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Adirondack Backcountry

Lightly snow covered mountains beyond a pond

Stay Safe, Respect Others, and Protect the Environment

Backcountry hiking trails can be rugged and rough - they are not maintained as park walkways - and wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Hike Smart NY provides expert information on how to properly prepare and 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 other users.

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.

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Adirondack Recreation Resources

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!

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).

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly:

  • Check the National Weather Service or NY Mesonow (links leave DEC website) for current conditions and forecasts for the locations where you plan to recreate.
  • Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks (links leave DEC website) Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
  • Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you gain elevation.
  • Check wind chill temperatures and prepare for colder, windier summits.

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

Recent Notices: To find recent notices specific to your destination, click on the region you plan to visit on the map below or check the Backcountry Information for the Adirondack Park webpage.



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

Seasonal Notices

Know Before You Go (11/23):

  • Temperatures: Temperatures in the region call for highs fluctuating between low-30s to mid-40s. Nighttime lows are estimated to hover around 30 degrees. These temperatures are estimates for base elevations. Always anticipate more extreme conditions at high elevations. Scattered showers are expected throughout the weekend with possible snow. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Carry extra layers, cold weather gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Microspikes or crampons are recommended for anyone planning on hiking this weekend and are necessary at high elevations. As snow continues to fall, snowshoes may be necessary on some high elevation trails.
  • Water Crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or storms. If there is rain forecast during the day, be mindful of how water crossings might swell between your first crossing and your return trip.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: 7:05 a.m.; Sunset = 4:19 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: Plan on arriving at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from average to slightly below average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York (leaves DEC website) for stream flow of selected waters. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn.

Seasonal Roads: Due to recent snow, some seasonal access roads are beginning to close. Check the Recent Notices for closure announcements and be prepared to turn around and take an alternate route.

Bear Canisters Required: NYSDEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack backcountry. Bear canisters should be used to store all food, food garbage, toiletries, and other items with a scent. Canisters should be stored a minimum of 100ft from tents, lean-tos and cooking sites and kept closed whenever they are not being accessed. Learn more about bear canisters and avoiding human-bear conflicts.

Review Regulations: Take a moment to review the rules and regulations for the area you will be visiting. Each state land management unit has rules in place to help protect users and the natural resources. Hikers headed to the High Peaks should review the rules and regulations for the High Peaks Wilderness.

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

Keep Our Environment Clean: Help preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks and protect our local wildlife by putting garbage in designated trash cans or taking it home with you. Please do not leave trash, gear, or food scraps behind. Use designated toilets when available and visit the Leave No Trace website to learn how you can Leave No Trace when going to the bathroom in the woods. Do not graffiti or carve rocks, trees, or backcountry structures like lean-tos or fire towers.

Hiking Safety

Pack & Prepare: Research your hike thoroughly, check regulations and recent updates for the location you will be visiting, bring the 10 hiking essentials, and leave your plans - including a timeline - with a trusted friend or family member.

Check the Weather: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks (leaves DEC website) and Southern Adirondacks (leaves DEC website) Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures. Remember that temperatures will decrease as you gain elevation. If conditions become unfavorable, turn around. You can always complete your hike another day.

Research Your Hike: Research a variety of hikes and pick one that is appropriate for the physical abilities and experience of every person in your group. Estimate how long the hike will take and make a realistic timeline. Using reliable sources, research the route. Share your plans with a reliable friend or family member who can report you missing if you do not return on time.

Plan and Practice Navigation: Plan and study your route using an up-to-date map published by a reliable source before you begin your hike. Take note of significant landmarks and trail intersections. Leave your planned route with a trusted friend or relative. While hiking, pay close attention to posted signage and check your map at trail intersections to confirm you are on the correct path.

Have a Back-up Plan: The Adirondacks is a popular destination with limited parking in most places. Well-known trails get crowded and parking spots fill up quickly and early. Have several backup plans. If you arrive at your desired location and cannot find parking, move on to back-up locations until you find a place with safe, legal parking.

Layer Up: Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Stay safe and warm by wearing non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers, insulating layers, and waterproof, windproof outer layers. Gaiters can help keep your lower legs and feet dry. Bring additional layers. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in.

Manage your time wisely: Be mindful of sunrise and sunset times and plan accordingly. Start long hikes early to maximize sunlight hours and always bring a headlamp. Set a turnaround time and stick to it.

Pack a Light: Bring a headlamp on every hike. Bring extra batteries and a back-up headlamp or alternate source of light. Even if you plan to be done before sunset, bring a headlamp in case of emergencies or unexpected delays. Don't rely on your phone's flashlight. Using your phone's flashlight will drain the battery quickly.

Stick to Designated Trails: Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to protect trail edges.

Use of Drones in the Adirondacks

Both commercial and hobbyist use of drones on Forest Preserve lands is prohibited in areas classified as Wilderness, Primitive, Primitive Bicycle Corridors, or Canoe Areas.

Hobbyist use is allowed, and commercial use may be allowed with an approved temporary revocable permit (TRP), on lands classified as Wild Forest and on the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor.

For information on hobbyist and commercial drone use on conservation easement lands contact the DEC Lands and Forests office nearest the easement property. Lands and Forests staff will, in consultation with the easement landowner, determine if such use is prohibited by the terms of the easement or whether the use of drones conflicts with the existing use(s) of the land.

Learn how to Leave No Trace while using drones and other important information about using drones.

Other Notices

Please check the Backcountry Information for the Adirondack Park webpage for the most up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

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. This 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.

More about Adirondack Backcountry: