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Backcountry Information for the Western Adirondacks

Updated: September 22, 2022

Map of showing the Western Region of the Adirondacks

General Notices

The Welcome to the Adirondacks webpage provides information about the Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website). Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for Adirondack recreation resources, hiking resources, and other information which applies across the Adirondacks.

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 backcountry. Backcountry hiking trails can be rugged and rough-they are not maintained as park walkways-wear proper footwear!

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Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Dispatch, 833-NYS-RANGERS (833-697-7264).

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

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

Travel: Check 511NY (leaves DEC website) for road closures and conditions.

@NYSDECAlerts: Follow @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time updates to help you prepare.

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

For information on North Lake Conservation Easement, please visit the Southwestern Adirondacks page.

Aldrich Pond Wild Forest

  • The Aldrich Pond Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Powell Road leading to South Creek Lake often experiences flooded conditions due to beaver activity. Users should exercise caution and be aware of changing road conditions throughout the seasons. (2020)

Bog River Complex (Lows Lake, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest, and Big Tupper & Piercefield Conservation Easement Tracts)

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

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest (Massawepie and Conifer Emporium Conservation Easement Tracts)

  • The Cranberry Lake Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • A trail project was recently completed which created a new 600 foot re-route of the Campground Trail: a portion of the Cranberry Lake 50 trail system. The NYSDEC Cranberry Lake Operations staff began the project by delivering materials for a new foot bridge to the work site via snowmobile in February 2022. The final week of June, a contract trail crew from Tahawus Trails installed the new 4 ' x 12' foot bridge and re-routed the trail to better drained ground. The lumber from the old foot bridge will be removed by DEC Operations later this year. (07/07)
  • A trail project was recently completed which created a new 285 foot re-route of the Bear Mountain Trail, located near the DEC Cranberry Lake Campground. During the week of 6/20, a contract trail crew from Tahawus Trails installed the trail re-route and closed the former trail section which was steeply sloped and in poor condition. Significant rock work, including stone steps, were installed as part of the newly re-routed trail. (07/07)

Five Ponds Wilderness

  • The Five Ponds Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor (Railroad) is considered an active railroad. The railroad is undergoing maintenance adjacent to the Five Ponds Wilderness Area and William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. There is an increase in traffic from trains and equipment working on rehabilitation of the railroad through this section. Users are reminded that the railroad tracks between Harrington Brook and the carry to Clear Pond and Bog Lake (Five Ponds Wilderness) are not a DEC trail and should not be used as a canoe carry when the railroad is active. (09/01)
  • The footbridge over Glasby Creek located on the High Falls Loop/Cranberry Lake 50 Trail was recently replaced. (11/2021)
  • The Darning Needle Pond, Fishpole Pond, and Olmstead Pond Trails recently received trail work including new drainage structures, hardening of wet sections of trail, and new trail markers. (11/2021)
  • The Olmstead Pond Trail (part of the Cranberry Lake 50 Trail) has several sections of flooding near the pond due to beaver activity. Users should expect wet conditions and may require short bushwacks around flooded sections of trail until water levels recede. (11/2021)

Pepperbox Wilderness

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

Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest (Croghan & Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tracts)

William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness

  • The William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit, and its recreational opportunities and a map of the unit.
  • The Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor (Railroad) is considered an active railroad. The railroad is undergoing maintenance adjacent to the Five Ponds Wilderness Area and William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. There is an increase in traffic from trains and equipment working on rehabilitation of the railroad through this section. Users are reminded that the railroad tracks between Harrington Brook and the carry to Clear Pond and Bog Lake (Five Ponds Wilderness) are not a DEC trail and should not be used as a canoe carry when the railroad is active. (09/01)