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Backcountry Information for the Northeastern Adirondacks

Updated: July 2, 2020

Map of showing the Northeastern 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.

Recreate Local - Safely and Responsibly

DEC encourages responsible recreation during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases, DEC and State Parks encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Use DECinfo Locator to find DEC-managed lands near you and use #RecreateLocal to share your outdoor experiences in open spaces and parks close to home.

What's Local? New York is focused on getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering the further spread of COVID-19. Responsible, respectful, local recreation is a crucial part of continuing to help New Yorkers stay active, spend time with immediate household and family members, and reduce stress and anxiety. Consistent with the NYForward phased reopening plan, DEC and State Parks are encouraging New Yorkers to recreate locally in their region (PDF) (leaves DEC's website). Each of the state's 10 REDC regions have a wide variety of recreational opportunities available within them for the public to explore and enjoy. New Yorkers getting outdoors should use common sense in planning outdoor activities because public facilities like restrooms or other amenities may not be available.

Social Distancing Guidelines

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

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Keep visits short. Avoid high-traffic destinations.
  • Be Safe: Avoid crowds and groups. Recreate only with members of your immediate household. Keep a distance of 6 feet or more from others. Alert others as you're about to pass or step aside to let people pass. Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distancing.
  • Be Ready: Move quickly through parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit.
  • Stay Home: If you're not feeling well, stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their visit.

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.

Trailhead Registers

Trailhead registers provide vital information, so please continue to sign in and out. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, special precautions should be taken while using trailhead registers to minimize spread of the virus through commonly touched surfaces, such as pencils and the registers themselves. Follow guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus when using trailhead registers.

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.

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's 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

Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area

  • The Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest

  • The Chazy Highlands Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Lyon Mountain Trail has blowdown - the trail is passable, but some additional effort is required to navigate around the blowdown. (4/23)

Lake Champlain Islands Complex

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

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Tract

  • The Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Tract webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Barnes Pond Road is now open to motor vehicle access for people with a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) to access the six accessible campsites along the road. The campsites are open to all but those without MAPPWD permits must access them by foot, non-motorized watercraft (where applicable) or mountain bike.(6/4)
  • The wheelchair ramp at the Fishpole Pond Accessible Fishing Site was damaged by a recent wildfire and is unusable. (5/28)

Taylor Pond Complex

  • The Taylor Pond Complex webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • On Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, rock climbing routes are open except routes between and including #108 Psalm 32 and #140 Royal Savage which are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. Additional climbing routes have been closed on Big Wall, Main Face, and North End (#108 - #118) due to agitated behavior by the nesting falcons when climbers were on these routes. (6/18)
  • Mud Pond Trail, in the Terry Mountain State Forest, contains blowdown - the trail is passable, but some additional effort is required to navigate around the blowdown. (5/21)
  • Mud Pond Trail off State Route 3 has blowdown - the trail is passable, but some additional effort is required to navigate around the blowdown. (5/21)

Wilmington Wild Forest

  • The Wilmington Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Whiteface Mountain Ski Area is closed to public access, this prevents public access to Bear Den Mountain Trailhead and Trail. (4/2)
  • The outlet of Cooper Kiln Pond is flooded by beaver activity. (2009)