The snow is coming down in many parts of the Adirondacks! Snow will be covering ice that is currently on hiking trails, snowmobile trails are likely to open back up, and there’s more to check out before you embark on your Adirondack adventure this weekend.
Weather & Winter Conditions
Late winter conditions are present in the Adirondacks. Above freezing daytime temperatures have resulted in a significant loss of snow pack across the Adirondacks, although this will likely change with snow forecasted for Friday and Saturday.
Current snow depths range from 6 to 10 inches, with deeper amounts in the higher elevations. The snowstorm is forecasted for Friday and Saturday is expected to bring up to a foot of snow across the southern and central Adirondacks and in the High Peaks region, up to 6 inches across the northern Adirondacks, and 1 to 4 inches in the eastern Adirondacks.
Here’s the official, current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 36° and snow, Sat 42° and cloudy, Sun 41° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 36° and cloudy, Sun 35° and cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 41° and rain and snow, Sat 47° and cloudy, Sun 46° and mostly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 35° and snow showers, Sun 34° and snow showers
- Malone: Fri 31° and snow, Sat 36° and snow showers, Sun 34° and snow showers
- North Creek: Fri 31° and snow, Sat 37° and cloudy, Sun 35° and mostly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 36° and cloudy, Sun 34° and snow showers
- Speculator: Fri 31° and snow, Sat 37° and cloudy, Sun 36° and mostly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 36° and cloudy, Sun 35° and mostly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 35° and cloudy, Sun 33° and cloudy
Weather conditions can and do change quickly, so check the forecast again before heading out. Be prepared for the cold weather and wet conditions by 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.
Conditions at the summits will be more extreme than at the trailheads. Expect colder temperatures, strong winds, more ice, and deeper snow.
Low elevation trails have some bare ground, thin snows, icy surfaces, water, mud, or a mixture of all! Be prepared for a variety of conditions.
Trail crampons and other traction devices should be carried for use on lower elevation, less steep trails. Deeper, soft snows in the higher elevations will require the use of snowshoes. Snowshoes might be required in other locations as well on Saturday, depending on how much snow accumulation occurs.
Thick ice is present on high elevation trails, particularly on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas. The thick ice will be covered by snow after the current snowstorm passes. Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons if you’re likely to encounter these conditions and use when warranted; trail crampons will be ineffective on the higher elevations.
Water Levels & Ice on the Water
Although water levels are receding, rivers and streams are running high and fast. Increasing amounts of ice have completely melted or thinned considerably. Newly formed ice is extremely thin and might be perched above the current water level of streams. Use extreme caution at all stream crossings. Do not try to cross through any cold, high, fast flowing waters.
Ice is thinning on lakes and ponds, especially over river channels and other moving water. The DEC has received and responded to numerous reports of motorized vehicles falling through ice. Water and slush are present on the surface of the ice under the snow and above the main surface of ice.
Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid and stay well away from ice that is over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks, especially those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices. Remember that ice that can hold the weight of snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person or snowmobile.
Many gates and snowmobile trails have closed because of lack of snow. They are likely to be reopened this weekend, especially in the southern Adirondacks. Check local conditions before going out.
The days are slowly getting longer but you’ll still need to carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes to be safe. Make sure you have fresh batteries and carry extras. Do not rely on your cell phone as a flashlight because the batteries will drain quickly and you’d be unable to call for help.
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 30 inches of snow at Lake Colden (elevation 2,750 feet) with up to 5 to 6 feet of snow in the higher elevations. Trail conditions for skiing continue to deteriorate. Snowshoes or skis are required wherever snow depths exceed 8 inches, which is basically everywhere above 2,800 feet.
Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake have water on the surface of the ice. Inlets and outlets continue to open and should be avoided.
Corey’s Road in the Western High Peaks is closed. It will remain closed through mud season. The road will reopen when it has dried and hardened, and all routine maintenance and repairs have been completed.
The road under the train trestle in the Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area has been closed due to flooding.
Due to logging operations on the Conifer-Emporium Easement Tract the DEC has closed the Cranberry Lake 50 connector trail and Lost Pond Trail to public use until further notice. The Cranberry Lake 50 trail has been temporarily re-routed to its former route through State Route 3 during the closure.
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.
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.