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Adirondack Backcountry Information

Lightly snow covered mountains beyond a pond

Looking for a great seasonal hike in the Adirondacks? How about an easy, family-friendly hike? Maybe you prefer a quiet paddle in a canoe or an exhilarating kayaking adventure. The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) provides directions and trail descriptions for hundreds of hikes (leaves DEC website) through the woods and up mountains; and directions and descriptions of routes for hundreds of paddles (leaves DEC website) on the lakes, ponds and rivers of the Adirondacks.

The more than 2,300 miles of trails on the Adirondack Forest Preserve provide hikes of various distances, levels of challenge and types of scenery. All trails are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and some trails are available for biking or horseback riding. The more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Adirondacks provide for a variety of boating, paddling and fishing opportunities. Find a trail, boat launch or hand launch for your backcountry adventure using the State Land Interactive Mapper or DEC Google Data.

Check out hikes outside the Adirondack High Peaks for a hiking experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, but with fewer people.

Watch clips about hiking in the Adirondacks, winter safety, and other outdoor topics on DEC's YouTube Channel.
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Help Maintain Trails & Waterway Access

The Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

Volunteer to help preserve, maintain and enhance New York's outdoor recreation. Individuals or groups can enter into a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement to maintain trails, lean-tos, boat launches, or other recreational infrastructure.

Stay Safe, Respect Others and Protect the Environment

Back country hiking trails can be rugged and rough - they are not maintained as park walkways - and wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Properly prepare to ensure a safe outdoor experience. Follow all state land use rules for hiking and primitive camping and Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) to minimize your impacts on the natural resources and others users.

Be aware that you may encounter black bears and other wildlife while hiking, paddling and camping in the Adirondacks. Enjoy viewing and photographing wildlife, but do not feed or harass wildlife.

Seasonal Notices and Information (July 18, 2019)

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

DEC Adventure Adirondacks: Visit the DEC Facebook page (leaves DEC website) to follow the DEC Adventure Adirondacks Group for more information on winter hiking safety, preparedness, trail conditions, and trip ideas. Login to join the group.

Travel: Check NY511 for road closures and conditions (leaves DEC website).

HEAT ADVISORY:

  • The National Weather Service has issued a HEAT ADVISORY for the Adirondacks from noon Friday through 8 p.m. Saturday.
    • Temperatures in the lower 90s and dew points in the lower to mid 70s will result in Heat Index around 100.
    • Highest heat index values will occur between noon and 5 p.m. each day.
  • 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.

Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

  • Wear light, loose clothing; sunscreen; and a hat.
  • Slow your pace.
  • Drink water and rest more often.
  • Seek shade and avoid long periods in direct sunlight.
  • If you are feel ill or extremely uncomfortable:
    • Rest in the shade
    • Drink lots of liquids
    • Cool off, and then
    • Head back to the trailhead.
  • Please leave dogs at home! Dogs are much more susceptible to overheating.

Thunderstorm Safety: Thunderstorms can pop up (leaves DEC website) even if they are not forecast.

  • Avoid summits, water surfaces and other open areas during thunderstorms.
  • As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations, head to shore, and seek shelter.
  • If caught outside in a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees, and crouch down away from tree trunks.

Biting Insects: It is "Bug Season" in the Adirondacks. Expect to encounter deer flies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums (biting gnats), and ticks. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:

  • Wear light colored long sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks.&
  • Pack a head net to wear when insects are plentiful.
  • Use an insect repellant and follow label directions.
  • Additional tips for tick prevention. (Leaves DEC)

Fire Danger: Low throughout the Adirondacks. Check the Fire Danger Rating Map for daily updates.

Report Moose Sightings:

  • DEC is asking the public to report moose sightings and observations.
  • DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York.
  • This is part of a multi-year research project to obtain information on the status of New York State's moose population, health of the moose, and the factors that influence moose survival and reproductive rate.
  • Use the moose sighting form.

Seasonal Access Roads: All but a very few seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicle traffic.

  • Check the notices for the area you are interested for the status of specific seasonal access roads.
  • Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravels roads that can be rough.
  • Roads may be narrow - use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.
  • Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.

Hikers & Campers

General Information: Hiking and Camping

Trail Conditions:

  • Expect to encounter wet and muddy conditions on trails - especially in low areas, along waterbodies, and after rain events:
    • Wear footwear suitable for hiking through wet and muddy areas.
    • Please protect trails and trailside vegetation - stay in the center of the trail and walk through mud and water, not around it.
  • Be aware that water levels will increase during and immediately after significant rain events - low water crossings may be difficult to cross.

Bear Resistant Canisters:

  • The use of bear-resistant canisters ensures campers don't lose their food, prevents creating nuisance bears, and is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness until November 30.
  • All food, toiletries, and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.
  • DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks.

Mountain Summits:

Bikers

General Information: Biking

Trail Conditions:

  • Trails are in good condition, however, you may encounter muddy trails or sections of trails.
  • Please don't ride on muddy trails, they are easily rutted and damaged through use - if you are leaving tracks, turn back.
  • The Barkeaters Trail Alliance (leaves DEC website) provides information on the status of mountain bike trails in the Tri-lakes region of the Adirondacks.

E-bikes: Electric powered bikes are prohibited on all bike trails on the Forest Preserve.

Boaters, Paddlers, and Anglers

General Information

Conditions:

  • Water levels are in the average range, but due to saturated soils can rise quickly in smaller rivers and streams after significant rain events.
  • Personal Flotation devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers.
  • Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York (Leaves DEC website) for stream flow of selected waters.

Boat Launches: Docks have been installed at all boat launches.

Climbers

Rock Climbing Route Closures: Some Adirondack rock climbing routes are closed (updated 6/7) to protect peregrine falcon nest sites.

Specific Notices

Check the map and then link to the area of Adirondacks you plan to visit. Use the Adirondack Forest Preserve Map and Guide to help you determine the area you plan to visit. The information is provided by DEC Forest Rangers and Foresters based on their knowledge and observations and is updated weekly.

The information provided may not reflect current specific conditions. Contact the local Forest Ranger for more current and specific information by calling 518-897-1300 or check the list of Region 5 Forest Rangers or Region 6 Forest Rangers for direct contact information.



Northeastern Eastern High Peaks East Central Southern West Central Northern Southwestern Western Northwestern
Legend:

Green - Forest Preserve Lands
Tan - Conservation Easement Lands
Gray - Private Lands

More about Adirondack Backcountry Information :

  • Backcountry Information for the Northwestern Adirondack - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northwestern Adirondack Backcountry for Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, and Whitehill Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northern Adirondack Backcountry for the DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Tract, Santa Clara Conservation Easement Tract, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and St. Regis Canoe Area
  • Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Northern Adirondack Backcountry for the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, and Wilmington Wild Forest.
  • Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the backcountry of the High Peaks Region for the High Peaks Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, Hurricane Mountain Wilderness, Jay Mountain Wilderness, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and Sentinel Range Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the Western Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Western Adirondack Backcountry for the Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest, and William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the West Central Adirondack Backcountry for the Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Conservation Easement Tract, Township 20 Conservation Easement Tract, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract, Jessup River Wild Forest, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the East Central Adirondack Backcountry for the Camp Santanoni Historic Area,Essex Chain Lakes Complex, Hoffman Notch Wilderness, Hudson Gorge Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, Siamese Ponds Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Eastern Adirondack Backcountry for the Hammond Pond Wild Forest, Lake George Wild Forest, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, and Split Rock Wild Forest
  • Backcountry Information for the Southwestern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Southwestern Adirondack Backcountry for the Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, and Pigeon Lake Wilderness
  • Backcountry Information for the Southern Adirondacks - Information regarding access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions on the lands and waters in the Southern Adirondack Backcountry for the Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, and Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
  • North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) - The DEC has completed a Draft Plan/GEIS for the North Country National Scenic Trail Adirondack Park section. This plan describes a proposed route across the central region of the Adirondack Park. The route assessment presented in this plan will be integrated into the unit management plans (ump's) for each respective unit traversed by the trail.