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Backcountry Information for the Southwestern Adirondacks

Updated: September 22, 2022

Map of showing the Southwestern 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

Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Trail

The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

Black River Wild Forest (Flatrock Mountain, John Brown & North Lake Conservation Easement Tracts)

  • The Black River Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Flatrock Mountain Conservation Easement: the area south of Flatrock Mountain, including the gated logging road, will be temporarily closed to public access for timber harvesting by the landowner. (06/16)
  • Blowdown can be expected on hiking trails within the forest due to the spring storm of April 19, 2022. Trails will be cleared as manpower allows. (05/05)
  • Seasonal mud gates on all Forest Preserve Roads within the unit are now open for motor vehicles. Forest Rangers have removed fallen trees and limbs from the spring storm April 19, 2022, however, visitors should still use caution as new blowdown may be encountered. (05/05)
  • The Little Salmon Outlet Bridge on the South Lake-Herkimer Landing Road has been replaced (11/2021)
  • The bridge across the inlet to Bear Lake on the Bear Lake Trail is currently out, all users should be prepared to ford the stream or cross elsewhere. (2019)
  • The bridge across the inlet to Little Woodhull Lake on Little Woodhull Lake Trail is out. The stream may not be passable in times of high water. (2016)
  • Nick's Lake Outlet Trail to Remsen Falls may be rough and grown in. (2016)
  • Watch for trains when crossing the rails to the Nelson Lake Access Hand Launch off State Route 28 on the banks of the Middle Branch Moose River. There is an active railroad present in the summer. Camping is prohibited in and around the hand launch site during June, July and August. (2016)
  • Gull Lake Road (the jeep road) is impassable to motor vehicles at this time because it is very rutty and rocky. ATVs use is prohibited. (2016)
  • Six of the ten water access sites on the east shore of North Lake are rarely used. Vegetation has begun to grow in on the six sites making them harder to find. (2016)
  • Haskell/West Creek Road is a rough road, and 4-wheel drive trucks, SUVs and other high clearance vehicles are recommended. (2016)
    • Travel beyond Seabury Brook is challenging as road conditions are poor.
    • The road is closed beyond the Honnendaga Outlet Bridge because the bridge is in disrepair. Landowners of the private lands beyond may choose to use the bridge to access their lands.
  • Herkimer Landing Road is not open to public motor vehicles, however there are private rights to use motor vehicles on the road. (2016)
  • Flansburg/Black Creek Road is open to public motor vehicle use. However, travel beyond Mill Creek Lake will be limited by poor road conditions and snowmobile bridges not designed to support vehicles. (2016)

Fulton Chain Wild Forest

  • The Fulton Chain Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The Third Lake Creek Trail, also known as the Lake Crossover Road, will have log truck activity on it through the winter of 2021/2022. This trail is the legal right of way access for a private inholder who is having timber management performed on their property. (12/2021)
  • Obey "No Parking" signs on Rondaxe Road in the vicinity of the Rondaxe (aka Bald) Mountain Trailhead.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness

  • The Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The bog bridging across the outlet of Middle Settlement Lake (on the Middle Settlement Lake Trail, west of the Lean-to) is in disrepair. All users should either exercise caution when passing through or cross at an alternate location. (07/21)
  • Lost Lake Trail has been flooded by beaver activity a half mile east of Lost Lake. (7/2021)
  • Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. (2016)

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts)

  • The Independence River Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The Independence River Trail (Otter Creek Horse Trails) has caved in near two culverts. These areas are marked with flagging, but riders are advised to avoid the Independence River Trail until the trail is fixed. (06/02)
  • A significant amount of blowdown remains on most foot and horse trails in the unit. DEC crews will be working to clear trails throughout May. (05/05)
  • Water has been turned on at the Otter Creek Assembly Area. (05/19)
  • Big Otter Lake Road has been rehabilitated up to Tommy Roaring Brook. The road will be temporarily blocked beyond Tommy Roaring Brook until further rehabilitation occurs (2018).
    A culvert has washed out west of Tommy Roaring Brook - the road will be closed at this point until the culvert has been replaced (2022).
  • The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely. Horses may ford Otter Creek at the old bridge site. Snowmobiles can cross Otter Creek at the Eatonville Falls Bridge (2018).

Pigeon Lake Wilderness

  • The Pigeon Lake Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • West Mountain and Shallow Lake trails are impassable at Beaver Brook due to beaver activity. Maintenance is scheduled for this summer. (06/02)
  • The bridge across Constable Creek on the Constable Pond-West Mountain Trail has been removed due to its poor, deteriorating condition. All users should be prepared to ford the creek until a replacement bridge can be installed (06/2021).
  • The bridge crossing over the Oswego Pond Outlet on the Twitchell Lake Trail has washed out. An old beaver den can be used to cross the outlet (2016).
  • Cascade Lake Trail is wet and very muddy on the north-west section of the trail around Cascade Lake. Be alert of trail reroutes (2016).