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Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks

Updated: September 17, 2020

Map of showing the East Central 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.

Carry Extra Layers

Fall is here, which means it's time to layer up. It's getting colder in the mountains, and temperatures fluctuate depending on the time of day and your elevation. Stay safe and warm by wearing and bringing the right clothes. Start with non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers. Wear or pack additional warm, waterproof, and windproof layers, a hat, and mittens. Bring extra base layers and socks. Add or remove layers as needed. Avoid sweating through your clothes - as sweaty clothes cool, they create ideal conditions for hypothermia. Learn more about layering and fall hiking preparedness on DEC's Hike Smart NY webpages.

Daytime High Temps: 40s & 50s

Nightime Low Temps: Below Freezing

Remember a Headlamp

A headlamp or flashlight is one of the 10 essential items you should bring on every hike. DEC is seeing an increase in individuals without headlamps requiring rescue. Hiking in the dark can be dangerous. When you are unable to see where you are going, you are more likely to get lost or injured. A headlamp will help you hike out safely if you get caught in the woods after dark. Even if your planned hike should conclude before sunset, you should still bring a headlamp in case of emergencies or unexpected delays. Do not rely on your phone's flashlight. Phones can die and using the flashlight will drain your battery quickly. Bring extra batteries and a back-up source of light as well. Approximate Time of Sunset: 7:00 PM

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

When recreating in New York, hikers and others 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.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order 205, visitors coming from travel restricted states (leaves DEC's website) will not be issued camping permits and will not be allowed to stay on state lands until they have completed a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Quarantining on state land is not permitted.

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'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

Camp Santanoni Historic Area

  • The Camp Santanoni Historic Area webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Nothing to report.

Essex Chain Lakes Complex

  • The Essex Chain Lakes Complex webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • There is an active logging operation on Cornell Road. This road, and the land adjacent to it, is privately-owned working forest conservation easement land. It also provides public access to the Essex Chain Lakes Complex Forest Preserve - specifically the Deer Pond Parking Lot. Please be alert for log trucks using the Cornell Road, and safely pull off the side of the road to allow them to pass. (8/27)
  • DEC and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) have released a Draft UMP Amendment for the Essex Chain Lakes for public review and comment (leaves DEC website).Comments will be accepted until August 14. (7/30)
  • Due to the condition of the Chain of Lakes Road South four-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended. (5/21)
  • Goodnow Flow Road is a private road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North and should not be used by the public. (2020)
  • Entry of any remaining former leased camp buildings is prohibited. (2020)

Hoffman Notch Wilderness

  • The Hoffman Notch Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The bridge over the West Branch of Trout Brook on the southern end of the Notch Trail was washed away in the 2019 Halloween storm so users will have to cross the stream itself. (5/15)
  • The Bridge over the North Branch of Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail near its intersection the Notch Trail is washed off its abutments and will require crossing the stream itself. (5/15)
  • Most trails have minor blowdown, but all are passable. DEC is working on clearing the rest of the blowdown. (5/15)
  • Several small beaver dams are flooding sections of the Hoffman Notch Trail just south of Blue Ridge Road Trailhead under a foot of water. A reroute has not yet been developed. Hikers may have to walk through the water - take off boots and socks and roll-up pants. (2014)

Hudson Gorge Wilderness

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

Jessup River Wild Forest

  • The Jessup River Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Old Military Road which provides access to Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead parking area is severely washed out and remains be closed to public motor vehicle traffic for the foreseeable future. Users will have to park at Sled Harbor and walk the road 1.5 miles to the trailhead. (5/15)

Siamese Ponds Wilderness

  • The Siamese Pond Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Eagle Cave on Chimney Mountain is currently closed to protect the bat population from potential harmful exposure to the COVID-19 virus. (2020)
  • Crotched Pond Road, which provides access to Crotched Pond across the Crotched Pond Conservation Easement Tract, is closed as the bridge at the entrance to the 0.2 mile road was damaged in the 2019 Halloween storm. (2020)
  • The former site of the 55 foot bridge over the East Branch of the Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail is now a foot crossing (rock hopping). (2020)

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit, and its recreational opportunities and a map of the unit.
  • Gulf Brook Road (9/3)
    • The road, which provides access to the Boreas Ponds, remains closed to public motor vehicle use at this time due to washouts caused by the 2019 Halloween storm.
    • Hikers, off-road bikers, and horse riders may still use the road to access ponds.
    • DEC is working to repair the storm damage. Repairs to ditches and replacement of small culverts is underway.
    • Additional work includes installing large culverts and bridges to ensure the road is resilient to damage from future storms.
    • DEC is working to have the road open as early as possible, but likely not until the 2021 season.
  • Due to minor washouts from the 2019 Halloween storm on Cheney Pond Road and Moose Pond Club Road, only four-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended to be used. (5/15)
  • Most trails have minor blowdown, but all are passable. DEC is working on clearing the rest of the blowdown. (5/15)
  • Linsey Marsh Trail contains a lot of blowdown. Many other trails in this area are likely to have lots of blowdown from the February 7 storm as well. (3/12)
  • Blowdown is present on the recently completed Wolf Pond Trail. (1/23)
  • The Boreas River crossing on the Cheney Pond-Irishtown Trail is not bridged. During low water conditions, crossing by rock hopping may be possible. (2016)