With the amazing fall foliage in our area, hiking is very popular as autumn approaches – be prepared for crowds. Or, check out the DEC’s suggestions for equally amazing but less crowded hikes!
Here’s all you need to know about the crowds, current weather and hiking conditions, and more for this weekend.
Crowds on Weekends
Trails, summits, and parking areas along the Route 73 corridor in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, and Eastern High Peaks are expected to be crowded on weekends through Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend (October 8 through 10).
When the parking lot at the Adirondack Loj Trailhead is full due to the high volume of hikers, DEC Forest Rangers will be turning around motor vehicles on the Adirondack Loj Road at South Meadow Lane.
The DEC has pointed out several nearby hikes that provide a similar experience to the High Peaks. Consider checking these hikes out instead – you’ll still get stunning scenic views of fall foliage, mountains, and waters!
Less crowded hikes:
- Rocky Peak
- Baxter Mountain
- Owl’s Head Lookout
- The Crows
- Whiteface Mountain
- Scarface Mountain
- Copperas & Owen Ponds
- Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
- Catamount Mountain
- Silver Lake Mountain
- Bear Den Mountain
- Cobble Lookout
- Clements Pond
For the second year, the DEC and the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program will be working on the removal of Marcy Dam through September 21st. Please pay attention to caution flagging in this area, and follow the reroutes around equipment at the dam. Do not enter the worksite or disturb the tools when workers are not present.
Early Bear Hunting Season
For those of you who hunt, early bear hunting season opens this Saturday, the 17th, for small game. For those of you hiking, be aware that you may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails.
Please know that these are fellow outdoor enthusiasts who do have a legal right to participate on these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving people who aren’t hunting are incredibly rare, but consider wearing bright colors just as an extra precaution.
Shorter Days & Cooler Evenings
Fall is fast approaching! Days are shorter, and evenings are cooler. Be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you, and a non-cotton jacket or sweater.
Although we’re on the cusp of fall with cooler evenings, the weather is still projected to be hot out there during the day. Bring a non-cotton jacket with you, but also wear loose clothing of material that wicks moisture away from your body and protect yourself from the sun. Drink plenty of water at home, in the car, at the trailhead, and carry and drink water while hiking.
Water Levels and Showers
Water levels are still low. Crossing water in low areas and drainages should be fairly easy, but remember that water levels can rise quickly during and right after rain. Showers are forecasted for this weekend.
Trails still may be wet and muddy along water bodies; with showers forecasted other trails may become wet as well. Remember to remain on trails, walking through mud and water as necessary to prevent trailside erosion. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters.
Fire danger is still moderate. Remember never to leave a campfire unattended, and ensure all fires are out completely with all wood, coals, ember, and ash cool.
Black bears are still more active than usual. Campers not using bear-resistant canisters properly have lost their food to bears. Remember, the use of bear-resistant canisters is required in the Eastern High Peaks, but recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
Bears are more active in the evening – cook, eat, and clean up before dusk. Keep your campsite as clean as possible and don’t keep coolers or food out at any time. Toiletries should be treated as food items and stored securely as such.
East River Trail
The second bridge on the East River Trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls has been replaced by DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. Please do not bounce on the bridge.
Moose Creek Suspension Bridge
Repairs on the bridge on the Northville-Placid Trail between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River are completed and the bridge is now open for use.
Whiteface Landing Trail
The trail has been rerouted to avoid private camps on Connery Pond. The trail now starts at the small parking area just before the private gate. Please respect the private property by staying on the trail.
Boreas Ponds Tract
The Interim Access Plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract has been completed, opening up new recreational opportunities:
- 3.2 miles of motor vehicle access on the Gulf Brook Road
- 6.7 miles of roadway open to bicycling from Blue Ridge Road to Boreas Ponds Dam
- About 25 miles of 7 roadways open to horse and horse drawn wagons
- 5 year-round parking areas and 3 seasonal parking areas
All roadways and lands are open to hiking, hunting, trapping, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing except for one acre around the leased hunting camps; the public is prohibited from trespassing in and around the leased camps.
High Peaks Wilderness
Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on theNorthville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Because water conditions are low it is still possible to cross the brook.
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. Follow the blue NPT trail markers.
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.
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.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club)
The AMR consists of private lands between the Dix Mountain Wilderness and the High Peaks Wilderness in the Adirondacks. 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 or waters, or participate in any unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited on the AMR.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
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
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.