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Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

State Land Master Plan February 2014 Description

This area is in the Towns of Elizabethtown, Keene and North Hudson, Essex County. It is roughly bounded on the north by Route 73; on the east by the Adirondack Northway; on the south by the Boreas Road (County Route 2B); and on the west by Elk Lake and Adirondack Mountain Reserve lands.

The terrain is rough, rocky and mountainous, with several of the mountain tops exceeding 4,000 feet. Thirteen small ponds, with a total surface area of about 93 acres, lie in the Wilderness. Vertical cliffs of considerable height are common, particularly in the northern and eastern parts.

Some of the most severe and extensive forest fires of the Adirondacks occurred in this area during a prolonged drought period in 1903. As a result, the tops and upper slopes of the mountains not only lost their forest cover but the humus was also consumed and the mineral soil was eroded down to bare rock.

The present forest cover consists chiefly of yellow birch, aspen and stunted balsam at the higher elevations and mixed hardwoods and softwoods on the richer soils at lower elevations.

Some of the mountains, such as Dix, South Dix and McComb, have had small landslides in recent years which occur mostly on the near vertical north slopes. This has left a series of prominent, bare rock scars on the upper slopes.

Most of the mountains do not have marked foot trails leading to their summits even though excellent views can be experienced from these summits.

There are four “trail-less” peaks in the area that are over 4,000 feet in elevation: South Dix, East Dix, Hough and McComb.  Recreational use of these trail-less peaksI is high. The steep, rugged terrain of this area, is instrumental in retaining the region’s Wilderness atmosphere.

Hikers and campers probably outnumber all other recreational users in this area, but there is also substantial use by hunters and anglers. Hunting is less abundant on the southern portion of the unit due to seasonal access restrictions on the Elk Lake Conservation Easement.

The State, in l978 and l980, purchased in fee 9,3ll acres from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. Approximately 3,269 acres have become part of the Dix Moun­tain Wilderness including the following summits: Noonmark, Bear Den, Dial, Colvin, and Pinnacle. The State was given a conservation easement on the remaining Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) lands generally below 2,500 feet in elevation, limiting future development of these lands while permitting public access through the AMR property to State lands

The Adirondack Trail Improvement Society, with headquarters at St. Huberts, maintains a system of foot trails in the northern and northwestern part of the area, with approval of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. These trails extend to such mountain tops as Round Top, Noonmark, Bear Den, Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake and Pinnacle.

Generally, public access to the area is easily gained.

A Unit Management Plan was adopted for this area in 2004.

Mapping Resources:
(Not from the State Land Master Plan or Unit Management Plans)

Recreational Opportunities Map

View larger map with additional options

Soils and Wetlands

View larger map with additional options




Dix Mountain area statistics:

State Lands 44,743 Acres
Bodies of Water (13) 93 Acres
  (minimum) 885 Feet
  (maximum) 4,857 Feet
Foot Trails 48 Miles
Lean‑tos 2
Non‑conforming Uses:  


DEC Unit Management Plan Link


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