DEC opens most trails in High Peaks

    Trails in red remain closed. All other trails are now open. Map courtesy of DEC.
Trails in red remain closed. All other trails are now open. Map courtesy of DEC.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation reopened today a number of trails in the High Peaks Wilderness and Giant Mountain Wilderness that were closed after Hurricane Irene, including trails to Mount Marcy, the state’s highest peak.

Trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness will remain closed at least until Route 73 is reopened.

The storm had eroded many trails, washed out footbridges, felled trees, and triggered numerous landslides in the High Peaks region. John Million, deputy director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, commended DEC for its efforts to reopen trails.

“ADK is very pleased that DEC has worked hard to open some of the trails,” Million said. He added that ADK will move forward with plans to reopen Adirondak Loj and Johns Brook Lodge on Thursday.

DEC sent out an advisory saying the trails would be reopened Thursday, but it hadn’t updated its website as of Thursday morning.

The map above, obtained from DEC, shows which trails in the High Peaks and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas. DEC used red dashes to show the trails that will remain closed. Because the dashes were hard to see, I replaced them with red dots. The closed routes include all trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness, all trails accessed via the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, the Southside Trail, the Cold Brook Pass Trail, and a few others. All other trails in the High Peaks Wilderness will be open, including popular trails to Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak, and Avalanche Pass. The large black dots indicate trails that were closed but are now open. The green line on the map indicates the boundary between the eastern High Peaks and the western High Peaks. Trails were never closed in the western High Peaks.

The following is from the DEC advisory:

AREA OPENINGS: The EASTERN ZONE of the HIGH PEAKS WILDERNESS and GIANT MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS will be reopened effective Thursday, September 8. Due to the amount of damage to certain trails, and the continued closure of a section of Route 73 and other roads, DIX MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS and a number of trails in the reopened areas will remain closed. However, the majority of trails are now open for public recreation.

  • Open trails in the Giant Mountain Wilderness include all trails starting from the trailheads on Route 9 and Route 9N. Giant Mountain may also be accessed via the Hopkin Mountain Trail from the Ranney Trailhead.
  • Open trails in the High Peaks Wilderness include all trails from the Adirondack Loj Trailhead, the Cascade Mountain Trailhead, the Garden Trailhead, the Rooster Comb Trailhead, the Upper Works Trailhead, and the East River Trailhead.
  • All trails out of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) remain closed due to the closure of a section of Route 73 and the damage to the trailhead parking lots.
  • The Elk Lake Trailhead remains closed.

TRAIL ADVISORIES: Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out and water levels in most rivers and brooks are at spring high water levels. Crossings may be impassable at this time. These trails may also have blowdown, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate with a map and compass is important.

The DEC High Peaks Trail Information web page ( has a complete list of closed trails and the conditions for open trails. It will be updated as trails are reopened.


About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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