The trail is in use even if nowhere near complete. The first finished section is scheduled to complete in 2023. the NYSDEC acquired jurisdiction of the 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail (from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid) from NYSDOT. NYSDOT will maintain jurisdiction of the segment of the trail from Remsen to Tupper Lake. Rails have been removed between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.
Permits are required from the Adirondack Park Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers due to the corridor's passage through wetlands, permits that were not required previously due to a Federal Railways Act exemption for active railroads. In August 2022, the APA issued a permit for the trail to pass through wetlands. The Army Corp of Engineers awarded the final permits in October 2022. Construction on the 9-mile segment of the trail from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake (phase 1) began in November 2022.
The surface is rough and there are areas of mud and water on the trail. The trail is not officially open but it is nonetheless being used, primarily by snowmobiles, hikers, and mountain bikes. The roughest section is between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake where all but fat-tire mountain biking should be discouraged until construction is complete and the surface is installed, currently scheduled for fall of 2023; this segment of the trail will be unavailable for use while construction is active.
Phases 2 and 3 will take the trail from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake. The contracts for this work have not been awarded. Construction will likely begin in 2024 and be completed by 2025. The final surface will be multiple layers of gradually smaller crushed stone. This surface will be constructed consistent with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and will accommodate bicycles, wheelchairs, and strollers when snow is not present.
Please refer to the NYSDEC page for the Adirondack Rail Trail for the most current information on the trail's status and condition.