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Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor

Tupper Lake to Lake Placid Segment

Future Adirondack Rail Trail

hikingbiking back country campingfishingcross country skiing snow shoeing snowmobiling parking and directions icon key

  • Open for recreation: Year-round. Some sections may be closed to public use during active construction or hazardous conditions.
  • Fee: Free
  • Contact Information:
    • DEC Region 5 Ray Brook Office: 518-897-1200; info.r5@dec.ny.gov (M-F, 8:30am to 4:45pm)
    • Backcountry Emergencies: 1-833-NYS-RANGERS (1-833-697-7264) (24/7) or 911
    • Enforcement Matters: 1-844-DEC-ECOs (1-844-332-3267) (24/7) or 911
  • Location: Town and Village of Tupper Lake, Towns of Santa Clara and Harrietstown, Village of Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Town of North Elba, Villages of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, Essex County
  • Maps: Overview Map (PDF) || Tupper Lake to Saranac Lake Map (PDF) || Saranac Lake to Lake Placid Map (PDF) || Google Earth || DECinfo Locator

Current Status

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have begun to implement the management actions outlined in the 2020 Unit Management Plan Amendment for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (Corridor). DOT is rehabilitating the Remsen to Tupper Lake segment of the Corridor, and DOT's contractor has removed rail infrastructure in the Corridor from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid. Jurisdiction of that segment has now been transferred to DEC.

With this change in jurisdiction, DEC has responsibility of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment and is managing recreational activity, public safety, and construction and maintenance of the future rail trail. The Corridor is currently unimproved and has a rough, inconsistent surface in some stretches. Until the rail trail is constructed, the Corridor will be open to public use on a limited and fluctuating basis, depending on the types of uses (discussed below), construction status, and existence of hazardous conditions.

Public access and use of the Remsen to Tupper Lake segment under DOT's jurisdiction is managed by DOT. The information below pertains to the DEC segment from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid.

Construction:

Construction of the Adirondack Rail Trail is anticipated to be done in stages. As each stage is complete, the completed portion of trail will open to the public and be managed according to the 2020 UMP Amendment and the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The anticipated first stage of the rail trail, from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake, is currently scheduled to open in September 2023. The timeline for constructing the rail trail is tentative and will depend on many factors, including the construction permitting that is currently underway. DEC will update the status of the rail trail on this webpage.

Public Use:

Before construction begins and during trail construction stages, recreation will be allowed at users own risk, and carefully managed with public safety as the top priority. Public use may be limited or restricted in sections due to hazardous conditions or active construction. See maps for updated trail conditions, including closures and notices.

Users will need to traverse the Corridor at low speeds and use caution, assess Corridor conditions, use good sense, and heed signs. After removal of the rail infrastructure, the rail bed surface was roughly graded to reduce "wash-boarding" from removing the railroad ties. Currently the rail bed surface, however, is not consistent along the entire segment. The surface material varies, ranging from large, crushed stone to sand, and is often mixed with varying amounts of mineral soil. Occasional rail tie fragments and small metal pieces remain in the Corridor.

During construction, public recreation will be allowed as follows:

  • Motorized vehicles, aside from snowmobiles, are prohibited on the entire corridor in all seasons. This will be enforced with gates, bollards, and law enforcement patrol and checkpoints.
  • Winter recreation including snowmobiling, cross country skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing will be permitted.
  • Pedestrian and bicycling will be the only non-winter uses permitted.
  • Users should always practice Leave No Trace while recreating on the Corridor by carrying out what you carry in, being prepared for the risks and challenges of the unimproved Corridor and varied rail bed surface, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property.

Background

The rail trail and scenic railway are key components of the recently completed 2020 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (UMP) Amendment, which provides a blueprint for sustainably developing this picturesque 119-mile travel corridor to bolster tourism and further recreation opportunities. The corridor follows the path of a once-thriving rail line constructed in 1892 and operated continuously until 1972. The line and its right-of-way were purchased by New York State in 1974.

The Adirondack Rail Trail will be constructed to connect Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake, allowing trail users to enjoy the unique charm and amenities of each community while providing access to miles of breathtaking trails, numerous campsites, and abundant waterways in the Forest Preserve lands adjacent to the travel corridor. The 34-mile corridor will also feature interpretive signage to help visitors understand the history of the railway, the cultures of adjacent communities, and the natural resources of surrounding lands and waters, creating a linear museum.

The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) is overseeing the trail's design and construction and working to ensure it will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the maximum extent practicable. Upon completion of construction, DEC will maintain day-to-day management of the trail and, working closely with stakeholders and municipalities, will ensure it remains a world-class accessible outdoor recreation destination.

Estimated timing to complete the Rail Trail is dependent on multiple factors including contract approvals, securing necessary wetland permits, and coordinating with State, Federal, and local entities. Construction of the compacted stone dust surfaced trail will be undertaken in stages. As each stage is finished, the completed portion of trail will open to the public. The first of the three stages-the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of the trail-is currently scheduled to open September 2023. The complete trail is expected to be open in 2025.

Featured Activities

Walking & Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Corridor conditions include a mixed variety of surfaces ranging from large, crushed stone to sand. Occasional rail tie fragments and small metal pieces remain in the corridor. Portions of the trail may be very muddy due to surface conditions. See maps for conditions.

Plan Ahead and Prepare:

  • Wear stable footwear like shoes and boots when walking on the corridor.
  • Trekking poles help with balance on unstable surfaces.
  • Review the map ahead of time to know where approved parking locations and trail access points are, what's nearby, and trail surface conditions.
  • Users should always practice Leave No Trace while recreating on the corridor by carrying out what you carry in, being prepared for the risks and challenges of the unimproved corridor and varied rail bed surface, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property.

Bicycling

biking

General information on bicycling includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations.

Corridor conditions include a mixed variety of surfaces ranging from large, crushed stone to sand. Occasional rail tie fragments and small metal pieces remain in the corridor. See maps for surface conditions.

Plan Ahead and Prepare:

  • Bikers should be extremely cautious and be prepared with tools in case of a flat tire. Use of road bikes with thin tires are not recommended at this time.
  • "Stop" and "Stop Ahead" signs were installed in 2021 where the trail intersects main roadways; however, crosswalks are not marked. Stop at all road crossings to check for oncoming traffic.
  • Some bridges along the corridor have open decks with large gaps between the cross ties. Use caution when crossing bridges until decking is installed.
  • The corridor may not have signage at every cautionary location. Always be aware that the unfinished corridor poses safety risks and take all necessary precautions before recreating on the corridor.

Be considerate of other trail users:

  • Slow down and yield to walkers.
  • Bike single file to allow space for other users
  • Users should always practice Leave No Trace while recreating on the corridor by carrying out what you carry in, being prepared for the risks and challenges of the unimproved corridor and varied rail bed surface, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property.

Camping

back country camping

General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Camping and campfires along the corridor are prohibited. There are a range of camping opportunities nearby on both undeveloped state land and campgrounds.

Nearby State Campgrounds:

Nearby Primitive Camping Areas:

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations. Ensure continued good fishing opportunities in the future by fishing responsibly. If you have never been fishing but want to try, it's easy to learn how to fish.

There are an amazing variety of angling opportunities that can be accessed by the rail trail, from remote brook trout ponds to large lake trout and land-locked Atlantic salmon lakes, to largemouth and smallmouth bass waters, and some excellent stream fishing for trout. Waters adjacent to the Adirondack Rail Trail contains great examples of what the Adirondacks has to offer in terms of fishing. Lake Colby is particularly popular fishery that can provide excellent angling opportunities. Note that no fishing is allowed on Little Clear Pond.

Please be aware that the use of baitfish is prohibited in some of these waters (check the fishing regulations) and that care should be taken to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing provides information on fishing in the Adirondacks and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish; populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
snowshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

The corridor makes an excellent cross-county ski and snowshoe adventure with adequate snow cover. The wide level pathway provides miles of scenic travel. Shared with snowmobilers and fat-tire bicycles, skiers and snowshoers should be cautious and follow yielding tips below.

Be considerate of others on the trail:

  • Ski and snowshoe single file to leave space for other users.
  • Stay to the right and pass on the left. Always look before changing positions on the trail.
  • Yield the right of way to those passing from behind.
  • If traveling at night, wear proper reflective gear, a head lamp and a flashing light on your back to ensure visibility by snowmobilers.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Safety Tips:

  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers.
  • Avoid trails with inadequate snow cover
  • Keep speeds low around populated areas, road intersections and staging areas. Follow all speed limit signs.
  • When riding at night, use extra caution, wear reflective clothing and reduce your speed.
  • Buddy up with two or three riders, reducing your vulnerability if you have an accident or breakdown.

Be considerate of others on the trail:

  • Ride single file, keep to the right and pass on the left only when the trail is clear.
  • When stopping on the trail, pull your snow machine as far right and off the trail as possible.
  • Yield the right-of-way to skiers, snowshoers and other non-mechanized forms of travel, as well as those passing or traveling uphill.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Hunting and trapping are prohibited along the corridor.

The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many species of birds and mammals are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another, so you might catch site of wildlife during your trip.

More information on Adirondack flora and fauna (leaves DEC Website) from the SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center.

You can protect wildlife and wildlife habitat when viewing them.

Wildlife Commonly Found in the Adirondacks

Directions

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Parking Areas and Directions

  • Fish Pond Truck Trail Parking Area is located off State Route 30, 3 ½ miles west of the Hamlet of Lake Clear Junction. (44.3554° N, 74.3037° W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Haystack Mountain Ray Brook Trailhead Parking Area is located along State Route 86 between Ray Brook and Lake Placid (44.2925°N, 74.0511°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Little Clear Pond Parking Area is located off State Route 30, 3 1/2 miles west of the Hamlet of Lake Clear Junction (44.355725°N, 74.291624°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Oseetah Trails Parking Area is located on State Route 86 east of the Village Saranac Lake. (44.305071°N, 74.111352°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Scarface Mountain Trailhead is located on County Route 32, 0.2 miles south of State Route 86. (44.298201°N, 74.083397°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations, and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other backcountry users.

All users of the corridor must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

During construction public recreation will be allowed as follows:

  • Motorized vehicles, aside from snowmobiles, are prohibited on the entire corridor in all seasons. This will be enforced with gates, bollards, and law enforcement patrol and checkpoints.
  • Winter recreation including snowmobiling, cross country skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing will be permitted.
  • Pedestrian and bicycling will be the only non-winter uses permitted.
  • Users should always practice Leave No Trace while recreating on the corridor by carrying out what you carry in, being prepared for the risks and challenges of the unimproved corridor and varied rail bed surface, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with 2020 Amendment to the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor (no appendices) (PDF). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, and natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

For more information visit the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor - Unit Management Plan webpage.