In the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondacks this weekend, temperatures will get above freezing during the day, and there are only small chances of precipitation. Before you head out, check out the latest hiking and ski trail conditions!
Photo Credit: Scott Yakey
Trailheads and trails below 1,500 feet in elevation have little to no snow. However, trailheads and trails between 1,500 feet and 2,200 feet have 1 to 6 inches of snow. On high elevation summits, snow depths can be up to 5 feet or more.
There are 37 inches of snow at the stake at the Lake Colden Caretaker’s Cabin (located at an elevation of 2,775 feet). Due to recent thaws and rain, many drainages do not have snow cover.
Ice has formed on ponds and lakes in the higher elevations, and it is present at all trailheads and low elevation trails.
Continue to avoid areas around the inlets and outlets. When temperatures drop below freezing, lower elevation lakes and ponds will most likely have water on the surface or below a layer of ice.
Snowshoes and Skis
Snowshoes or skis are required in the High Peaks Wilderness, and strongly recommended elsewhere in the Adirondack Region, or any place where snow depths exceed 8 inches.
Rangers will turn back hikers who do not bring snowshoes with them to areas with deep snow.
Snowshoes are important because they prevent post-holing, which is deep footprints in the snow that can cause injuries for others in the area. Snowshoes also simply make it easier and safer for you to navigate snow-covered trails.
Note: Designated ski trails can only be used by people wearing skis. Do not snowshoe or walk on these ski trails.
Here are the current ski conditions in the High Peaks Wilderness:
- South Meadow Lane – Good
- Marcy Truck Trail – Good
- Van Hoevenburg Trail (Adirondack Loj Trailhead to Algonquin Junction) – Poor
- Van Hoevenburg Trail (past Marcy Dam) – Good to Excellent
- Ski Trail – Good to Excellent
- Avalanche Pass – Good, but with some obstacles
Temperatures will be cold, winds strong, and snow deep at the summits. Ice can be thick on treeless summits. Sight distance may be limited by clouds and snow.
Adhere to the following to be safe in the snow, ice, and cold temperatures:
- Wear water and wind resistant outer layers
- Wear layers of fleece, wool, and other non-cotton clothing
- Pack extra clothing including a fleece, wool, or other non-cotton jacket or sweater
- Add or remove layers as needed to maintain a comfortable body temperature
- Wear a cold weather hat and gloves or mittens
- Eat, drink, and rest often
- Carry snowshoes and foot spikes, and wear when warranted
- Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
To prevent tree damage, the use of wood burning stoves is prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks.
High Peaks Information Center (HPIC)
The HPIC at Adirondack Loj is still closed at this time. The Adirondack Mountain Club is operating out of a heated tent for snowshoe and microspike rentals, along with some other retail merchandise.
The flush toilet and shower facilities are not available, although there are porta-johns. Parking is available. The HPIC is expected to reopen in early February.
The section of trail between Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden has little to no snow because of the recent thaws and rain. River crossings south of Lake Colden have variable amounts of ice.
This road is open to the summer gate, although the town does not plow the road beyond the bridge over Stony Creek, so plan accordingly. Do not park in the snowplow turnarounds.
Jack Rabbit Trail
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of this trail; check the ice before crossing.
Gulf Brook Road
The lower gate on this road near Blue Ridge Road is closed and locked. Public motor vehicle use is prohibited until the end of spring mud season.
Elk Lake Road
This road is closed to public motor vehicle access beyond the Clear Pond Gate until the end of the spring mud season. Park in the parking area at the Clear Pond Gate and hike, ski, or snowshoe the two miles to Elk Lake Trailhead; the trails from Elk Lake Trailhead are open.
The five exterior parking lots along Elk Lake Road and Blue Ridge Road will be plowed.
Boreas Ponds Tract
The Interim Access Plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract has been developed, opening up new recreational opportunities:
- 3.2 miles of seasonal motor vehicle access on 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 horses and horse drawn wagons
- 5 year-round parking areas and 3 seasonal parking areas
The five exterior parking lots along Blue Ridge Road and Elk Lake road will be plowed.
The lands of this tract are unclassified at this time. The Interim Access Plan does not have any bearing on future land classification of the tract currently in development and does not prejudge what access and uses will be allowed in the future. The public is prohibited from trespassing in and around the leased camps.
High Peaks Region
South Meadow Lane: South Meadow Lane is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of spring mud season. Vehicles may park at the barrier at the intersection with Adirondack Loj Road but should not block the opening to ensure emergency vehicles are able to access the lane.
Lake Arnold/Feldspar Brook Trail: This trail is flooded and the bog bridging cannot be crossed. You’ll need to use alternate routes on other trails in the area. The DEC is working to find a permanent solution.
East River Trail: The second bridge on the East River Trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls has been replaced by the DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program. Please do not bounce on the bridge.
Garden Trailhead Parking Area: The Town of Keene operates the Garden Parking Area and charges $7 a day for parking. Hikers should use an envelope and the collection slot to pay.
Blueberry Hiking Trail: The first 1,500 feet of this trail have 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.
Phelps Trail: The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook between the Garden and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unusable.
Bradley Pond: The first and second foot bridges on the Bradley Pond Trail are damaged and unusable. The stream can be forded/rock hopped downstream 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 impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
The trail has been rerouted around a beaver pond south of Plumley’s Point on the shores of Long Lake. The reroute passes the beaver pond higher up the slope and eliminates having to cross the beaver dam and the wet feet obtained when water levels were high. Follow the blue NPT trail markers.
Moose Creek Suspension Bridge: The bridge between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River is now open.
Ouluska Brook: The bridge over this brook has collapsed. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
North Trail to Giant Mountain: Beaver activity has flooded this trail just past the lean-to.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) (Ausable Club)
The public easement agreement only allows for hiking on designated trails and roads. Do not trespass on AMR lands or waters, or participate in unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited on the AMR.