Some trails on private land close to public for hunting season

With the start of the regular big-game hunting season for deer and bear set to begin this Saturday, some hiking trails on private land will be closed until the season ends in early December.

This year, big-game hunting season for deer and bear will begin Saturday, Oct. 26 and run through Sunday, Dec. 8 in the Northern Zone, which covers the Adirondack Park and the North Country.

“Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails,” the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s backcountry information page says. “Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands.”

While the bulk of hiking trails are on state land in the Adirondacks, some cross or are located entirely on conservation easement lands — private land where the owners allow some public access.

For hikers wanting to tackle the Dix Mountain range or one of its five mountains, access through Elk Lake will be suspended until the end of hunting season.

“The Elk Lake Trailhead and the first 2.3 miles of the trail accessing the Dix Mountain area are on private lands,” the DEC’s website says. Normally, anyone may use the trail as long as they do not leave it and trespass on the private land, but the trail is closed during regular big-game hunting season. Furthermore, from when hunting season ends Dec. 8 through the spring mud season, public trail users must park 2 miles back from the trailhead at the Clear Pond parking area, the DEC said.

Fire towers

Two of the mountains on the Adirondack Mountain Club’s list of Fire Tower Challenge peaks will also be closed for hunting season.

According to the club’s Glens Falls Chapter, which runs the hiking challenge, Stillwater fire tower in Webb was closed on Oct. 8 and will remain so until Saturday through Dec. 21. The trail up Spruce Mountain in Corinth will be closed from Saturday through Dec. 8.