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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: May 6, 2021

Map of showing the Eastern Region of the Adirondacks

Welcome to the Adirondacks

The Welcome to the Adirondacks webpage is the place to go if you are interested in learning more about the Adirondacks. It provides information about the Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and Leave No Trace. Be sure to check out the links to additional information and tips for recreating safely and minimizing your impacts on natural resources, recreational infrastructure, and other backcountry users 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 when available or taking your garbage 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.

Drone Use

Drones are prohibited on lands classified as Wilderness, Primitive, and Canoe Area. Before you launch your device, learn more about drone use on DEC lands.

Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local

New York State's PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. This guidance (PDF) urges New Yorkers to recreate locally in their region (PDF) (leaves DEC's website), practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

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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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 Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

Early Season Muddy Trails Advisory: DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.

Prepare for Variable Conditions: Warm, wet conditions at base elevations will give way to freezing temperatures, deep snow, and thick ice at higher elevations. Be prepared for all conditions with appropriate gear and extra clothing. Change out of wet clothes to prevent hypothermia. Temperatures will fluctuate throughout the day. Freezing temperatures at night will create more ice and form a hard crust on deep snow.

Rock Climbing Closures: DEC closes certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Once peregrine nest sites are determined, climbing routes that will not disturb nesting will be reopened. Routes that remain closed will reopen after the young have fledged. Check the full list of route closures.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Conditions will be more severe on summits. Take wind chill into consideration when preparing for temperatures.
  • 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.
  • Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks (leaves DEC website) and Southern Adirondacks (leaves DEC website) Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

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.

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information main webpage for Adirondack recreation resources, hiking resources, and other 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

Hammond Pond Wild Forest

  • The Hammond Pond Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The bridge near the beginning of the Hammond Pond Trail washed out during the 2019 Halloween storm. It will be replaced in 2021. (5/21)

Lake George Wild Forest

  • The Lake George Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • DEC will begin closing the gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock boat launches on Lake George on April 15 as part of an ongoing pilot program to increase protections from aquatic invasive species. The overnight closure will continue through Dec. 15. Consistent with this effort, Million Dollar Beach Boat Launch will also begin its gate closure program on April 15. (04/16)
  • Shelving Rock Road has re-opened. Dacy Clearing Road will be closed for the remainder of the spring mud season. (04/01)
  • The gate for Jabe Pond Road in Hague is closed for mud season. (04/01)
  • The gate for Lily Pond Road in Horicon is closed for mud season. (04/01)
  • The gate for Palmer Pond is closed for mud season. (04/01)
  • The Hague Brook Trail off Route 8 in the Town of Hague is currently closed to public use due to unsafe trail conditions along the riverbank. (11/19)
  • The Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway closed for the season on November 11. (11/12)
  • Palmer Pond access road is closed starting at the snowplow turnaround due to a failing culvert. Parking is allowed on the right (west) side of the road before the turnaround.
  • Due to washouts in Lily Pond Road, only four-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles should be used. (5/21)
  • Deer Leap Trail on Tongue Mountain is washed out and heavily cobbled with boulders from the trail head to the spur to Deer Leap, but is passable on foot. (2019)

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

  • The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.