- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fees: Free - Reservations Required
- General Information: DEC Region 5 Ray Brook Office: 518-897-1200; email: [email protected] (M-F, 8:30 to 4:45)
- Search, rescue, wildfire, and enforcement matters: 911 or 1-833-NYS-RANGERS (1-833-697-7264)
A local Forest Ranger is a valuable source of information for the state land you would like to visit.
- Location: Town of Keene, Essex County
- Map: Adirondack Mountain Reserve Map (PDF) || Google Earth || DECinfo Locator
Adirondack Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract
The 7,000-acre Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) consists of private lands around the Upper & Lower Ausable Lakes and the upper reaches of the East Branch Ausable River. The lands lie between two sections of the High Peaks Wilderness in the Adirondack Park. An easement allows the public to hike, ski and snowshoe on designated, marked roads and trails within the reserve. The public is prohibited from entering the clubhouse, camps, buildings, lands and waters outside of the designated, marked roads and trails in AMR.
DEC and AMR are now in the second year of a pilot reservation system developed in partnership to provide reliable access and address public safety along a particularly crowded stretch of Route 73 near Ausable Road. The reservation system, operated by AMR, facilitates safer public access to trailheads through the AMR gate as well as the Noonmark Mountain and Round Mountain trailheads accessed through AMR lands and improves visitors' trip planning and preparation by ensuring they have guaranteed parking upon arrival. Reservations can be made at hikeamr.org.
The Adirondack Backcountry Information pages for the High Peaks provides general information regarding backcountry and seasonal conditions; specific notices regarding closures and conditions of trails, roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and links to weather, state land use regulations, low impact recreation and more.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
The Adirondack Mountain Reserve's trail system has more than 27 miles of trails. The majority of the trail system consists of the Lake Road and the trails west of the road. The numerous trails access waterfalls and scenic lookouts of the Ausable Lakes, the valley and surrounding mountains; waterfalls and scenic overlooks just outside AMR lands and trails that lead into the two adjacent wildernesses.
NOTE: Between May 1 and Oct. 31, 2022, DEC and AMR will require reservations for daily access to trails on AMR property as well as the Round Mountain and Noonmark Mountain trailheads accessed through AMR lands. Advance reservations are required and can be made as early as two weeks in advance at hikeamr.org (leaves DEC website). Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted. Visitors can make reservations for day or overnight use, including overnight parking. Entrance to the AMR parking lot is available between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. An automatic one-way gate allows for departure at any hour. Those being dropped off or arriving by bicycle must also make a reservation. Those arriving to Keene Valley via Greyhound or Trailways bus lines may access with a valid bus ticket from within 24 hours of arrival.
Lake Road - Lake Road extends 3.3 miles from the AMR Trailhead and ascends 790 feet to its end where it connects with the southern end of the East River Trail and West River Trails near the northern shores of Lower Ausable Lake - the source of the East Branch Ausable River. In addition to four trails and one roadway that connect with the East River Trail, four other trails leave Lake Road and enter the High Peaks Wilderness.
- Henry Goddard Leach Trail leaves the Lake Road approximately 1 mile from the AMR Trailhead. The trail leads east entering the High Peaks Wilderness and ascends to Bear Den Mountain, Dial Mountain, and Nippletop.
- Artists Falls Trail leaves Lake Road about 2.3 miles from the AMR Trailhead. The trail passes Artist Falls climbing 0.8 mile and nearly 400 feet from the road to where it connects with the Colvin Trail.
- Colvin Trail is located 0.3 mile further up Lake Road. It climbs 0.7 mile and 400 feet to the trail to Indian Head connecting with the first trail 0.5 mile from the road. The trail continues on into the High Peaks Wilderness accessing trails to the Colvin Range, Elk Pass and Nippletop.
- Fish Hawk Cliffs Trail leaves Lake Road at its end. The trail climbs 1.3 miles and 830 feet to the Fish Hawk Cliffs. The trail to Indian Head is located 0.6 mile from and 560 feet above Lake Road.
- A 0.4 mile trail connecting the Fish Hawk Cliffs Trail and Colvin Trail crosses Indian Head and includes 335 feet of ascent from the Colvin Trail or 80 feet of ascent from the Fish Hawk Cliffs Trail.
East River Trail - The East River Trail leaves the Lake Road less than 0.2 mile from the AMR Trailhead and extends 3.3 miles south along the east bank of the river climbing 820 feet to its end where it connects with southern end of the West River Trail. There are four connector trails - including one at each end of the trail - and one roadway that connect the East River Trail and the Lake Road. There are five crossings over the East Branch Ausable River - including one at each end of the trail - that connect the West River Trail and the East River Trail.
West River Trail - The West River Trail is accessed from the East River Trail via the first river crossing at the northern end of the trail. The trail extends nearly 3.4 miles and ascends 820 feet to its end where it connects with the southern end of the East River Trail. The connections with the East River Trail provide a number of opportunities for loop hikes or to use both trails for a longer loop hike. Eight trails connect with the West River Trail and access the scenic natural features within the AMR or provide access to the Great Range Trail.
- WA White Trail leaves the West River Trail near the first crossing over the river at its northern end. The trail extends 1.1 miles and ascends 775 feet passing Russell Falls before entering the High Peaks Wilderness and continuing to Lower Wolfjaw Mountain. Trails connected to it can be used to climb Snow Mountain, Rooster Comb and Hedgehog Mountain.
- Cathedral Rocks Trail leaves the West River Trail approximately a 0.5 mile from the first crossing. The trail extends 0.5 mile and ascends 300 feet to reach the Cathedral Rocks. Cathedral Rocks are a picturesque interesting rock formation. Other attractions include Pyramid Falls and views of Giant Mountain and the mountains of the High Peaks Wilderness. The trail continues another 0.5 miles and returns to the West River Trail 0.7 mile beyond where it first left the trail.
- Bear Run Trail leaves the Cathedral Rocks Trail near the rock formation. It ascends 300 feet over 0.3 mile to Bear Run. The trail travels along cliffs and through a deep crevice to a scenic view of the Giant Mountain and High Peaks Wilderness. Continue down the trail another 0.3 mile and it rejoins the Cathedral Rocks Trail 0.2 mile before that trail rejoins the West River Trail.
- Wedge Brook Trail leaves the West River Trail 1.8 miles from the first crossing. It extends 0.3 mile and ascends 460 feet before entering the High Peaks Wilderness. It connects with a trail used to climb Lower and Upper Wolfjaw Mountains and other peaks in the Great Range.
- Lost Lookout Trail leaves the West River Trail at the Beaver Meadow Falls, 2.5 miles from the first crossing. The trail is actually another trail for accessing the Great Range. The trail ascends 0.4 miles and 550 feet before entering the High Peaks Wilderness. It is used to climb Gothics, Armstrong Mountain and other peaks in the Grate Range. The Lost Lookout Trail actually begins 0.25 mile up the trail. It is another loop trail that returns to the West River Trail after 1.5 miles and 570 feet of ascent (and descent). The trail provides scenic views as it travels along a ridgeline.
Two other trails come together with the West River Trail and East River Trail at the southern crossing of the river.
- Gothics via Pyramid Trail extends 0.5 mile and ascends 660 feet before entering the High Peaks Wilderness.
- Rainbow Falls Trail is a short spur trail off the Gothics via Pyramid Trail to Rainbow Falls. The trail is located 0.3 mile from the junction of the two river trails. It is a 300-foot ascent to the falls from the junction. This is a popular destination that can be reached via Lake Road, East River Trail or West River Trail.
- Sawteeth Trail extends nearly 2 miles and more than 1,600 feet from the trail junction before it enters the High Peaks Wilderness and continues on to the summit of Sawteeth.
A number of trails connecting different sections of the High Peaks Wilderness cross AMR lands but are not directly connected to the AMR Trail system. These include- Carry Trail, Sawteeth from Warden's Camp Trail, Haystack & Marcy from Warden's Camp Trail and Elk Lake to Marcy Trail.
While hunting is prohibited on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve lands, hunters with firearms may use the trails specifically designated for hunters to access the adjacent wildernesses.
Firearms may be carried only on the specified trails (see map, PDF) from October 15th through December 15th and from January 15th through March 15th. Firearms must be unloaded and either securely fastened in a case or taken down.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many species of birds and mammals are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another so it is not unlikely to catch site of wildlife during your trip.
More information on Adirondack Flora and Fauna (leaves DEC Website) from the SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center.
You can protect wildlife and wildlife habitat when viewing them.
Wildlife Found in the Adirondacks
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
The Adirondack Mountain Reserve parking area is located on Ausable Road just off Route 73, 7.4 miles north of Exit 30 of the Northway (I-87). (N 44.14915°, W 73.76940°) Google Map
- Advance reservations are required to park in the lot and access trailheads through the AMR between May 1 and October 31. Reservations can be made as early as two weeks in advance. Walk-ins are not permitted. Visit hikeamr.org to make a reservation.
- Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead is just off the Ausable Road a half mile from the parking areas. (N 44.15026°, W 73.77559°) Google Map
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts other backcountry users.
- The public is prohibited from driving motor vehicles anywhere on the property.
- Bicycle use is not allowed.
- Entering any buildings is prohibited.
- Hikers must stay on marked hiking trails.
- The public is not allowed to enter on the shores, swim or boat on any and all lakes, streams, or rivers; or cross the frozen lakes in winter.
- Hunting, trapping and fishing are prohibited.
- Violation of any of the above will result in being charged with trespassing.
- No dogs.
- No cell phone use.
- Please respect the rights of AMR and its shareholders.
- Violation of any of these will result in you being asked to immediately leave the property.
- The carrying of firearms is prohibited except:
- On specified trails;
- From October 15th through December 15th and from January 15th through March 15th; and
- When the firearm is unloaded and either securely fastened in a case or taken down.
- Advance reservations for parking, daily access, and overnight access to trailheads accessed through the AMR are required May 1 through Oct. 31.
- Entrance to the AMR parking lot is available between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. An automatic, one-way gate allows for departure at any hour.
- Walk-in users without a reservation will not be permitted.
- Those arriving to Keene Valley via Greyhound or Trailways bus lines may produce a valid bus ticket from within 24 hours of arrival in lieu of a reservation.
- Those being dropped off or arriving by bicycle must check in at the AMR Hiker Parking Lot and produce a valid reservation. All bicycles must be left at the hiker parking lot.
Planning and Management
The recreational opportunities on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve Lands are managed in accordance with the terms of the State's easement agreement. If you have questions or comments about this easement agreement, please email us at [email protected].
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities and Other Information
State Lands & Facilities
Gas, food, dining, lodging and supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Keene and Elizabethtown.
Food, dining, lodging and supplies can be found in the nearby community of Keene Valley.
Adirondack Regional Tourism Council and Essex County/Lake Placid Tourism can provide information about recreating and other amenities in this area. Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association for information on outdoor guides.