We’re continuing to experience extremely cold weather conditions in the Adirondacks. Those heading out to hike, ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile this weekend should check the weather report and look over winter safety tips. Stay safe out there as you enjoy prime winter recreation opportunities!
The National Weather Services has issued a wind chill warning for the entire Adirondack region from 4am on Friday, January 5th through 7pm on Saturday, January 6th. The expected wind chill temperatures are 25 to 45 below zero.
In this weather, frostbite can happen to exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.
From Friday morning through Sunday morning air temperatures will remain below zero with daytime highs in the single digits to the teens below zero, and nighttime lows in the teens to twenties below zero.
Temperatures and wind chills will be even lower on high mountain summits, surface of water bodies, and other exposed areas.
Here’s the specific forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 2° and snow showers, Sat -1° and cloudy, Sun 10° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri -7° and cloudy, Sat -10° and cloudy, Sun 9° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 7° and cloudy, Sat 3° and partly cloudy, Sun 12° and mostly sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri -9° and snow showers, Sat -13° and cloudy, Sun 9° and mostly cloudy
- Malone: Fri -10° and snow showers, Sat -12° and snow showers, Sun 10° and mostly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri -5° and mostly cloudy, Sat -9° and partly cloudy, Sun 11° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri -9° and snow showers, Sat -12° and cloudy, Sun 9° and mostly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri -7° and mostly cloudy, Sat -11° and mostly cloudy, Sun 8° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri -4° and snow showers, Sat -7° and cloudy, Sun 3° and mostly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri -9° and snow showers, Sat -12° and cloudy, Sun 8° and partly cloudy
Stay Safe Out There
Be prepared for the extremely cold weather and avoid frostbite and hypothermia by wearing items of clothing that cover all skin including: layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing; warm socks and winter boots; insulated, wind resistant upper and lower outer shell; hat and gloves or mittens; scarf or ski mask; and goggles or glasses.
Hike, snowshoe, and ski on low elevation trails in wooded areas only; avoid the high elevation summits at this time. Spend only short periods of time in the outdoors.
If you do decide to go to the summits despite the warnings, know that temperatures will be colder, wind chill temperatures much lower, winds stronger, snow deeper, and ice will be present. The winds will create whiteout conditions. You should carry a sleeping bag and shelter with you.
Remember that we are looking at short days with the sun setting early, so carry a headlamp or flashlight with you on all hikes. Have fresh batteries and carry extras. Don’t depend on your cell phone as a flashlight, because the batteries will drain quickly and you’d be unable to call for help.
Snow and ice are present on all trails and at all elevations. The use of snowshoes or skis is warranted throughout the Adirondack region.
Remember that snowshoes and skis are used to prevent post-holing, to avoid injuries, and to ease travel on snow. Post-holing, or leaving deep footprints in the snow, makes the trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use. The use of snowshoes and skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness, but highly encouraged throughout the Adirondacks.
Crampons should also be carried and used for icy areas.
Ice on Water
Surprisingly, ice on water has only just begun to form, despite the extreme cold. Don’t assume the ice is thick enough to hold the weight of a person or snowmobile – always check the thickness before traveling across it.
Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks, particularly those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices.
Snowmobile trails are open for use. Trails are in good or excellent condition and many have been groomed. Snowmobilers should check local conditions before heading out.
Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers; skiers and snowshoers should keep to the side of snowmobile trails to allow them to safely pass.
Practice Leave No Trace
Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace when you’re recreating in the High Peaks Region. This is important to protect lands and waters of the Adirondacks that we all love.
Lake Colden Caretaker Report:
- 24 inches of snow at the stake on the shores of Lake Colden (elevation 2,750 feet)
- 3 to 4 inches in the higher elevations
- Snowshoes needed beyond Marcy Dam
- Between Adirondack Loj Trailhead and Marcy Dam trail is ice covered by snow
- Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are iced over and being crossed by skiers and snowshowers
- South Meadow Lane and Marcy Truck Trail are skiable
- Avalanche Trail and most other trialsa re in good condition for skiing
The two trails through the Elk Lake Easement lands connecting to the High Peaks Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness are open once again. However, the Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road will remain closed through the spring mud season. This will add four miles to a roundtrip hike; plan accordingly.
The gate on Corey’s Road will remain open until March 1st, however, the road and parking areas may not be plowed. If you do not have four-wheel drive, and there is snow on the ground, you might consider parking along the plowed section of road and walking. It is imperative to not block traffic here. Also, have a shovel in your vehicle in case you need to dig it out after a snowstorm.
South Meadow Lane is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of spring mud season. Vehicles can park at the barrier just off the Adirondac Loj Road. Do not block the opening – it’s used for emergency access.
A large tree has fallen on the lean-to on the Mr. Van Ski Trail causing severe damage and rendering the lean-to unsafe and unusable. The DEC is working with partners to evaluate the extent of the damage and the requirements and timing of repairs.
The lower gate on the Gulf Brook Road is closed until the end of spring mud season.
Several sections of the Phelps Trail in the Upper Johns Brook Valley contain extensive blowdown. Please use caution when hiking around this area. The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook on this trail between the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and Johns Brook Lodge has been replaced.
The Cold Brook Trail between Indian Pass and Lake Colden is no longer a designated trail and is not maintained. It hasn’t been a designated trail since Tropical Storm Irene devastated this trail in 2011.
A new section of the Bradley Pond Trail to Santanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section leaves the old trail just as the trail leaves the gravel road and crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge, and then joins the old trail a short distance later.
The Owl’s Head Trail across private lands to the summit is closed to public access and use on weekends, but is available for public use on weekdays. When hiking here please stay on the trail and avoid trespassing on private lands.
Blowdown has been cleared from the Blueberry Horse Trail between Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the Western High Peaks. The trail has been “brushed out” (trailside vegetation has been trimmed). The trail is once again passable to horses and riders, however, riders should take care near drainages and several stream crossings that will be muddy. The DEC plans to improve the trail tread of this route in the future.
A new section of Bradley Pond Trail to Sanatanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings, which had unusable bridges. The new section leaves the old trail just as the trail leaves the gravel road and crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge, and then joins the old trail a short distance later.
The high water bridge over Calamity Brook has been repaired. Although it leans slightly, it is usable for crossing. The lean will be corrected at a later date. The repairs were completed by SCA High Peaks Backcountry Stewards, a DEC Forest Ranger, and the DEC High Peaks Wilderness Land Manager.
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 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.
A trail reroute has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
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.