The weather is warming up in the Adirondacks but mud season is still here! The DEC is asking hikers to avoid trails above a particular elevation to avoid widening the trails and harming vulnerable trailside vegetation. See what else you’ll need to know for hiking this weekend.
Weather & Warmer Temperatures
As summer approaches, longer and hotter days will become more frequent. Remember to plan for proper hydration on all hikes by bringing at least 1 liter of water with you, or more depending on the length of your hike and the temperature. Plan out water sources along your trip where you can refill your container using a water filter.
Always bring UV protectant clothing, sunglasses, and chapstick with you as well as plenty of sunscreen.
The current forecast indicates scattered thunderstorms in much of the Adirondacks for Friday, but Saturday and Sunday are looking pretty clear:
- Crown Point: Fri 85° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 73° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 75° and partly cloudy, Sun 73° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 87° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 78° and partly cloudy, Sun 80° and sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 77° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 69° and partly cloudy, Sun 72° and sunny
- Malone: Fri 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 70° and partly cloudy, Sun 74° and sunny
- North Creek: Fri 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 75° and partly cloudy, Sun 73° and sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 71° and partly cloudy, Sun 75° and sunny
- Speculator: Fri 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 75° and partly cloudy, Sun 72° and sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 84° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 60° and partly cloudy, Sun 74° and sunny
- Tupper Lake: Fri 79° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 72° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and sunny
Muddy Trail Advisory
The Muddy Trail Advisory from last week is still in effect. Please avoid hiking in the high elevation trails above 2,500 feet at this time, where the vegetation is more sensitive and vulnerable to damage.
Specifically, please avoid high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, High Peaks, McKenzie Mountain, and Sentinal Range Wilderness areas in the northern Adirondacks.
One hike the DEC has suggested that would be ideal during the Muddy Trail Advisory is the Owl Head Lookout in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. The lookout provides great views of Giant Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, the Boquet River Valley, Lake Champlain, and the Green Mountains of Vermont.
The DEC is reminding hikers to keep calm and stay put if you get lost or injured. If you have cell service, call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0235 – you might want to program that number into your cell ahead of time.
Stay warm and dry be separating yourself from the wet ground with a thicker layer such as your pack. Protect yourself from the elements by building a shelter with items around you and in your pack. Use a space blanket for extra warmth.
Trails are currently muddy from the melting ice and snow above 2,500 feet. Trails below 2,500 feet are mostly dry except in low areas, drainages, and along water bodies. Please avoid damaging the trails and sensitive side vegetation by walking through any mud and water and not around it. Wear waterproof hiking boots and expect them to get dirty.
Blowdown (trees, limbs, and branches) is present on portions of many trails and might be heavy in some areas.
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. Store all food, toiletries, and garbage in these canisters.
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
For the Boaters, Paddlers & Anglers
Water levels are within the average range or are below average levels for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should use caution and keep a lookout for obstacles and debris on or just below the surface.
Water temperatures are still cold even though air temperatures are warm. Paddlers and boaters should wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). People immersed in cold waters lose the ability to swim and keep their head above the water after just a short period of time in the water. Anglers fishing from shore or wading in the water should also wear a PFD.
For the Rock Climbers
A number of rock climbing cliffs and routes in the eastern Adirondacks remain closed to climbing to allow peregrine falcons to nest and raise their young, but some have been reopened.
Fire danger has gone from moderate last week to low this week.
Remember that 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.
Seasonal Access Roads
Many seasonal access roads are open, but some remain closed for mud season.
High Peaks Wilderness
The trail to Little Porter Mountain from the Garden Trailhead will be closed on June 1st. The portion of the trail crossing private land has been closed to public use by the landowner. You can access the summit of Little Porter Mountain from the Marcy Field Trailhead or the Cascade Mountain Trailhead.
The Mr. Van Lean-to on the Mr. Van Ski Trail has been repaired and is once again available for use.
Blowdown has been cleared from the Phelps Trail in the Upper Johns Brook Valley.
Corey’s Road is now open to public motor vehicle use.
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.
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.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
Jay Mountain Road is now open for public motor vehicle use.
Jay Mountain Wilderness
Blowdown has been removed from the Jay Mountain Trail.
Sentinel Range Wilderness
Several sections of the Pitchoff Mountain Trail, including the segment to “Balanced Rocks,” are severely eroded. These areas are challenging to navigate. Please use caution and turn back if it is too difficult for you and your party to safely cross.
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.
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.