Spending your Columbus Day Weekend in the Adirondacks to see the fall foliage? Make sure you’re prepared ahead of time! We’ve got all the info about trailhead changes, trail conditions, fall foliage reports, and more in our weekend update below.
Columbus Day Weekend Notices
The DEC is expecting heavy use of trails for the holiday weekend, so they will be temporarily relocating the trailhead and trailhead parking for Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain, and Pitchoff Mountain to ORDA’s Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex. The entrance to the sports complex is 1.3 miles west of the current trailhead.
Starting at dusk on Thursday, October 5th, through dusk on Monday, October 9th, the pull-offs along State Route 73 near the current trailhead will be blocked. You will not be able to park there or along the road. The New York State Police and Essex County Sheriff’s Department will be enforcing the parking prohibition during the four days it is in effect.
In the Adirondacks, fall foliage is ranging from midway to just past peak.
- Lake Placid will see peak foliage this weekend with a mix of brown, orange, maroon, and yellow colors. Color change will be close to 100% in the higher elevations of the High Peaks.
- Tupper Lake will be just past peak foliage this weekend, but Saranac Lake will likely see peak foliage with a mix of red, orange, and yellow colors.
- Long Lake will see about 50% color change this weekend, and if you continue traveling southwest, you’ll see about 60-75% color change around Inlet and Old Forge.
- From Ticonderoga to Schroon Lake, fall foliage will be about halfway to peak colors.
Weather conditions can and do change suddenly, so check the weather before leaving. Temperatures will be cool in the morning and in the evening, and remember that the days are shortening as the sun is setting earlier each day.
This Columbus Day Weekend, weather conditions will vary throughout the Adirondacks. However, there will be a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday in some areas, so check the local weather forecast before you take off on a fall foliage hike.
Early Bear Hunting, early Deer Bow Hunting, and most small game hunting seasons are open. Please be aware that you may encounter hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while out hiking; hunters have the legal right to participate in these activities and hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.
Fire danger is mostly low this weekend, although it is moderate in some spots in the Eastern Adirondacks. Please practice campfire safety, never leaving fires unattended, and be sure all campfires, coals, embers, and ashes are cool.
The use of wood burning stoves is still prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. The ban on campfires applies to any type of wood as fuel to protect the trees and other vegetation from being damaged.
Although many trails are drying, some are still wet and muddy along waterways, low spots, and areas above 3,000 feet in elevation. Walk through the mud and water to protect the vegetation alongside the trail from damage.
As usual, temperatures at summits will be cooler and winds stronger.
Seasonal Access Roads
Seasonal access roads consist of dirt, sand, gravel, and/or stone and usually have a rough surface. Four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs, or other high clearance vehicles are recommended for use on a seasonal access road.
Bear Resistant Canisters
Overnight campers in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness must store all food, toiletries, and garbage in bear resistant canisters. The use of bear resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
Practice Leave No Trace
When out and about hiking and camping please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
Hikers planning to climb the summit of Cascade or Porter mountains can park in the parking lots at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex at no cost. Volunteers will be directing hikers to a 2-mile marked route on the complex’s cross-country ski trail system. The ski trails are smooth and gently roll through the forest, making for an easy hike.
The route links to a newly constructed 0.4-mile connector trail between the ski trail and the Cascade Mountain Trail. The connector trail joins the Cascade Mountain Trail about 0.6 mile from the current trailhead. A round-trip hike to the summit of Cascade Mountain will be 8.6 miles long, 3.8 miles longer than a round-trip hike to the summit from the current trailhead.
If you’re planning to climb to the summit of Pitchoff Mountain, you’ll start on the same route across the complex’s cross-country ski trail system. After 1.7 miles, the route to Pitchoff Mountain leaves that trail and goes through 0.3 mile of private driveway to State Route 73. Hikers will then walk 0.15 mile and cross State Route 73 to the current trailhead for the Pitchoff Mountain Trail. A round-trip hike to the summit of Pitchoff Mountain will be 8.4 miles long, 4.4 miles longer than a round-trip hike to the summit from the current trailhead.
The Lake Arnold/Feldspar Brook Trail is wet and muddy but passable.
Cold Brook Trail between Indian Pass and Lake Colden is no longer a designated trail and is not maintained. It has not been a designated trail since Tropical Storm Irene.
A crew of Student Conservation Backcountry Stewards and the DEC High Peaks Trail Crew are currently working on dismantling Marcy Dam. This is the third year of a five-year project to dismantle the dam in a way that minimizes the movement of sediments into Marcy Brook. The public is asked to stay out of the designated work areas and to not disturb equipment, whether crews are there working or not.
The trail across private lands to the summit of Owls Head is closed to public access on the weekends.
The DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Programs have replaced the “Hitch-up Matildas” – the bridging on the cliff face along the lake – and Avalanche Lake Trail is open.
The lower gate on Gulf Brook Road is open to public motor vehicle use. Gulf Brook Road provides access to three interior parking lots along the road. The Gulf Brook Road Upper Parking Area is near a gate that bars public motor vehicles use beyond the parking area. LaBier Flow is 2.5 miles beyond the gate and the Boreas Ponds is 3.5 miles away.
The high water bridge on the Calamity Brook Trail is unsafe, unusable, and should not be crossed.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible.
The first and second foot bridges on the Bradley Pond Trail are damaged and unusable. The stream can be forded/rock hopped on the downstream side of the bridge sites.
The Boquet Lean-To on the Dix Mountain Round Pond Trail has been moved away from the river and repaired by volunteers from the Adirondack 46ers.
The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook on the Phelps Trail between the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unstable. A new bridge is expected to be built by the end of this year.
A trail reroute has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
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.
Beaver activity has flooded parts of Jack Rabbit Trail.
The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse-drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
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.