Although spring is here, the snow continues to fall! You’ll still need to dress warmly and bring adequate supplies for hiking in the Adirondacks. The water levels have risen, ice on water bodies is no longer safe for crossing, and more – see what you need to know before heading out this weekend.
Expect to encounter below freezing temperatures throughout the Adirondacks in the evening, overnight, and in the morning. Higher elevations and exposed summits may have significantly colder temperatures.
Snow and ice are present throughout most of the Adirondacks. Recent above freezing temperatures, rain, and wind have combined with longer, sunny days to reduce the snowpack significantly. Snow depths range from 0 to 10 inches in the lower elevations to several feet above 4,000 feet.
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 37° and snow, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 37° and mostly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 37° and snow, Sat 31° and cloudy, Sun 29° and mostly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 39° and snow with brief sleet, Sat 42° and mostly cloudy, Sun 41° and mostly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 30° and snow, Sat 31° and cloudy, Sun 28° and cloudy
- Malone: Fri 32° and snow, Sat 33° and snow showers, Sun 29° and mostly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 35° and snow, Sat 33° and mostly cloudy, Sun 30° and mostly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 34° and snow, Sat 32° and cloudy, Sun 29° and cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 35° and snow, Sat 29° and cloudy, Sun 28° and mostly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 29° and rain and snow, Sat 36° and partly cloudy, Sun 32° and mostly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 33° and snow, Sat 32° and cloudy, Sun 30° and mostly cloudy
Pack extra noncotton clothing and wind protectant layers. Expect to encounter all conditions.
The Adirondacks experienced heavy winds Wednesday afternoon through Thursday which resulted in a significant amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches). Plan for all hikes to take longer than usual and be prepared to turn back if the blowndown is extensive.
Compacted snow on trails has turned into ice. This creates “monorails” as trailside snow melts. Trails with no snow or “monorails” may still be icy from recent rains.
Use trail crampons (microspikes) on all trails and walk on, not around, monorails to avoid post-holing in trailside snow, trampling vegetation, and eroding trails.
Heavier crampons for climbing or mountaineering should still be used on the higher elevation slopes and summits.
Melting snow and recent rain have raised water levels. Rivers and streams are flowing high and fast. Stream crossings may be dangerous or impossible.
The water temperatures are very cold. People immersed in the water may lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear personal flotation devices. Boaters and paddlers are required to wear personal flotation devices until May 1st.
No ice is considered safe at this time.
Snowmobile Trails and Seasonal Access Roads
Snowmobile trails are closed for the season and gates on seasonal access roads are or soon will be closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried or hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
Rock Climbing Route Closures
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 are identified the DEC will reopen routes that will not interfere with nesting activities.
Rock climbers are encouraged to be cautious and observant while climbing in other locations and report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife at 518.897.1291 or info.R5@dec.ny.gov.
The DEC appreciates your continued cooperation in avoiding closed routes, volunteering to observe nest sites, and reporting peregrine falcon activity.
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.
All snowmobile trails and gates on seasonal access roads are closed in Black River Wild Forest. Mill Brook Road and Wolf Lake Landing Road gates will open for public motor vehicle traffic when the roads have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
The Erie Canal Bridge over Otter Creek in Independence River Wild Forest has been damaged and is closed indefinitely.
West Central Adirondacks
The gates have been closed at each end of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest for mud season. The road will reopen when it has dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
High Peaks Wilderness
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.