (2015)
West Canada Lakes Wilderness
- The Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program constructed bog bridging on the Cedar Lakes Trail between the Pillsbury Lake Trailhead and the Cedar Lakes. (2014)
- There is some blowdown in the Northville-Placid Trail near Mud Lake. (2014)
- A new 5 car parking area has been constructed at the Spruce Lake Trailhead on Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement lands. The old parking area was located on forest preserve lands in the West Canada Wilderness. It is closed and a rock barrier has been placed at the wilderness boundary. The new location does not add any additional mileage to a hike into Spruce Lake. (2014)
More about Trail Information for the Central and Southern Adirondacks:
- Seventh Lake Mtn Multi-Use Trail Map - Map of the Seventh Lake Mountain multiple use community connector trail.