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Backcountry Information for the West Central Adirondacks

Updated: July 29, 2021

Map of showing the West 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 (leaves DEC website). 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 your name into 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

Adirondack Canoe Route/Northern Forest Canoe Trail

  • The Adirondack Canoe Route is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) (leaves DEC website) which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest

  • The Blue Mountain Wild Forest webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • O'Neil Flow Rd/Township 19 Easement in the town of Indian Lake is open for the season. (05/27)
  • The access road to the radio towers on Blue Mountain is a private road. The use of the road by people other than authorized personnel with administrative duties is prohibited and is considered trespassing. (2020)

Blue Ridge Wilderness/Wakely Mountain Primitive Area

Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract

  • The Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • The 0.3-mile Mud Pond Trail has been completed by a crew from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program (SCA). The trail connects the public parking lot with a canoe put-in on the northeast shore of Mud Pond, providing a shorter route to the pond and easier access to three primitive campsites SCA crews established earlier this year. (10/8)

Moose River Plains Complex

  • The Moose River Plains Complex webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Rock Dam Road and Indian Lake Road are now open. Otter Brook Road remains closed at Falls Pond Outlet.
  • The entrance gates to Moose River Plains Camping Area have re-opened for the season following closure for the spring mud season. Road shoulders may still be soft in areas. (05/27)

Northville-Placid Trail

  • The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter (leaves DEC website) of the Adirondack Mountain Club provides the latest trail conditions and information for planning a hike on the trail - whether a through-hike, section-hike or weekend-hike.
  • A 400-foot section of the trail within the West Canada Lake Wilderness - about 0.5 mile north of the Carry Lean-to - is flooded trail due to recent beaver activity. DEC staff were able to lower the water level to 7-8" and are continuing efforts to remove dams farther downstream. The trail is passable, but hikers should anticipate wet feet while passing through this area. (8/27)
  • Expect to encounter heavy blowdown on this section of the trail. Plan for hikes to take longer due to working through or around blowdown. (2020)
  • The Sucker Brook Trail which connects the Northville-Placid Trail and the DEC Lewey Lake Campground is unmaintained beyond the height of ground between Lewey Mountain and Cellar Mountain, about 4.4 miles west of the campground. (2020)
    • Beyond the height of ground blowdown, wet stretches of trail, and beaver activity make the trail difficult to follow.
    • Access to Colvin Brook Lean-to and the Northville Placid Trail may be gained from the Moose River Plains trailhead off Limekiln Lake - Cedar River Road.

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tracts

  • The Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tracts webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • Perkins Clearing Road and Jessup River Road are open. Old Military Road remains closed, therefore the access to Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead and West Canada Wilderness is also unavailable. (5/13)

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest

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

West Canada Lakes Wilderness

  • The West Canada Lakes Wilderness webpage provides information about the unit and its recreational opportunities, and a map of the unit.
  • A 400-foot stretch of the Northville-Placid Trail - about 0.5 mile north of the Carry Lean-to - is flooded trail due to recent beaver activity. DEC staff were able to lower the water level to 7-8" and are continuing efforts to remove dams farther downstream. The trail is passable, but hikers should anticipate wet feet while passing through this area. (8/27)
  • Old Military Road is closed between the turn to Pillsbury Mountain and the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead due to severe washouts. Hikers must park at Sled Harbor and walk the road 1.5 miles to the trailhead. (5/15)
  • Blowdown is present on many of the trails most notably the Northville-Placid Trail between Spruce Lake and the Cedar Lakes. (5/15)
  • The foot bridge over Sampson Bog on the Northville-Placid Trail is washed out, please use caution in this area. (5/15)
  • The foot bridge over the Mad Tom Brook on the South Branch Trail has washed out. The stream may be impassable in high water. (2020)
  • The Sucker Brook Trail which connects the Northville-Placid Trail and the DEC Lewey Lake Campground is unmaintained beyond the height of ground between Lewey Mountain and Cellar Mountain, about 4.4 miles west of the campground. (2020)
    • Beyond the height of ground blowdown, wet stretches of trail, and beaver activity make the trail difficult to follow.
    • Access to Colvin Brook Lean-to and the Northville Placid Trail may be gained from the Moose River Plains trailhead off Limekiln Lake - Cedar River Road.