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Backcountry Information for the Northwestern Adirondack

Updated: November 25, 2020

Map of showing the Northwestern Region of the Adirondacks

Welcome to the Adirondacks

The Welcome to the Adirondacks webpage is the place to go if you are interested in learning more about the Adirondacks. It provides information about the Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website). Be sure to check out the links to additional information and tips for recreating safely and minimizing your impacts on natural resources, recreational infrastructure, and other backcountry users in the Adirondacks.

Keep Our Environment Clean

Help preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks and protect our local wildlife by putting garbage in designated trash cans when available or taking your garbage home with you. Please do not leave trash, gear, or food scraps behind. Use designated toilets when available and visit the Leave No Trace website to learn how you can Leave No Trace when going to the bathroom in the woods. Do not graffiti or carve rocks, trees, or backcountry structures like lean-tos or fire towers.

Drone Use

Drones are prohibited on lands classified as Wilderness, Primitive, and Canoe Area. Before you launch your device, learn more about drone use on DEC lands.

Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local

New York State's PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. This guidance (PDF) urges New Yorkers to recreate locally in their region (PDF) (leaves DEC's website), practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

Use DECinfo Locator to find a DEC-managed resource near you and visit the State Parks website (leaves DEC's website) for information about parks and park closures. Use the hashtags #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal, #RecreateResponsibly, and #RecreateLocal on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share how you get outside safely, responsibly, and locally.

Pack A Mask: When recreating in New York, hikers and others are required to wear masks in public (leaves DEC's website) when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained, including on trails and in the backcountry. No matter how or where you plan to recreate, pack a mask and wear it in parking lots, on crowded summits, and anywhere else you meet people along the trail or in the outdoors.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions: New York State residents and visitors from other states should check New York's most recent COVID-19 travel advisory before making plans.

Limit Parking: Please avoid visiting crowded areas. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas. If parking lots are full, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

Hike within the Limits of Your Physical Abilities and Experience: Adirondack lands and forests are monitored by Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and other staff. These officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and more. Following this guidance (PDF) will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, state resources and frontline emergency first responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

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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Bring Winter Gear: You are likely to encounter winter conditions, including ice and snow, at higher elevations. This is not limited to the High Peaks. Snow and ice have been observed on lower elevation summits as well. Bring traction devices, such as microspikes or crampons, and other winter gear on all hikes.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) when recreating in the Adirondacks.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast (leaves DEC website) for updated notices and current conditions and forecasts. Be prepared for the forecasted conditions or to change your plans.
  • NY Mesonow (leaves DEC website) has two dozen stations in and just outside of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data and forecasts.

Travel: Check 511NY (leaves DEC website) for road closures, conditions, and parking status along the Route 73 corridor.

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information main webpage for general notices, hiking resources, and other information which applies across the Adirondacks.

Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Ray Brook Dispatch at 518-891-0235.

Specific Notices

Grass River Wild Forest (includes Grass River, Long Pond, Sevey's and Tooley Pond Conservation Easement Tracts)

  • The Grass River Complex webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Albert Marsh Road bridge (snowmobile trail 704) on the Long Pond Conservation Easement is closed.
  • The section of the St. Lawrence County Multiuse Trail on the Grass River and Tooley Pond Conservation Easement Tracts closed for the season on September 15. (10/2)
  • A new primitive tent site near the shore of Allen Pond on the Tooley Pond Conservation Easement Tract is available for use. A Student Conservation Association crew constructed the site which includes an earthen tent pad, a stone fire ring, and a nearby box privy. The site can be accessed via the Allen Pond Trail. (10/1)
  • The landowner of the Tooley Pond Tract is conducting a timber harvest and logging equipment is crossing Spruce Mountain Road which is used to access the South Branch of the Grass River. Drivers must use caution and stay alert. (10/1)

Raquette Boreal Complex (includes Raquette River Wild Forest, Raquette Jordan Boreal Primitive Area and nearby conservation easement tracts)

  • The Raquette Boreal Complex webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Whitehill Wild Forest (includes Gold Mine and Long Pond Conservation Easement Tracts)

  • The Raquette Boreal Complex webpage provides information about the Whitehill Wild Forest and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.