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Backcountry Information for the Western Adirondacks

Map of showing the Western Region of the Adirondacks

Updated: September 13, 2018

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast (leaves DEC website) and 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.

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information main web page for important general notices and 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

Aldrich Pond Wild Forest

  • The Aldrich Pond Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • 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. (2018)

Bog River Complex (Lows Lake, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest & Big Tupper/Piercefield Tract Easement Lands)

  • The Bog River Complex web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations. (2018)
    • Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp.
    • Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through summer 2018
    • Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Low's Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421.
    • Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated portage around Low's Upper Dam.
      • From Hitchins Pond travel northwest past the old homesite;
      • Stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) at all times as you make your way through the work area
      • Continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow
    • If you have any questions or concerns contact Henry Dedrick, Supervising Forester at the DECs Potsdam sub-office at 315-274-3342 or email.
  • Maintenance work on Low's Lower Dam may begin in 2019. (2018)
    • The hand launch at the dam may be closed during some periods of construction.
    • This will impact water access to Hitchens Pond and Lows Lake
    • Please contact the Potsdam DEC Office at (315) 265-3090 before scheduling trips to Hitchens Pond or Lows Lake for the 2019 season.
    • More information about the maintenance activity and a schedule of any access closures on 2019 will be posted here when plans are finalized.

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest

  • The Cranberry Lake Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Nothing to report.

Five Ponds Wilderness

  • The Five Ponds Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • A ten-mile section of the Oswegatchie River from High Falls downstream to the Inlet Hand Launch (Inlet Road) has numerous fallen trees across the river which may make passage difficult. Paddlers should portage around downed trees whenever possible. (2018)
  • An 800-foot portion of the High Falls Loop (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been signed and blowdown has been removed. It is located approximately 0.6 mile east of High Falls. (2018)
  • Frequent flooding from beaver activity occurs along the High Falls Trail between Wanakena and the Sand Lake Trail. The trail is an important part of both the High Falls Loop (approximately 14 miles), and the larger Cranberry Lake 50 mile trail. (2016)

Pepperbox Wilderness

  • The Pepperbox Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities with links to a map.
  • Jakes Pond Trail is open. The logging operation on the private property the trail crosses is done. (7/2)

Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest (Croghan Tract & Oswegatchie Tract Easement Lands)

  • The Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
  • Access to the Oswegatchie Tract Easement via the Bryant Bridge Road is limited to those paddling on the easement lands. All others should use the Bald Mountain Road. (2018)

William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness

  • The William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness web page provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities with a link to a map.
  • A beaver dam has caused flooding of the Lilypad Pond Trail about 1.5 miles from trailhead, just past campsite #5. (2017)
  • Beaver activity has caused the flooding of the Stony Pond Road approximately one mile from the trailhead. Please use caution if you choose to cross this area. (2010)