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Backcountry Information for the Eastern Adirondacks

Updated: August 6, 2020

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.

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. New York State DEC and State Parks recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases. This guidance urges New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

Take the Pledge to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL: Enjoy the Outdoors Safely and Responsibly

  1. I pledge to respect the rules and do my part to keep parks, beaches, trails, boat launches, and other public spaces safe for everyone.
  2. I will stay local and close to home.
  3. I will maintain a safe distance from others outside of my household.
  4. I will wear a mask when I cannot maintain social distancing.
  5. I accept that this summer, I may have to adjust how I enjoy the outdoors to help keep myself and others healthy and safe, even if it means changing my plans to visit a public space.
  6. I will be respectful of others by letting them pass by me if needed on a trail and keeping my blanket ten feet apart from others on the beach.
  7. I will move quickly through shared areas like parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas to avoid crowding.
  8. If I'm not feeling well, I will stay home.

Use the hashtags #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal, #RecreateResponsibly, and #RecreateLocal on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share how you get outside safely, responsibly, and locally.

What's Local? Consistent with the NYForward (leaves DEC website) phased reopening plan, DEC and State Parks are encouraging New Yorkers to recreate locally in their region (leaves DEC website). Each of the state's 10 REDC regions (leaves DEC website) have a wide variety of recreational opportunities. New Yorkers getting outdoors should use common sense in planning outdoor activities and remember that public facilities like restrooms or other amenities may not be available.

Use DECinfo Locator to find a DEC-managed resource near you and visit the State Parks website for information about parks and park closures.

Social Distancing Guidelines

Follow DEC's guidelines for social distancing (PDF) while recreating outdoors:

Pack A Mask

New Yorkers are required to wear masks in public when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained, including on trails and in the backcountry. No matter how or where you plan to recreate, pack a mask and wear it in parking lots, on crowded summits, and anywhere else you meet people along the trail or in the outdoors.

Limit Parking

Please avoid visiting crowded areas. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas. If parking lots are full, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

Hike within the Limits of Your Physical Abilities and Experience

Adirondack lands and forests are monitored by Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and other staff. These officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and more. Following this guidance (PDF) will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, state resources and frontline emergency first responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

Keep It Clean

DEC PSA (leaves DEC website) reminds outdoor adventurers to Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local while keeping natural areas litter-free.

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!

Sign up for DEC Delivers

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

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • 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.

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

Adirondack Backcountry Information: Be sure to check Adirondack Backcountry Information main webpage for important general notices and 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. (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.
  • Prospect Mountain Trail is closed to the public until late August to prevent hikers from entering the closed summit area.(See Prospect Veteran's Memorial Highway below). Despite signs stating the summit area was closed, hikers continued to enter the area creating a safety hazard for themselves and workers. (7/16)
  • Lake George Beach is open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm. Following Department of Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a maximum of 500 people are allowed on the beach, half its normal capacity. (6/26)
  • Prospect Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway is open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm.. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is taking the following precautions: (6/26)
    • The shuttle will not operate;
    • Picnicking will be prohibited, and the picnic pavilions will not be available to rent;
    • Restrooms will remain closed; and
    • View scopes at the pull-offs and on the summit have been dismantled.
    • The summit area above the parking lot is closed to the public until late August while 500 feet of mortared stone border wall that is crumbling along summit lookout areas is removed and replaced with individual cut stone blocks. Due to the grades, the moving of the stone blocks is difficult and dangerous especially with heavy equipment. The road and the path from the parking lot are blocked and the trail from the village ends at the parking lot.
  • Palmer Pond Road is closed due to a structurally unsound large culvert in danger of failing and causing the road embankment to collapse. (6/11)
  • DEC has erected a fence on the nearby strip of state land on the south shore of Lake George known as "Dog Beach." This temporary closure is to ensure social distancing and protect public health, in accordance with DOH guidelines that require the closure of areas where people congregate and where social distancing cannot be maintained. (5/28)
  • 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.
  • Hikers on the Blue Hill/Long Swing Trail report being dive-bombed by a nesting pair of unknown species of hawk. (6/4)
    • Hikers should keep facing the birds if possible, as hawks predominantly attack from behind.
    • The behavior will cease in a month or two when the young have fledged and left the nesting area.

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.