Conditions are looking pretty decent for recreating in the Adirondacks over the three day weekend. Deep snow is present on virtually all hiking trails and snowmobile trails are open. Be sure to take a moment to review current trail conditions, the weather report, and additional information before you embark on your outing.
Holiday Weekend – Plan for Busy Trails
Presidents Day is Monday, making for a three day weekend for some. Therefore, you can expect to encounter more vehicles at trailheads and more people and snowmobiles out in the Adirondacks.
Make sure to park in designated parking areas at trailheads – do not block gates, entrances, exits, or other vehicles. When parking your vehicle, be considerate and do not take up more spaces than necessary. Trailheads and parking areas are expected to be full during the holiday weekend.
Practice trail etiquette. Be courteous of others while out on the trails, regardless of their activity, speed, or skill level. Hike in single file, especially when approaching other hikers. Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate. Allow faster hikers to pass. When approaching other hikers from behind, politely alert them to your presence and desire to pass.
Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout the Adirondacks. Snow depths range from 8 to 30 inches. Shallower snows are found in the northwestern and very eastern portions of the Adirondacks.
Unexpected weather is likely at high elevations. Be prepared to encounter high winds at summits and on exposed trails. Bring extra layers and be prepared to turn around if the weather becomes too dangerous.
- Crown Point: Fri 42° and rain and snow, Sat 34° and partly cloudy, Sun 42° and mostly sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 34° and cloudy, Sat 29° and mostly cloudy, Sun 34° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 45° and cloudy, Sat 37° and mostly cloudy, Sun 44° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 35° and snow showers, Sat 28° and mostly cloudy, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 35° and snow showers, Sat 28° and mostly cloudy, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 37° and cloudy, Sat 29° and mostly cloudy, Sun 35° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 35° and snow showers, Sat 30° and mostly cloudy, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 36° and fog, Sat 28° and mostly cloudy, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 35° and rain and snow, Sat 28° and partly cloudy, Sun 37° and partly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 34° and snow showers, Sat 30° and mostly cloudy, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
Preparing for the Weather
As usual for winter hiking in the Adirondacks, you should be wearing a waterproof upper and lower outer shell, waterproof footwear, layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing (not cotton), and a hat and gloves or mittens.
In addition, this weekend is forecasted to be partly sunny, so keep sun protection in mind. Always wear sunscreen or UV protected clothing when out recreating. Even in the cold, the sun still emits dangerous UV rays. Sunglasses are also essential for eye protection, even in the winter. The sunlight intensity is increased from reflecting off the bright white snow. Polarized lenses with UV protection are best when recreating on a sunny winter day.
Also, remember that the days are still fairly short – bring a flashlight or headlamp with you and extra batteries. Never rely on your cell phone as a flashlight as it drains the batteries, preventing you from being able to call for help.
Trails are currently covered in 15 to 20 inches of snow. They might have ice on the surface of the snow due to recent and forecasted warm weather and rain. Thick ice is present on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas. Warmer temperatures and rain are expected to bring icier conditions to the lower elevations.
Snowshoes or skis should be worn on all trails. Trail crampons and other traction devices should be carried and used when warranted on low elevation and less steep trails.
Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons during outings on steep slopes in the high elevations and use when needed.
Conditions will be more extreme at the summits than at the trailhead. You can expect colder temperatures, lower wind chill temperatures, stronger winds, deeper snow, and thicker ice.
Ice on Water Surfaces
Ice has formed and thickened on most water bodies. Ice on rivers and streams is less thick.
Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks, especially those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices.
Snowmobile trail systems throughout the Adirondacks are open. Check local conditions before heading out.
Practice Leave No Trace
Always adhere to the seven Leave No Trace principles to best preserve the Adirondack region we all love and to allow for an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors.
High Peaks Wilderness
There is 34 inches of snow on the shores of Lake Colden (elevation 2,750 feet) with up to 5 to 6 feet of snow in the higher elevations. Remember that snowshoes or skis are required wherever snow depths exceed 8 inches, which is basically on all trails. There will likely be ice on top of the snow.
Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are crossable, but ice around the inlets and outlets of both lakes should be avoided.
The Cascade Lakes Day Use Area, located off State Route 73 between Lower and Upper Cascade Lakes, is closed until further notice due to the icy condition of the unmaintained entry road.
Water levels in high elevation brooks remain higher than usual.
The trail through the Elk Lake Easement lands connecting to the High Peaks Wilderness is 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 the 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.
Several sections of the Phelps Trail in the Upper Johns Brook Valley contain extensive blowdown. Please use caution when hiking around this area.
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.
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.
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 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.
The use of wood burning stoves is prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks. The ban on campfires applies to any type of use of wood as fuel to protect the trees and other vegetation from being damaged.
Dix Mountain Wilderness
The trail through the Elk Easement lands connecting to the Dix Mountain Wilderness is open for public use once again; as mentioned in the High Peaks section, the Clear Pond Gate on Elk Lake Road is closed through spring mud season.
The Boquet lean-to on the Dix Mountain Road Pond Trail has been moved away from the river and repaired by volunteers from the Adirondack 46ers.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
A trail re-route has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook has collapsed into the brook. Due to the low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
The first bridge on the Jackrabbit Trail between McKenzie Pond Road and McKenzie Pond is flooded and impassable. The stream isn’t safe to cross. Skiers and snowshoers should avoid this portion of the trail until further notice.
The portion of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail through this wilderness is popular with cross-country skiers. The use of segments of the trail which cross through private property is by permission of the landowner. Please respect the private property by staying on the marked trail and obeying posted signs. Anyone using this trail should wear skis or snowshoes, and snowshoers should avoid walking in ski tracks.
Sentinel Range Wilderness
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of the Jack Rabbit Trail.
Boreas Ponds Tract
The Adirondack Park Agency has approved the classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract, after nearly two years of discussion.
The lower gate on Gulf Brook Road is closed until the end of spring mud season.
The public is prohibited from trespassing in and around leased hunting camps.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club)
The public easement agreement only allows for hiking on designated trails and roads. Don’t trespass on AMR lands and waters or participate in any unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited on the AMR.