You can expect spring conditions for hiking in the Adirondacks this weekend, with mud on the trails, fast-flowing and hard-to-cross streams, and some rain in the forecast. Winter conditions still exist at the higher elevations, so continue to prepare for a variety of weather.
We are still looking at a mix of spring and winter conditions in the Adirondacks, with spring-like weather in the lower elevations and snow and ice in the higher elevations.
Much of the Adirondacks above 1,500 feet received 8 to 20 inches of snow on the last Sunday of April. You can find deep snow and ice above 3,000 feet and even deeper snow above 4,000 feet. Snow and ice are present between 2,000 feet and 2,500 feet, especially in wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other shaded areas.
Below 2,000 feet elevation most or all of the snow has melted due to warmer weather, strong winds, and rain. But you might still find snow in some wooded areas, on north facing slopes, ravines, and other shaded areas betweeen 1,500 feet and 2,000 feet.
This weekend, we’re looking at rain on Friday and Sunday for much of the Adirondacks, but Saturday is looking pretty nice. Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 76° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 72° and partly cloudy, Sun 68° and rain
- Indian Lake: Fri 71° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 65° and partly cloudy, Sun 64° and rain
- Lake George: Fri 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 75° and partly cloudy, Sun 71° and scattered showers
- Lake Placid: Fri 68° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 63° and partly cloudy, Sun 64° and showers
- Malone: Fri 68° and thunderstorms, Sat 64° and partly cloudy, Sun 61° and scattered showers
- North Creek: Fri 72° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 66° and partly cloudy, Sun 64° and rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 69° and thunderstorm, Sat 64° and mostly sunny, Sun 66° and scattered showers
- Speculator: Fri 71° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 64° and partly cloudy, Sun 63° and rain
- Ticonderoga: Fri 75° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 72° and partly cloudy, Sun 67° and rain
- Tupper Lake: Fri 69° and thunderstorm, Sat 64° and partly cloudy, Sun 65° and scattered showers
Ice is still present on all trails in the middle and higher elevations. Carry crampons on all hikes and prepare to encounter a mixture of ice and mud at the lower elevations. There have been many accidents due to ice on trails and mountain slopes, so please heed ice warnings and ensure your own safety.
Warming temperatures at lower elevations are yielding to some muddy trails. Remember to walk through the mud and not around. This will help to avoid widening the trail and trampling on vulnerable trailside vegetation. Wear waterproof hiking boots and gaiters to ensure comfort and safety as you make your way through the mud.
Recent winds and heavy wet snow have knocked down trees, limbs, and branches. Expect to encounter blowdown on many trails, particularly the lesser-used, secondary trails.
A Word on Mud
It’s spring and the weather is finally warming up after a long winter. Hikers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts are understandably eager to get out on the trails. Please remember that spring is mud season, and this presents some unique challenges on the trail.
Trails are muddy, the weather is unpredictable (you could see rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow, and thunderstorms all on the same day), waters are fast-moving, and seasonal access roads are closed.
Be safe and respectful of trails while hiking during mud season, and make sure to dress accordingly and have the proper footwear.
Statewide Burn Ban
There is currently a statewide burn ban in effect until May 14th. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures get warmer and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.
Biking on Trails
All-terrain bikers are asked to avoid all trails at this time until they have hardened, dried, and undergone all maintenance.
Water Crossings & Streams
Water levels are high and streams may be impassable. Prepare to take alternate routes or turn back if you need to. Fast moving streams should be avoided. Keep dogs on leashes near fast-moving water.
Lakes & Ponds
Ice is completely gone on the lower elevation and middle elevation lakes and ponds, just in time for the May opening of fishing season for many warm water species. High elevation ponds are still covered in ice, and the ice is not safe.
Fishermen & Paddlers
Fishermen should use a floatation device when wading in waterways as well as carry a walking stick for added balance.
Paddlers should always wear a personal flotation device. The water temperatures are very cold right now. A person in the water can quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water. Use caution when entering and exiting the canoe or kayak.
Expect high water levels and swift currents. Research your trip ahead of time and heed any high water warnings or advisories for specific paddling routes. Keep an eye out for trees, branches, rocks, and debris both above the surface and underwater.
Seasonal Access Roads
All gates on seasonal access roads are closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads will remain closed until they have dried and hardened, and all needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
Rock Climbing Routes
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 sites are identified the DEC will reopen routes that won’t interfere with the nesting activities.
Rock climbers are urged to be cautious and observant while climbing in other locations and report any aggressive or agitated peregrine falcon behavior to the DEC Wildlife Office at 518.897.1291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DEC appreciates the continued cooperation of the climbing community for 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.
High Peaks Wilderness
The trails between Loj Trailhead and Marcy Dam are muddy and there is ice beyond Marcy Dam. You’ll find soft snow beyond Indian Falls on the VanHoevenberg Trail, McIntyre Falls on the Algonquin Trail, and Avalanche Pass. There is 40 inches of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin.
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.
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 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.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
Paddlers and boaters should use caution in the vicinity of Lower Locks as the Saranac River is flowing high and swift over the dam at the locks. Middle Saranac Lake is free of ice.
The Lake Flower Boat Launch is open but due to a clean-up project removing contaminated sediments from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay, no parking is available on site. The DEC is working on obtaining alternate parking.
The Northville Boat Launch and Parking Area on State Route 30 is currently open for use.
Mount Tom State Forest
The gates on Notch Lane are currently open.
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.
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.
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.
A small section of the Whiteface Mountain Trail just above the junction with the Whiteface Highway (Wilmington Turn) has been rerouted to avoid the hazard created by variable ice conditions and the “rock cut” of the highway.
Sentinel Range Wilderness
Trails are covered with deep snow in this area. Snowshoes or skis should be used on all trails.
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of the Jack Rabbit Trail.
Boreas Ponds Tract
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.