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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 (May 16, 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).

Victoria Day Weekend: This is a Canadian holiday weekend. Trailheads parking areas will fill early.

  • Expect to encounter many people on trails and waterways.
  • Plan accordingly and seek outdoor recreational opportunities in other less used areas of the Adirondacks.

Fire Danger: Low throughout the Adirondacks. The Fire Danger Rating can change daily in the spring, check the Fire Rating Map for daily updates.

Biting Insects: Black flies and mosquitoes have emerged heralding "Bug Season" in the Adirondacks. 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 thick.
  • Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.

Spring in the Adirondacks:

  • Mud and water in the lower to middle elevations
  • Snow and ice remain present in the higher elevations.
  • Check spring recreation tips for a safe and enjoyable outing while minimizing impacts on natural resources and trails.

Weather Forecast:

  • Check the current National Weather Service (NWS) 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.

Water Levels: Rains (and melting snow in the High Peaks Region) are keeping water levels in rivers and streams high and flowing fast. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York (leaves DEC website) for stream flow of selected waters

Water Temperatures: Water temperatures are cold.

  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) (aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers.
  • People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
  • Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a PFD.

Seasonal Access Roads:

  • Many seasonal access roads are open while many others remain closed for mud season.
  • Closed roads will reopen after the frost has thawed, the roads are dry, and any necessary repairs and maintenance are completed.
  • Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages to learn what access roads are open.
  • Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravels roads that can be rough.
    • Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.
    • Roads may be narrow - use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.

Hikers & Campers

General Information: Hiking and Camping

Muddy Trail Advisory: DEC has issued the annual Spring Muddy Trail Advisory

  • Please protect high elevation trails and vegetation and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until these high elevation trails have dried and hardened.
  • Snow and ice are currently melting on high elevation trails.
  • Steep trails with thin soils can be dangerous to hike and are susceptible to erosion; and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged.
  • Choose any of the numerous trails under 2,500 feet to hike until the advisory is lifted.

Trail Conditions:

  • Mud and water are present on most all trails - protect trails and trailside vegetation by walking through mud and water not around it.
  • Water levels are high. Low water crossings may be problematic or impossible to cross.

Bear Resistant Canisters:

  • The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and 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: Please avoid high elevation summits while the Spring Muddy Trail Advisory is in effect.

Bikers

General Information: Biking

Trail Conditions:

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

Boaters and Paddlers

General Information

Conditions

  • Water levels are high and water temperatures are cold.
    • Personal Flotation devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers.
    • People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.

Boat Launches: Due to high water levels DEC not been able to install docks at many boat launches.

Anglers

General Information on Fishing

  • Wear proper footwear and use a hiking stick with a carbide tip to access the water.
  • Water temperatures are cold.
    • Anglers should wear a PFD as a precaution.
    • A person falling into the water could quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water.
  • Anglers new to brook trout fishing should look to the Guide to Brook Trout Fishing in Adirondack Ponds for assistance.

Climbers

Rock Climbing Route Closures: Some Adirondack rock climbing routes are closed 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.