The spring weather is finally starting to inch its way towards the Adirondacks! We’re looking at a mix of early spring and late winter conditions, so you’ll want to layer up as you prepare for hiking or recreating this weekend. You might also want to check out which rock climbing routes are closed, which snowmobile trails are closed, and which fishing season opens on Sunday.
Late Winter & Early Spring Conditions
We’re finally starting to ease into some warmer temperatures for the first time this year, although there is some snow forecasted for some areas. Temperatures at the trailhead are going to vary considerably from at the summit.
You’ll find colder temperatures at high elevations and exposed summits, so dress in layers and pack extra non-cotton layers that will protect you from the wind.
Snow and ice are still present throughout the Adirondacks. Snow depths range from 8 to 20 inches throughout most of the region.
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 49° and rain, Sat 52° and mostly sunny, Sun 40° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 40° and rain and snow, Sat 45° and mostly sunny, Sun 30° and cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 53° and scattered showers, Sat 56° and mostly sunny, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 39° and snow, Sat 45° and mostly sunny, Sun 29° and cloudy
- Malone: Fri 39° and snow showers, Sat 45° and mostly sunny, Sun 31° and cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 41° and rain, Sat 47° and mostly sunny, Sun 32° and partly sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 40° and rain and snow, Sat 45° and mostly sunny, Sun 30° and cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 41° and rain and snow, Sat 46° and mostly sunny, Sun 30° and cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 43° and rain, Sat 47° and mostly sunny, Sun 35° and partly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 39° and snow, Sat 45° and mostly sunny, Sun 30° and cloudy
Keep in mind that the weather can and does change suddenly, so check it again before heading out.
High and Middle Elevation Trails
High and middle elevation trails are covered with snow, with the snow getting deeper the higher you go. Warm daytime temperatures will soften the snowpack. Snowshoes or skis are required on all trails. You’ll find thick ice on bedrock summits, steep rocky slopes, and other exposed areas. Ice might be covered by snow.
Carry mountaineering or climbing crampons if you’re planning to head up to the higher elevations; trail crampons will be ineffective here.
Lower Elevation Trails
Lower elevation trails are going to be covered with packed snow, slush, water, and mud. The snow will also be softened here from warm daytime temperatures. Trailheads and trails might be icy, particularly in the morning.
Even if you’re sticking to lower elevation trails you should still bring snowshoes with you and use when warranted, when the snow depth exceeds 8 inches. You should also wear waterproof footwear and carry trail crampons to use when needed.
Ice on Waterbodies
The ice is thinning and waters are opening up. Water and slush are present below the snow on the surface of the ice. Ice safety is very important – if you don’t know how thick the ice is, do not attempt to cross it.
Stay away from ice that is over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks. Ice that can hold the weight of snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person or snowmobile.
Many snowmobile trails and systems have closed for the season. Most lakes and ponds will not hold the weight of a snowmobile now.
The tracts on Perkins Clearing Road and Jessup River Road are open to snowmobiles at this time, but are closed to public motor vehicle use.
Gates within the Franklin County Snowmobile Trail System and Clinton County Snowmobile Trail system have been closed for mud season. The Northern Warren and Southern Warren Snowmobile Trail Systems are also closed to snowmobile use for the season.
Check local conditions before going out.
Trout season opens on Sunday. The Adirondack region provides some excellent brook trout fishing opportunities. Although the fishing conditions can be less than ideal during the early season this will improve as the weather gets warmer.
Rock Climbing Route Closures
Effective Sunday, a number of rock climbing cliffs and routes in the eastern Adirondacks are closed to climbers to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites. Once the nest sites have been identified the DEC will open up routes that will not affect the nesting activities.
Rock climbers are encouraged to be extra cautious and observant while climbing in any location, and to report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office at 518.897.1291 or info.R5@dec.ny.gov.
The DEC truly appreciates your cooperation with avoiding closed routes, reporting peregrine falcon activity, and volunteering to observe nest sites.
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.
Independence River Wild Forest
The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely.
Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract
The town of Lake Pleasant has closed the gates on Perkins Clearing Road and Jessup River Road to public motor vehicle use for mud season. As mentioned before, the tracts are open to snowmobiles at this time. The roads will reopen once they have dried, hardened, and annual maintenance and repairs are completed.
Brister Brook Parking Area is closed.
High Peaks Wilderness
There is currently 45 inches of snow at Lake Colden (elevation 2,750 feet) with up to 4 to 5 feet of snow in the higher elevations. Snow on trails is wet and soft and snowshoes or skis are required. Water has been accumulating on the ice on Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake; avoid inlets and outlets.
Be aware of ice falling from cliffs above Avalanche Pass.
Corey’s Road in the Western High Peaks is closed beyond the Calkins Brook/Raquette River Trailhead Parking. It will remain closed through mud season and will reopen when it has dried and hardened, and all maintenance and repairs have been completed.
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.
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 aforementioned peregrine falcon mating and nesting activity is taking place in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. Rock climbing routes are closed on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Chapel Pond area at this time.
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.