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Backcountry Information for the East Central Adirondacks

Updated: July 29, 2021

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.

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.

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, 833-NYS-RANGERS.

High Water Warning: Frequent and heavy rains have swollen waterways throughout the region. Several trails, campgrounds, and popular water recreation areas are experiencing flooding. Be cautious in and around areas of high water. Do not attempt to cross high, fast-moving rivers or streams without a bridge. Exercise extreme caution when paddling or swimming in moving water. Wear a properly fitted PFD (life jacket) when paddling and boating and be careful entering and exiting the vessel. If you are camping near water, be prepared to move if waters begin to rise. Do not drive through flood waters.

Wet and Muddy Trails: Following recent rain, trails are likely to be muddy. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to help protect fragile trail edges. Gaiters help keep feet dry and trekking poles provide added stability. Use caution at stream crossings where water is high and fast-moving. If water levels are too high, do not attempt a crossing. Mountain bikers are encouraged to avoid riding in muddy and wet conditions as biking on wet trails can significantly contribute to erosion and trail widening. As with hiking, ride through the center of the trail to avoid impacting trailside soils and plants.

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.
  • 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

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)
Hoffman Notch Wilderness
  • The Hoffman Notch Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The Severance Hill trailhead parking lot needs improvement. DEC will be stockpiling gravel and stone in the parking area this fall and will use it to make improvements in spring 2021. Please do not disturb the materials and park only in remaining designated parking spaces. (12/3)
  • 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 blowdown has been removed. Some trails have minor blowdown, but all are passable. DEC is working on clearing the rest of the blowdown. (5/15)

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.

Pine Lake Primitive Area

  • 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)
  • The bridge at the beginning of Crotched Pond Rd (located on Forest Preserve) which leads to the Crotched Pond Conservation Easement was damaged by the 2019 Halloween Storm and has been closed to vehicular traffic. Access to the Conservation Easement is via foot traffic only.

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 the Kunjamuk Trail and Siamese Ponds Wilderness 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.
  • Moose Pond Club Road is temporarily closed for repairs. No parking is allowed by the gate, as administrative access for repairs will need to remain open. Visitors can park across the Boreas River Bridge on old Rte 28N and access the road on foot from there. (04/16)
  • Boreas Road - which DEC opens during hunting season - cannot be accessed during this year's hunting season due to the damage and closure of the Gulf Brook Road. (10/1)
  • 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.
    • Hikers, off-road bikers, cross-country skiers, and horse riders may still use the road to access ponds.
    • DEC is working to repair the storm damage.
    • Additional work includes installing large culverts and bridges to ensure the road is resilient to damage from future storms.
  • 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)
  • 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)