Rules and Regulations
Different regions of the Adirondack Park have differing regulations tailored to their
specific concerns. Research the regulations for the area you are planning to visit before you
go. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) provides this
information on their Web site.
If you are planning to hike or camp in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area (HPWA), be
aware that this area is the most heavily used and regulated region of the Park.
The HPWA is further split into Eastern and Western Zones, with the Eastern High Peaks being
the more strictly regulated of the two. The Eastern High Peaks Zone is where the ADK's
Heart Lake Program Center and Johns Brook Lodge are located, and carries several special
regulations that visitors need to be aware of.
Major Regulations for the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area
These regulations are needed to protect the wilderness resource from further decline and to
ensure that conditions in the High Peaks Wilderness comply with the Wilderness Guidelines
identified in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. A brief synopsis of the regulations
is listed below; you may also reference the exact text on the DEC Web site.
- Overnight group size is limited to a maximum of 8 people in the Eastern and Western High Peaks Wilderness.
- Day use group size is limited to a maximum of 15 people.
- Affiliated groups must maintain a separation distance of at least 1 mile (1.6 km) at all times.
- No camping above 4000 feet at any time of the year.
- Camping between 3500 and 4000 feet is limited to designated sites only.
- Below 3500 feet, camping is allowed at designated sites or at locations at least 150 feet (46 m) from any road, trail or water source.
- In the Eastern High Peaks, campers must acquire a self-issuing visitor use permit from the trail register, and keep the permit during the duration of their stay.
- No campfires in the Eastern High Peaks Zone.
- In the Western High Peaks Zone, campfires are allowed only at designated sites or at locations at least 150 feet (46 m.) from any road, trail, or water source.
- Pets must be leashed at all times.
- Proper food and garbage storage must be observed.
- No soap or detergents in any water body.
- No disposal of food in any water body.
- No use of any motorized equipment.
- Skis or snowshoes must be used when the terrain is covered with 8 or more inches (20 cm) of snow.
- Use existing outhouses or deposit human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) deep and at least 150 feet (46 m) from any water body.
- Quiet hours must be observed from 10:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
- Possession of glass containers is prohibited.
Additional regulations may apply.
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Please review regulations at the trailhead before starting your trip.
The above information is provided as a public service of the Adirondack Mountain Club. For
further information, contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 5
Office, Route 86, Ray Brook, NY, 12977, 518-897-1200.
Regulations help protect the natural resources that we all use when we hike, camp, paddle,
and climb by mandating environmentally and socially responsible behavior. While they may be
restrictive at times, be aware that many regulations are in response to past overuse and
abuse. The best way to prevent more regulations is to recreate responsibly!