Friday, June 11, 2021

Outdoor conditions (6/11): Reminder that trailhead camping is not permitted

outdoor conditions logoImportant Notice: No Overnight Camping at Trailheads

DEC is receiving increased reports of people camping at trailheads in the Adirondacks. Please note that overnight camping is not permitted at trailheads or other roadside locations where a camping disc is not present. This includes individuals sleeping in cars, vans and campers. Campers should seek out designated roadside campsites marked with a camp here disc or campgrounds. When camping, always carry out what you carry in and dispose of trash properly. Use designated bathroom facilities, pack out human and pet waste, or dig a cat hole.

The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: The trailhead sign for the Baxter Mountain trailhead on Route 9N in Keene has been stolen. DEC is working to replace the sign.

General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Fire Danger:

Muddy Trails Advisory: The Adirondacks are still under a muddy trails advisory. Hikers are encouraged to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged. Until conditions improve, explore lower elevation trails close to home and enjoy other forms of recreation. Visit DEC’s website for a list of alternate Adirondack day hikes.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from below average to low for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Water temperatures are still cold in many places. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers. Where bridges are not available, do not attempt stream crossings during periods of high, fast moving water.

Ticks: Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants. Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors. Consider using insect repellent. Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails and walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas. Additional tips for tick prevention.

Bear Canisters Required: NYSDEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 And November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack backcountry. Bear canisters should be used to store all food, food garbage, toiletries, and other items with a scent. Canisters should be stored a minimum of 100ft from tents, lean-tos, and cooking sites and kept closed whenever they are not being accessed. Learn more about bear canisters and avoiding human-bear conflicts.

Adirondack Rock Climbing Closures: DEC closes certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. For a full list of closures, visit Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures. 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. Thank you for your cooperation. For more information please contact the Bureau of Wildlife at (518) 623-1240.

Seasonal Access Roads: Many seasonal access roads have re-opened following closures for the spring mud season. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information pages for updates on specific road closures and openings.

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is now open for the 2021 season. Please note the shuttle to the summit of Prospect Mountain is not available at this time. Until shuttles become available, admission fees will not be charged to access the highway. The accessible parking at the summit is currently under construction. Limited accessible parking spots will continue to be available during construction, but temporary closures of some areas may occur. Call (518) 668-5198 for current accessibility information.

NYSDEC & AMR Pilot Reservation System: A no-cost pilot reservation system is now in effect at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). The pilot program addresses public safety at a heavily traveled stretch on Route 73 in the town of Keene. AMR is a privately owned 7,000-acre land parcel that allows for limited public access through a conservation easement agreement with DEC. The pilot reservation system does not apply to other areas in the Adirondack Park. No-cost reservations are required May 1 through Oct. 31, 2021 for parking, daily access, and overnight access to trails through the AMR gate and the Noonmark and Round Mountain trailheads accessed through the AMR property. Reservations are available for dates a maximum of two weeks out. Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted. For a complete FAQ list, and to make a reservation, please visit

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

8 Responses

  1. Doug Laubach says:

    Not sure where “no camping” at trailheads is permitted though this may have been a rule for sometime…I can see where campers set up fire pits, chairs and tents in parking areas, definitely not approved…but if one is traveling by vehicle an extended distance and arrives at a trailhead early, say before daylight, it is almost natural the vehicle occupants will spend some time resting in the car for awhile….I just hope some DEC people do not resort to vehicle inspections catching occupants resting for awhile…one laughable location, amongst many I have frequented is the Oswegatchie put in off of Route 3 just east of Star Lake, everybody camps there.

    • Boreas says:


      To my knowledge it was never “allowed”. It just was rarely enforced unless you set up a tent or were sleeping on the ground. But now with it becoming very difficult to find a parking spot at dawn, it is likely more and more people are showing up in the middle of the night and sleeping in the car. If I had to guess, if they check a lot at 1am and find people sleeping, they may boot them. If it is an hour before dawn, they may not. But I honestly don’t know how strictly it will be enforced.

  2. Bill Keller says:

    It’s always been a requirement. “Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water except at areas designated by a “Camp Here” disk” Easy fix, walk into the woods 150 feet and camp.

  3. Zephyr says:

    Since when has napping in your car become camping? Seems more like one of those rules that is really just an excuse so rangers can roust out someone they don’t like the look of.

  4. Paul says:

    I am pretty sure they cannot really prohibit you from sleeping in your car. It’s your private space. I think if you can park there legally you should be able to sleep there? I know lots of people who do this to make sure they get a good early start (especially in the winter) which is super important for safety sake. If it’s a plow thing sure wake the person and tell em to move. Stop with these stupid rules.

    • Boreas says:

      If I take my VW camper, I can sleep there free for a week tying up the space and using the surrounding woods for my lavatory. And I can invite my extended family to do the same with their vehicles. I suspect this is the origin of the rule – not someone napping for an hour before heading out. Again, just because there is a rule doesn’t mean it cannot be selectively enforced. Rangers do have some discretion.

  5. Steve B. says:

    There’s all kinds of gray areas here, sleeping in a obvious RV, which kind of IS camping, then sleeping in the back of a pickup, (maybe also camping, I did this once at the Garden lot)) to napping on the back seat of a car, (maybe not). I’d be curious how the DEC regulations are worded.

    • Boreas says:

      My guess is they are purposely vague. Sorta like WalMart parking lot camping. It gives them the ABILITY to legally kick someone out, but whether or not they are kicked out likely depends on how obnoxious the situation.

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