A lean-to is a three-sided log structure that has an overhanging roof. Lean-tos make perfect shelters for camping, and many are found along Adirondack trails.
It is common etiquette for lean-tos to be first-come first-served for parties who come across them in the woods. On average, lean-tos can comfortably sleep 7-8 people, but the size sometimes varies. You must share a lean-to with anyone who may wish to use it, until the full capacity has been reached.
For the most part, lean-tos cannot be reserved in advance, therefore it is important for you to bring a tent along with you in case the lean-to is already occupied.
The DEC has established the following rules regarding lean-to use:
- No plastic can be used to close off the front of a shelter.
- No nails or other permanent fasteners can be used to affix a tarp on a lean-to, however you may use rope to tie canvas or nylon tarps across the front.
- No tent can be pitched inside of a lean-to.
You should always keep the lean-to and surrounding site clean for future visitors, and refrain from carving your name, initials, or other markings into the lean-to.
Peter's Rock Lean-To on Lower St. Regis Lake (Photo: Kevin Lenhart)
Where To Find Lean-Tos
There are around 200 lean-tos within the blue line for you to use. Below is a list of specific wilderness areas and the number of lean-tos that can be found there, as compiled by CNYhiking.com, and updated based on new information:
- Black River Wild Forest (9)
- Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness (2)
- Independence River Wild Forest (2)
- Pigeon Lake Wilderness (6)
- Moose River Plains Complex (9)
- West Canada Lakes Wilderness (16)
- Shaker Mountain Wild Forest (2)
- Silver Lake Wilderness (3)
- Wilcox Lake Wild Forest (4)
- Siamese Ponds Wilderness (5)
- Lake George Wild Forest (8)
- Pharaoh Lake Wilderness (14)
- Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest (2)
- Hammond Pond Wild Forest (1)
- Dix Mountain Wilderness (3)
- Giant Mountain Wilderness (1)
- Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area (2)
- Sentinel Range Wilderness (1)
- McKenzie Mountain Wilderness (3)
- Wilmington Wild Forest (1)
- Taylor Pond Wild Forest (3)
- Debar Mountain Wild Forest (4)
- Cranberry Lake Wild Forest (2)
- Five Ponds Wilderness (14)
- Aldrich Pond Wild Forest (1)
- Saranac Lakes Wild Forest (12)
- Saint Regis Canoe Area (3)
- High Peaks Wilderness (72)
- Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest (2)
- William C. Whitney Wilderness (1)
- Sargent Ponds Wild Forest (16)
- Blue Mountain Wild Forest (2)
- Blue Ridge Wilderness (3)
- Paul Smiths (11) - Restrictions May Apply
Adirondack adventurer Andy Arthur has also compiled a map of Adirondack lean-tos »
CNYhiking.com - http://cnyhiking.com/AdirondackLeanTos.htm
AndyArthur.org - http://andyarthur.org/google-maps-lean-tos-october-2012.html