Although we’ve had some warm, sunny days in the Adirondacks this summer, there have been just as many humid and rainy afternoons. This weekend will be more of the same as rain and thunderstorms are both expected throughout the Adirondacks. However, if the weather ends up improving near the end of the weekend, be aware of the current hiking and trail conditions in the region before you head outdoors.
Water Levels & Weather Forecast
Water levels are currently high from recent rainfall. Water crossings should be passable, but hikers should expect to get their feet wet. Rain and scattered thunderstorms are forecasted for much of the Adirondacks throughout the weekend from Friday through Sunday.
- Rain will range from light showers in the northern Adirondacks to heavy rains and thunderstorms in the southern Adirondacks. Always check the weather forecast again before you go on a hike.
- Paddlers should be aware of rapids and faster currents on rivers.
- Boaters and paddlers should keep an eye out for logs, limbs, and other materials that have been washed into rivers and lakes.
- Boaters, paddlers, and anglers in fast moving waters should wear a Personal Flotation Device.
Trails are wet and muddy in many locations, particularly in low spots and by waterways. Walk through the mud and water, not around it, to protect trailside vegetation. Some steep sections of trails may have additional erosion due to the heavy rains – rocks, gravel, and dirt in these spots may be unstable.
Backcountry hiking trails can get rugged and rough as they are not maintained the way park walkways are, so dress accordingly. Know that the weather and wilderness conditions can change suddenly.
And, remember to leave wildlife alone – photographing is fine, feeding or harassing is not – and to minimize your overall impact on natural resources while you’re out in the Adirondacks.
Once again, you very well may encounter thunderstorms if you’re out hiking this weekend. Remember to avoid summits, water surfaces, and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you’re aware of a thunderstorm moving in, head to lower elevations or otherwise seek shelter. If you are caught in a thunderstorm, find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees, and crouch down away from tree trunks.
Looking Ahead – Avalanche Lake Trail
Avalanche Lake Trail is going to be closed from August 15th through August 25th while the DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Programs replace the “Hitch-up Matildas” – the bridging on the cliff face along the lake.
Access through Avalanche Pass to the head of the lake and from Lake Colden to the outlet will be possible, but through passage will not. Plan alternate routes accordingly between Avalanche Camp and Lake Colden during this timeframe.
Fire danger continues to be low.
Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, and biting midges are out! Follow these steps to minimize their effect on you:
- Wear light colored long sleeve shirts and long pants
- Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist
- Tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks
- Pack a head net to wear when insects are abundant
- Use an insect repellent with DEET
The Seven “Leave No Trace” Principles
The DEC is reminding us to abide by the Seven “Leave No Trace” Principles. These guidelines basically ensure that we’re able to enjoy our natural world by minimizing human-made impacts.
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness are required to store all food, toiletries, and garbage in bear-resistant canisters; the use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
The Boquet Lean-To on the Dix Mountain Round Pond Trail is currently being repaired and has been moved away from the river by volunteers from the Adirondack 46ers. It’s not available for use; campers should use the designated primitive tent sites in the area.
The high water bridge on the Calamity Brook Trail is unsafe, unusable, and should not be crossed. Crossing Calamity Brook, which is completely open at this time, without using the bridge will be difficult, especially with the high water levels. On warm and rainy days, water levels in the brook will be higher; plan accordingly. The East River Trail (aka 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 using this route. The DEC will be working on stabilizing and repairing the high water bridge.
The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook on the Phelps Trail between the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and Johns Brook Lodge broke in the spring of 2016 and the remains were removed. Materials were flown to the site so a new bridge can be built in 2017.
A trail reroute has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
The trail across private lands to the summit of Owls Head is currently closed to public access and use on the weekends.
The High Peaks Information Center is now open.
Rock climbing routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are now open.
The top landing on the Mt. Adams Fire Tower has been damaged by ice and wind. Fencing and railings were broken off and the tower stairs and landings are slippery. The top landing and the cab are closed to the public at this time. The DEC plans to repair the tower sometime this year.
Some sections of the trail between the Feldspar lean-to and Lake Arnold are underwater and impassable. Instead of taking the Lake Arnold/Feldspar Brook Trail, alternate routes are advised.
The first 1,500 feet of the Blueberry Hiking Trail in the western High Peaks has been closed. The trail now connects with the Blueberry Horse Trail approximately 0.3 miles east of the previous location (0.8 miles from Seward Trailhead). This reroute eliminates the need to hike through a large wet area, and also avoids hiking more than 120 feet of bog bridging.
The Blueberry Horse Trail between the Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation, and is also poorly marked. The trail is impassable to horses, making it impossible to complete the Cold River Horse Trail Loop. The DEC has worked to open up about 75% of the trail, and work on this trail is continuing.
The second bridge on the East River Trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls has been replaced. Please do not bounce on the bridge.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. If the water is low, crossing the brook is still possible. The Northville-Placid 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 the water levels were high. Follow the blue NPT trail markers.
Beaver activity has flooded parts of Jack Rabbit Trail.
The Moose Creek Suspension Bridge between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River is now open.
The first and second footbridges on the Bradley Pond Trail are damaged and unusable. The stream can be forded/rock hopped.
Many of the herd paths found on Mount Marshall and some of the other trail-less peaks meander around the slopes of the mountain without reaching the peak. Those climbing these peaks should navigate with a map and compass rather than follow the paths created by others.
Fixed ropes, harnesses, and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Do not use any of these materials – they have been aged and weatherized, making them unsafe.
The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse-drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
The Interim Access Plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract has been developed, which identifies access and recreational opportunities including: five year-round parking areas and three seasonal parking areas, 3.2 miles of seasonal motor vehicle access on the Gulf Brook Road, 6.7 miles of roadway open to bicycling from Blue Ridge Road to the Boreas Ponds Dam, and approximately 25 miles of seven roadways open to horses and horse-drawn wagons. The public is prohibited from trespassing in and around the leased hunting camps.