A high water bridge is currently unsafe and unusable, a fire tower has been damaged by ice wind, and of course the weather continues to be crazy! Learn about these and other notices that could impact your weekend hiking plans.
Calamity Brook Trail
The high water trail bridge on Calamity Trail is unsafe and unusable at this time. Crossing the brook, which is open at this time, without using the bridge would be very difficult, particularly during high water. On warm and rainy days the water levels in the brook will be higher in the afternoon; plan accordingly.
The East River Trail (also known as the Opalescent River/Hanging Spear Falls Trail) can be used to access the Flowed Lands and Lake Colden. It’s an additional 3.7 miles one-way to reach the Flowed Lands when you use this route. The DEC will work to stabilize and repair the high water bridge this spring.
Mt. Adams Fire Tower
The top landing on the Mt. Adams Fire Tower has been damaged by ice wind. Fencing and railings were broken off and the tower stairs and landings are slippery. Please do not attempt to go into the tower cab or onto the top landing with the broken fencing. Work will be planned to fix this damage this year.
Protect Sensitive and Rare Alpine Vegetation
Alpine vegetation becomes exposed as the snow pack melts and consolidates above the tree line. Protect sensitive and rare alpine vegetation by wearing snowshoes and skis above the summits and staying on packed trails. Carry and wear crampons. Stay on trails.
This road has been closed for mud season. The gate and access to the summer parking lot will reopen on May 15th unless weather prevents the road from drying and hardening.
High Peaks Information Center (HPIC)
The HPIC at Adirondack Loj is now open. Although the store is not fully stocked at this time flush toilets, snowshoe and microspike rentals, and some retail merchandise is available.
Weather & Snow
The recent weather has resulted in decreased snow depths, decreased ice thickness, high waters, and hard, icy trails. The drop in temperature has been accompanied by high winds.
Although there is less snow, deep snow remains above 2,500 feet with 3 to 4 feet at Lake Colden, and 4 to 6 feet on the summits. Even though there is little to no snow at trailheads snowshoes or skis are required in the High Peaks Wilderness and should be worn elsewhere, wherever snow depths exceed 8 inches.
Postholing is when you think the snow is hard packed but it’s soft and you sink right into it, leaving deep footprints. This can cause injuries for other hikers.
Snowshoes or skis need to be worn to prevent postholing. The DEC has reported that recent hikers have been postholing and end up finding themselves going through snow depths ranging from knee deep to waist deep – this is not only problematic for the hikers, but it’s also damaging to the trails.
For this reason, forest rangers are turning back hikers they encounter without snowshoes or skis in the High Peaks Wilderness.
In addition to winter hiking boots, carry the following and wear when needed:
- Microspikes or other traction devices for trailheads and low elevation trails
- Snowshoes or skis for mid and upper elevations
- Crampons for exposed summits and bedrocks
As usual, temperatures at summits are colder than elsewhere and winds are stronger. Snow is also deeper. Exposed bedrock can be covered in thick ice, so crampons should be used.
Whiteout conditions from blowing snow are common on summits. Carry a map and a compass with you, and know how to navigate without the ability to see landmarks, cairns, or your tracks. Or, simply avoid summit mountains when whiteout conditions are present.
Blowdown is present on many trails, especially trails going through hardwood forests and lesser used trails. Watch out for fallen or broken tree limbs and branches.
Ice is present at trailheads, on low elevation trails, drainages, and on rocks near water. Thick ice is present at the summits, exposed bedrock, and other open areas.
The trail conditions are variable, so plan for all possible conditions. Expect hikes or skis to take longer than normal. You may encounter rocks, roots, and other obstacles in the lower elevations, and water may also be present in the lower elevations near running water, seeps, and drainages.
Ice on Water
Ice remains on high elevation ponds and lakes but is thinning. Avoid areas around the inlets and outlets and use caution around shorelines. Ice on lower elevation lakes and ponds has receded significantly around inlets, outlets, over moving water, and along shorelines. Rivers and streams are open.
The trail between Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake has no snow cover.
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.
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
Whiteface Landing Trail: This trail has been rerouted to avoid the private camps on Connery Pond. The new trail starts at the parking area located before the private gate. Respect private property.
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.
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 impassable 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.