This weekend is a Canadian holiday, Victoria Day Weekend, and trails and parking areas are expected to get busy! Brush up on trail conditions and a number of hiking notices, including many seasonal access roads that have opened up.
This weekend is Victoria Day Weekend, a Canadian holiday. Trailhead parking areas are expected to fill early. You can expect to encounter many people on trails and waterways. Plan accordingly and seek outdoor recreational opportunities in other lesser used areas of the Adirondacks.
Please avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highway roads for safety purposes. Be aware of visitors crossing roads. Don’t block driveways, roadways, or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.
We are still looking at spring conditions in the lower elevations and winter conditions in the higher elevations.
Deep snow (1 to 3 feet) and ice are present above 3,000 feet, with even deeper snow above 4,000 feet. Snow is deepest on north-facing slopes and other areas with little exposure to the sun. Snow and ice are present in between 2,500 and 3,000 feet elevations, especially in wooded areas, on north-facing slopes, ravines, and areas with little exposure to the sun and wind.
Little to no snow and ice are present between 1,500 and 2,000 feet elevation. Rare patches of snow might still be present in certain areas. Snow and ice are gone below 1,500 feet.
- Crown Point: Fri 65° and mostly sunny, Sat 56° and rain, Sun 66° and scattered thunderstorms
- Indian Lake: Fri 64° and partly cloudy, Sat 52° and rain, Sun 62° and rain
- Lake George: Fri 73° and mostly sunny, Sat 58° and rain, Sun 74° and scattered thunderstorms
- Lake Placid: Fri 63° and mostly sunny, Sat 56° and rain, Sun 61° and rain
- Malone: Fri 63° and sunny, Sat 61° and rain, Sun 63° and rain
- North Creek: Fri 64° and partly cloudy, Sat 53° and rain, Sun 65° and rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 64° and mostly sunny, Sat 58° and rain, Sun 61° and rain
- Speculator: Fri 64° and partly cloudy, Sat 49° and rain, Sun 63° and rain
- Ticonderoga: Fri 66° and mostly sunny, Sat 57° and rain, Sun 66° and thunderstorms
- Tupper Lake: Fri 65° and sunny, Sat 54° and rain, Sun 61° and rain
High elevation trails are covered in ice and soft snow. Carry crampons and snowshoes and use when warranted. Remember to stay on the trails to avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.
Moderately high elevation trails are icy with shallow snow. Compacted snow has turned to ice creating monorails as surrounding snow melts.
Middle and lower elevation trails may be wet and muddy in places, especially in low spots, drainages, and sections of trails by water might be wet and muddy. Continue to walk through, and not around, the mud and water to avoid widening trails and trampling vegetation.
Due to the heavy winter snow and recent storms with strong winds you can expect to find blowdown (trees, limbs, and branches) on portions of many trails. Blowdown may be heavy in some areas.
Stream Crossings & Water Levels
Due to high, swift waters crossing may be dangerous or impossible, especially in the afternoon when the snow melt increases. Streams and drainages that are passable in the morning may not be in the afternoon.
Water levels are dropping but are still in the average springtime high levels. Rivers and streams still have strong flows. Boaters and paddlers should use caution and be aware of obstacles and debris on or just below the surface.
Water temperatures are still very cold. Paddlers and boaters should wear a personal flotation device (PFD). People immersed in cold waters can 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 a PDF.
Ice is off all but the highest elevation ponds.
The current fire danger rating is moderate. Spring fire season has arrived in the lower and middle elevations – be safe with campfires.
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.
Emergency Situations & Safety
If you get lost or injured while out hiking, keep calm aned stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC Ray Brook Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0234.
Black flies are present in the lower elevations, signaling the start of “bug season” in the Adirondacks. Plan accordingly and follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Wear long sleeve shirts
- Tuck shirts into pants
- Button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist
- Wear long pants and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks
- Pack a head net to wear when insects are thick
- Use insect repellent with DEET
Bear Resistant Canisters
The use of bear resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1st and November 30th. All food, toiletries, and garbage must be stored in these canisters. The DEC encourages the use of bear resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks.
Seasonal Access Roads
While many seasonal access roads in the Adirondacks are closed for mud season, some have reopened. Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel roads that can be rough – four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.
Opened seasonal access roads are listed down below under Specific Notices.
Rock Climbing Routes
All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs on the Chapel Pond area are closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest and raise their young. Once the nest sites are identified the DEC will reopen routes that won’t interfere with nesting activities.
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
Now through the month of October parking at the Garden Parking Lot costs $10 ($13 Canadian) per day. A town of Keene attendant will be at the lot from 7am until 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Paying the fee is a self-serve process during the week.
The town of Keene’s shuttle between Marcy Field parking lot and the Garden Trailhead will be operating from 7am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There is a $10 ($13 Canadian) round trip fee to use the shuttle.
Private landowners have agreed to allow hiking on the Owls Head Trail during the week. Parking at the trailhead and hiking the trail are prohibited on the weekends.
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 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.
The Blueberry Horse Trail is passable to horses and riders, however, riders should take care near drainages and several stream crossings that will be muddy. The DEC is planning to improve the trail tread of this route in the future.
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.
Dix Mountain Wilderness
The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. The DEC will be changing signs, web pages, and regulations to eliminate the Dix Mountain Wilderness and transition to the High Peaks Wilderness.
Boreas Ponds Tract
The DEC has released Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) Amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness Complex UMP and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP that propose management actions regarding public access and recreation to the Boreas Pond Tract and other adjacent and nearby Forest Preserve lands. The DEC and APA are conducting concurrent public review processes of the Draft UMP Amendments until June 27th.
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.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
Girl Scout Road, a seasonal access road that provides access to St. Germaine Pond, is now open to public motor vehicle use.
Both the Lower and Upper Locks will be open and staffed this weekend and Memorial Day weekend. Paddlers should use caution in the vicinity of Lower Locks due to swift flow of water.
Lake Flower Boat Launch
The boat launch is open, but due to clean up project removing contaminated sediments from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay no parking is available on site. Alternate parking is available for vehicles with boat trailers.
Debar Mountain Wild Forest
Debar Meadows Road (Hatch Brook Gate) provides access to Debar Meadows and Skiff Pond Trails.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Chain Lakes Road South is open to motor vehicle use to the gate above the confluence of the Indian River and the Hudson River.
Moose River Plains
Cedar River Road from the end of the pavement to the Cedar River Flow gate is open to motor vehicle use.
William C. Whitney Wilderness
Lake Lila Road is open to public motor vehicle use. Do not trespass on adjacent private lands.
Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest
Low’s Lower Dam Road, which provides access to Lows Lake, and Otterbrook Road, which provides access to campsites along Horseshoe Lake beyond the Low’s Lower Dam Road, are both open to motor vehicle use.
Independence River Wild Forest
Gates on all seasonal access roads are open to motor vehicle use, including Basket Factory Road, McCarthy Road, and Smith Road.
Docks have been installed at the Stillwater Reservoir Boat Launch.
Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest
Bear Pond Road is open for motor vehicle use.
Croghan Conservation Easement Tract
The Main Haul Road is open for motor vehicle use.
Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tract
Bald Mountain Road is open for motor vehicle use.
Jakes Pond Trail is temporarily closed beyond the bridge crossing the West Branch of the Oswegatchie River due to a logging operation on private property. This trail can be alternatively accessed from the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement.
Cranberry Lake Wild Forest
Lost Pond Trail and Cranberry Lake 50 Connector through the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract has re-opened. The trials had been closed/re-routed this winter to bypass a logging job.
Black River Wild Forest
The Loop Road at North Lake is open for public motor vehicle use to Campsite 18, but is closed beyond due to a washed out culvert.
Mill Brook Road and Wolf Lake Landing Road to Woodhull Lake are both open to motor vehicle use.
Lake George Wild Forest
Gates on Lily Pond Road, Jabe Pond Road, and Dacy Clearing Road are open and public motor vehicles may once again access and use these seasonal access roads.
Taylor Pond Complex/Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area/Terry Mountain State Forest
The gate and road are closed to the southern entryway to the WMA due to the Little Ausable River flooding the access road.
The gate is open on Redd Road and the road is available for public motor vehicle access.
St. Regis Canoe Area
The Little Green Pond/Little Clear Pond Road has been cleared of blowdown and is open for public motor vehicle use. The road provides access to campsites on Little Green Pond and the hand launch on Little Clear Pond.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible.
Sentinel Range Wilderness
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of the Jack Rabbit Trail.
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.