It’s a big weekend for hiking in the Adirondacks! Expect trails to get busy, parking lots to get full, and the DEC is asking that we avoid certain trails at this time. Check out everything you need to know, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather.
Memorial Day Weekend
It’s a holiday weekend, so trails are expected to be quite busy. Please plan ahead for limited parking and only park in designated areas.
Avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highway roads for safety reasons. Be aware of pedestrians crossing the roads. And don’t block driveways, roadways, or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.
Although we are inching our way towards summer, we’re still looking at temperature variances in the Adirondacks. Temperatures at the trailhead will be significantly warmer than at the summit. Prepare accordingly by packing extra noncotton, wind-protectant layers and be sure to use them once you feel exposed or colder to help prevent hypothermia.
- Crown Point: Fri 82° and mostly sunny, Sat 76° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 64° and mostly cloudy, Mon 79° and cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 76° and mostly cloudy, Sat 78° and scattered showers, Sun 62° and cloudy rain, Mon 78° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 87° and mostly sunny, Sat 86° and scattered showers, Sun 68° and cloudy, Mon 81° and scattered thunderstorms
- Lake Placid: Fri 76° and mostly cloudy, Sat 71° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 66° and mostly cloudy, Mon 76° and showers
- Malone: Fri 73° and cloudy, Sat 68° and showers, Sun 73° and mostly cloudy, Mon 75° and thunderstorm
- North Creek: Fri 77° and partly cloudy, Sat 77° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 60° and scattered showers, 77° and cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 76° and mostly cloudy, Sat 73° and showers, Sun 69° and partly cloudy, Mon 76° and showers
- Speculator: Fri 76° and partly cloudy, Sat 78° and scattered showers, Sun 61° and scattered showers, Mon 76° and cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 84° and partly cloudy, Sat 57° and rain, Sun 66° and thunderstorms, Mon 77° and showers
- Tupper Lake: Fri 75° and mostly cloudy, Sat 75° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 69° and partly cloudy, Mon 76° and scattered showers
Muddy Trail Advisory & Trails to Avoid
The DEC is asking hikers to avoid trails above 2,500 feet during the Muddy Trail Advisory, in effect now, to help avoid damaging sensitive high elevation vegetation. In particular, please avoid high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, High Peaks, McKenzie Mountain, and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas in the northern Adirondacks.
Saturated, thin soils and steep grades combined with hikers trying to get traction leads to increased impacts to the trail corridors. Snow and ice “monorails” are difficult to hike on, which results in users widening the trails.
The DEC is recommending hikers check out one of these two trails this weekend:
The Crows Trail in Hurricane Mountain Wilderness consists of moderate climbs with a few steep sections and a number of great scenic views from ledges along the way.
The Nun-da-ga-o Ridge Trail in the Soda Range connects Big Crow Mountain and Weston Mountain. Hikers can travel along a 6-mile loop and enjoy a number of ledges along the ridge with stunning views.
Both of these trails are located in Keene, and you can make use of the Hurricane Road Trailhead Parking Area and the Crow’s Clearing Trailhead Parking Area.
Ice and snow are still present on the high elevation trails above 3,000 feet, especially in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other areas with little exposure to the sun and wind. Carry crampons and use when warranted.
You may find patches of snow and ice in addition to mud on moderate elevations (2,500 to 3,000 feet).
Middle and lower elevation trails (below 2,500 feet) are likely to be wet and muddy in places, especially in low spots, drainages, and sections of trail by water.
Stream Crossings & Water Levels
Due to high, swift waters, crossing may be dangerous or impossible, especially in the afternoon when snowmelt 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 have strong flows. Boaters and paddlers should use caution and be aware of obstacles and debris on or just below the surface.
Also, the water is still very cold right now. 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 just a short time in the water. Anglers fishing from shore or wading should also wear a PFD.
Seasonal Access Roads
Some seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. They’ll reopen when they are dried and hardened and necessary maintenance has been completed.
Bear Resistant Canisters
The use of bear resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks until November 30th but they’re highly recommended elsewhere. All food, toiletries, and garbage must be stored in these canisters.
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.
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
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. They’ll be reopened when the DEC has identified routes that won’t interfere with the nesting activities.
All rock climbing routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs in the Chapel Pond are open; Lower Washbowl Cliffs remain closed.
Rock climbers are urged to be cautious and observant while climbing in other locations. Please report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior you see to the DEC Wildlife Office at 518.897.1291 or info.R5@dec.ny.gov.
The DEC appreciates the continued cooperation of the climbing community.
High Peaks Wilderness
Some roads have opened up since last week: Corey’s Road is now open to public motor vehicle use, along with South Meadow Lane; the Clear Pond Gate is also now open and public motor vehicles can access the trailheads on Elk Lake Road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.