Black bear activity is still high out there in the Adirondacks, so take the proper precautions when hiking or camping this weekend – here’s what else you need to know before heading out.
Fire danger has gone down from moderate last week to low this week. It is still vitally important to never leave campfires unattended – make sure they are out completely, and that all wood, coals, embers, and ash are cool.
In the High Peaks Wilderness, two Slant Rock Tent Sites will be closed on Sunday, July 31st, and also on Tuesday, August 2nd. Volunteers and a crew from the Student Conservation Association are constructing campsite pads.
Black Bear Activity: Black bears are still more active than normal. Here’s what you can do to stay safe:
- Use bear-resistant canisters when camping overnight. They are required in the Eastern High Peaks, but are highly recommended throughout the entire Adirondack Region.
- Store all your food, toiletries, and garbage in these canisters or a bear hang.
- Bears are most active in the evening. Cook, eat, and clean up before dusk.
Weather: Be prepared for warm and hot weather. Wear loose, non-cotton clothing, and bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with you. Carry and drink water often. Check the weather before leaving, and remember it will be cooler at the summits.
Water Levels: Water levels are still below average in most rivers and streams. Low water crossings and drainages can be easily crossed. Water levels do rise quickly during and immediately following rain.
Biting Insects: The deer flies are out in force! Mosquitoes, biting midges (no-see-ums) and deer flies are still out there. Minimize the likelihood of being bit by doing the following:
- Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrists, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into socks
- Pack a head net to wear when insects are thick
- Use insect repellent with DEET
Thunderstorms: Should there be a thunderstorm, avoid summits and other open areas. Avoid being on the water. Immediately move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter at the first sound of thunder. Find a low spot away from tall trees. Crouch down near shorter trees, but away from the tree trunks.
Wood Burning Stoves: The use of wood burning stoves is prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. The ban on campfires applies to any type of use of wood as fuel.
Overall Trail Conditions: Trails are dry and firm for the most part. However, some may be wet and muddy along water bodies, in low lying areas, and during and after rain. Hikers should still wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remain on trails when traversing through mud and water.
State Route 73 Bridgework: The DOT is working on several bridges on State Route 73 between St. Hubert’s and Alstead Hill Road west of Keene. There is a single lane with traffic lights and/or flaggers on most bridges – expect delays.
Boreas Ponds Tract: Access to this tract is currently limited to foot traffic only beyond the closed gate; no motor vehicles, bikes, or horses are allowed. The public is also prohibited from trespassing in and around the lodge on Boreas Pond and the leased hunting camps.
High Peaks Wilderness:
Blueberry Hiking Trail: The first 1,500 feet of this trail has been closed. The trail now connects with the Blueberry Horse Trail about .3 miles east of the previous location (.8 miles from Seward Trailhead). This reroute eliminates the need to hike through a large wet area.
Blueberry Horse Trail: This trail between Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Trail in the Western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation, and is poorly marked. The trail is impassible to horses. The DEC aims to work on this trail in the fall.
Phelps Trail: The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook between the Garden and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unusable.
Northville Placid Trail: This trail has been rerouted around a beaver pond south of Plumley’s Point on the shores of Long Lake. It passes the beaver pond higher up the slope and eliminates the need to cross the beaver dam.
Corey’s Road: Logging trucks are still on this road – keep an eye out for them when entering from trailheads.
Garden Trailhead Parking Area: There is a $7 a day fee for parking. An attendant is present 1pm to 7pm on Fridays and from 7am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays until October 16th. The rest of the week hikers are expected to pay the fee using an envelope and collection slot.
Garden Trailhead Shuttle: The shuttle between Porter Mountain/Marcy Field Trailhead Parking Area and the Garden Trailhead operates from 7am to 7pm on weekends and holidays through October 16th. A round trip costs $5.
Ward Brook Truck Trail: This trail is still flooded due to beaver activity just north of the junction with the Northville-Placid Trail. There is no reroute. Hikers will need to walk through shin- to knee-deep water.
Trail Near Uphill Lean-to: A 10-foot section of this trail along the Opalescent River above Lake Colden was washed out due to heavy rains. Hikers can get around it by going through the trees but should use caution when doing so.
Bradley Pond Trail: The first and second foot bridges have been damaged and are unusable. The stream can be forded/rock hopped most of the time on the down stream side of the bridge sites.
Mount Marshall: Many of the herd paths and trail-less peaks go around the slopes of the mountain without reaching the peak. Use a compass to navigate and don’t follow the paths created by others.
Trap Dike: Do not use the abandoned equipment here; it is unsafe due to aging and weatherizing.
Calkins Creek Horse Trail: This trail has two bridges out, making it impassible for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Dix Mountain Wilderness:
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club): The public easement agreement only allows for hiking (or snowshoeing and skiing when in season) on the designated trails and roads. Traversing the Lower or Upper Ausable Lakes is prohibited. Do not trespass on AMR lands and waters or participate in any unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited on the AMR.
Giant Mountain Wilderness:
Mossy Cascade Trailhead: Construction on State Route 73 over the East Branch Ausable River prevents this use of this trailhead.
Chapel Pond Pass: All rock climbing routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs are now open. All rock climbing routes on the Lower Washbowl Cliffs remain closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest.
North Trail to Giant Mountain: Beaver activity has flooded this trail just past the lean-to.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness:
Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower: The fire tower is still closed to the public at this time.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness:
Labor Day Wall and Moss Cliff: All climbing routes on Labor Day Wall and Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch are open.
State Route 86 Bridge Over the West Branch Ausable River: Construction is occurring about three miles northeast of Lake Placid. Construction is expected to continue until November 1st. Parking near the bridge will be restricted. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are discouraged from using the parking areas near the bridge – use the parking area along Route 86 near the Connery Pond Road instead.
Paddlers using that section of river are advised to find an alternative route, and are discouraged from paddling under the bridge.