Q: Can I use the trail?
A: Phase 1 is now open to public use on the entire length from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake. Phase 2 is closed to public use on the entire length from Saranac Lake to Floodwood Road in Santa Clara. Please do not use the trail while they are under construction! While it may look inviting, there's a reason the trail is closed; public use near Fowler's Crossing and Scarface Mountain is hindering construction progress and creating unsafe situations for the public and construction workers. Construction has not yet begun between Tupper Lake and Floodwood; interim recreation is allowed at users' own risk. NYSDEC has seen recent vandalism to signage along the rail trail corridor. Please respect signage and leave it as you find it, where you find it.
Q: What is the current state of the trail?
A: As of December 6, 2023:
- Lake Placid to Saranac Lake: Open for winter use: snowshoes, skis, snowmobiles, and fat-tire bikes.
- Saranac Lake to Floodwood: UNDER CONSTRUCTION! Do not use the trail until construction is complete. Please respect posted signage and barricades.
- Floodwood to Tupper Lake: Interim recreation is allowed at users' own risk on this unimproved section of the Corridor. Public use may be limited or restricted in sections due to hazardous conditions or active construction or maintenance. Please respect posted signage and barricades. Users will need to traverse the Corridor at low speeds and use caution, use good sense, and heed signs. Currently, the rail bed surface is not consistent along the entire segment. The surface material varies, ranging from large, crushed stone to sand, and is often mixed with varying amounts of mineral soil. Occasional rail tie fragments and small metal pieces remain in the Corridor.
Q: What is the construction schedule for the trail?
A: Here is the construction schedule for the trail.
- Phase 1: Coplete
- Phase 2: Progressing swiftly from Saranac Lake to Floodwood. Most work should finish this year, but the trail will remain closed until construction is complete in 2024.
- Phase 3: Begins spring 2024 and continues into 2025, opening the entire 34 miles.
Follow NYSDEC and ARTA for the latest news and information on the trail and its construction.
Q: What is the Adirondack Rail Trail Association's Role in relation to the role of New York State and the Department of Environmental Conservation?
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): DEC holds the responsibility for the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment of the rail trail. Upon the completion of construction, DEC will oversee the day-to-day management of the Adirondack Rail Trail. They work closely with various stakeholders and municipalities to ensure the trail's continued excellence as an outdoor recreation destination.
- New York State Office of General Services (OGS): OGS manages the trail's design and construction, with a focus on ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the greatest extent feasible.
- New York State Department of Transportation (DOT): The Corridor was under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) until the rail was removed between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and the jurisdiction of those 34 miles then transferred to DEC.
- Adirondack Rail Trail Association: ARTA is proud to be part of a powerful public-private partnership, working in conjunction with DEC and other stakeholders in relation to the Adirondack Rail Trail. This partnership demonstrates the potential that can be harnessed when government agencies and non-profit organizations join forces to enhance our capacity to serve this incredible New York State asset. By working together, we aim to make the Adirondack Rail Trail a prime example of how communities, nature, and recreation can thrive side by side.
A: There are multiple parking areas to access the trail: Fish Pond Truck Trail Parking Area is located off State Route 30, 3 ½ miles west of the Hamlet of Lake Clear Junction; Haystack Mountain Ray Brook Trailhead Parking Area is located along State Route 86 between Ray Brook and Lake Placid; Little Clear Pond Parking Area is located off State Route 30, 3 1/2 miles west of the Hamlet of Lake Clear Junction; Oseetah Trails Parking Area is located on State Route 86 east of the Village Saranac Lake; Scarface Mountain Trailhead is located on County Route 32, 0.2 miles south of State Route 86; and a trailhead is currently planned for the land adjacent to the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society. A parking lot is also under construction at the Saranac Lake Depot.
Q: Will e-bikes be allowed on the trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid?
A: Class 1 e-bikes will be allowed. Class 2 and 3 e-bikes are not allowed.
Q: Are ATVs allowed on the trail?
A: Motorized vehicles, aside from snowmobiles and Class 1 e-bikes, are prohibited on the entire corridor in all seasons. This will be enforced with gates, bollards, and law enforcement patrol and checkpoints. The restriction on public use of ATVs, automobiles, and other motor vehicles complies with the guidelines set forth in the Adirondack Park Master Plan and is in accordance with New York State law.
Q: Are there trash cans along the trail?
A: No. Like the High Peaks, Users should always practice Leave No Trace™ while recreating on the trail by carrying out what they carry in, being prepared, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other users and adjacent private property. Never put trash in outhouses or porta-potties.
Q: Is camping allowed along the trail?
A: Camping and campfires along the corridor are prohibited. There are a range of camping opportunities nearby on both undeveloped state land and campgrounds. Nearby State Campgrounds: Fish Creek Pond Campground & Day Use Area, Rollins Pond Campground, Saranac Lake Islands Campground & Day Use Area, and Wilmington Notch Campground & Day Use Area. Nearby Primitive Camping Areas: Bog River Complex - Tupper Lake, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest - Saranac Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area - Saranac Lake, Lake Clear, Santa Clara, William C. Whitney Wilderness & Round Lake Wilderness - Tupper Lake
Q: Is the trail accessible for all ages and abilities?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that programs (e.g. camping and boating) are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The NYSDEC uses the US Access Board's Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas as guidance for the creation and alteration of facilities to ensure compliance with the requirements of the ADA. The NYSDEC's Standard Accessible Designs for Outdoor Recreational Facilities provides resources for creating accessible outdoor facilities not covered under either the ADA or the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The conversion of the TLLP Segment to a recreational trail will involve assessing opportunities for access onto and along the trail for persons of all ages and abilities. Every effort will be made to build trails and facilities in the Corridor to the Final Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor UMP Amendment/SEIS | 45 Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas standards. Where this cannot be accomplished, the NYSDEC will construct facilities that are compatible with as many levels of user-ability as possible.
Q: Is the trail open over winter?
A: Over the winter, the trail can be accessed on snowshoes, skis, snowmobiles, and fat-tire bikes.
Q: When are snowmobiles allowed on the trail?
A: According to the DEC, snowmobiling on the trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake will be allowed as conditions permit. Snowmobile use from Tupper Lake to Remsen will be allowed between December 1 and April 30 each year.
Q: Is hunting or fishing allowed along the trail?
A: Hunting and trapping are prohibited along the trail corridor. There are an amazing variety of angling opportunities that can be accessed by the rail trail, from remote brook trout ponds to large lake trout and land-locked Atlantic salmon lakes, to largemouth and smallmouth bass waters, and some excellent stream fishing for trout. Waters adjacent to the Adirondack Rail Trail contains great examples of what the Adirondacks has to offer in terms of fishing. Lake Colby is a particularly popular fishery that can provide excellent angling opportunities. Note that no fishing is allowed on Little Clear Pond.
Q: What type of wildlife might you encounter on the trail?
A: Moose, Black Bear, Beaver, Eastern Coyote, River Otter, White-Tailed Deer, Little Brown, Bat, Bald Eagle, Common Loon, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Great Horned Owl, Great Blue Heron, Wild Turkey, and Eastern Bluebird
Q: Are pets allowed on the trail?
A: Pets will be allowed on the trail, but they must be kept under the control of their owner and be restrained on a leash no more than 6 feet long. People must clean up after their pet(s).
Q: Who is responsible to enforce laws and regulations?
A: All state and local police departments and law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce these regulations, including the NY State Police, NY State Park Police, NYSDEC Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, county sheriff departments, and local police departments.
Q: What is the maximum group size allowed on the trail?
A: Groups of 20 or fewer can access the trail without a permit. Groups of 21 or more must contact the DEC to apply for a permit.
Q: What is the speed limit for snowmobiles?
A: A speed limit of 15 miles per hour will be established where the trail passes through a village and at the area along Lake Clear. In addition, all snowmobile laws and regulations will apply to the trail, including that snowmobiles cannot be operated within one hundred feet of a dwelling between 12 midnight and 6 AM at a speed greater than the minimum speed required to maintain forward motion. New York State's snowmobile speed limit law states: in no case shall a snowmobile be operated at a speed in excess of fifty-five miles per hour upon public trails or lands.
The following regulations apply to public use of the trail:
- NYSDEC and its partners—like ARTA—are also committed to maintaining a safe work environment and ask the public to treat employees, volunteers, and other partners with respect. New York State does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Inappropriate behavior or treatment by anyone will be reported. We encourage members of the community to help stop harassment - please report misconduct or harassment to DEC, partner organizations like ARTA, or local law enforcement as appropriate.
- The trail will be open for public use at all hours.
- Public uses not allowed will include camping, discharging a firearm from or across the trail, operating motorized vehicles (except as noted above), and starting fires outside of provided fire rings.
- Since much of the trail is adjacent to private property, the public should only leave the trail at officially designated points or onto State Land, and in compliance with all rules and regulations. The public should also respect adjacent residents and camps by not loitering near them.
- Respect our neighbors and don't trespass on private property. Leaving the trail to enter private property adjacent to the trail without the explicit permission of the private landowner is trespassing. Respect private property and homes.
- No equestrian activities. The use of horses is prohibited.
- Follow all traffic rules and be aware of other traffic.
- Use public restrooms at designated locations.
- Be courteous and considerate of other trail users.
- Pass with care. Avoid startling others and announce, "on your left".
- Move to the side when stopping on the trail.
- Wheels yield to heels. This means that snowmobiles yield to all users and bikes and skiers yield to those on foot. Slower and more vulnerable trail users get the right of way.
- When in doubt, refer to the DEC.