The nice weather and upcoming holiday are going to bring a lot of hikers out to the Adirondacks this weekend! We are looking at very high temperatures, high bear activity, and much more you need to know about before heading out for your Adirondack adventure. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!
Heat Wave & Heat Exhaustion
This weekend is forecasted to bring temperatures in the high 80s and mid-90s. Bring at least two liters of water on every trip; bring more depending on the length of your hike. Plan out water sources along your trip where you can refill your containers using a water filter. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Hydrating properly will allow for a more enjoyable experience, and will help you to avoid overheating or experincing heat sickness on your adventure. Plan to start your hikes early in the morning to help beat the heat of the late afternoon. Wear UV protectant clothing, sunglasses, Chapstick, and sunscreen.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If you experience any symptoms, take a rest by finding a shady area, drinking plenty of water, and taking measures to cool yourself down. If there’s a stream nearby splash your face, neck, and wrists with cool water. Don’t try to hike further until all symptoms have faded. If you try to exert yourself too soon, the symptoms will only increase your chance of a heat stroke.
Signs of heat exhaustion:
- Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
The temperatures we’ll be experiencing over the weekend can result in sudden and severe thunder and lightning storms in the high elevations during the afternoon hours. Keep an eye on the sky and listen for signs of thunder, especially in the later afternoon times.
If you find yourself on a summit with a storm approaching, quickly get back below tree line to an area where the forest trees are evenly spread. If you’re in a group, spread out while descending.
Don’t sit under an isolated tree or near tree bases, overhanging rocks, or near streams of water. Continue to the lowest ground possible or if in a safer place, sit on your backpack with your feet together to minimize your contact with the ground.
Remember, if you start your hike in the morning you might finish up before these afternoon storms are likely to happen.
Here’s the official forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 86° and mostly sunny, Sat 94° and partly cloudy, Sun 75° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 81° and sunny, Sat 88° and partly cloudy, Sun 91° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 87° and partly cloudy, Sat 93° and partly cloudy, Sun 95° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 80° and mostly sunny, Sat 86° and partly cloudy, Sun 91° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 81° and mostly sunny, Sat 88° and partly cloudy, Sun 92° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 82° and mostly sunny, Sat 89° and partly cloudy, Sun 91° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 81° and mostly sunny, Sat 87° and partly cloudy, Sun 92° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 81° and sunny, Sat 87° and partly cloudy, Sun 91° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 84° and mostly sunny, Sat 93° and partly cloudy, Sun 95° and partly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 81° and mostly sunny, Sat 87° and partly cloudy, Sun 92° and partly cloudy
Please note: If you’re extending your weekend into Monday and Tuesday, there are thunderstorms currently forecasted for those two days.
Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger at the mountain summits.
Group Size Limits
The High Peaks Wilderness regulations limit day use group size to 15 people, and overnight use group size to eight. Group size limits exist to better protect the trails from impact and maintain a certain level of wilderness experience.
Holiday Weekend & Trail Etiquette
Prepare for busy trailheads and parking areas this weekend. Expect many people to be out hiking.
It’s very important to only park in designated spots, close to other cars to maximize space. Don’t park along roadsides and adhere to no parking signs.
Be cautious of pedestrians crossing to trailheads from parking areas. If parking areas are full, prepare to go somewhere else – there are plenty of amazing trails in the Adirondacks to explore!
Please use parking area privies or outhouses along trails. If you need to go along the trail, find a spot away from trails and water sources, dig a cathole at least six to eight inches deep and bury all waste.
Be mindful of the abilities of others using the trails and pass respectfully. Keep noise levels to a minimum so all users can enjoy the wilderness.
Bring Extra Baggies
The DEC is asking hikers and campers to bring extra baggies with you to carry out all trash, including food scraps. Things like banana peels, orange peels, and apple cores that are tossed in the woods are often found by wildlife and can adversely affect their eating and survival patterns.
Tossing your scraps also attracts larger wildlife like black bears to more populated trail areas which greatly amplifies the potential for human-bear conflict. Litter and food scraps can also negatively impact the wilderness aesthetic along a beautifully forested trail.
Please take the simple step of bagging up your food scraps to help keep our trails beautiful and wild, protect wildlife, and reduce wildlife conflict. Carry out what you carry in!
A nuisance bear with an ear tag has been active in the Eastern High Peaks recently. A bear is approaching hikers and campers in an attempt to obtain food. Bear canisters are currently required in the High Peaks Wilderness and are strongly recommended throughout the rest of the park. Make sure all of your food and waste will fit securely within the bear canister.
When camping, cook your food earlier in the evening before dusk and cook away from your tent site or lean-to by at least 100 feet. Never leave your food unattended. Even spitting out toothpaste near your site can lead to unwanted bear attention.
Distance yourself from your bear canister overnight by at least 100 feet. Store the canister on level ground in an area where it will not be obviously visible to a passing bear. Hanging canisters is not recommended.
Properly dispose of your cooking water and all grey water in the backcountry to help reduce wildlife encounters and negative impacts (see below section).
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace. The third principle is to Dispose of Waste Properly.
Watch Out for Cyclists
Cyclists are out and about in the Adirondacks, so please keep an eye out for them as you’re making your way to the trailhead. Adirondack roadways are shared by all.
Parking along the side of the road removes access to safe shoulders for cyclists who are sharing the roadways. Only park in designated parking areas along roadsides and at trailheads.
Cyclists are currently training for the annual Lake Placid Ironman in late July, and they’re utilizing Route 86 between Jay and Lake Placid, Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene, and Route 9N between Keene and Jay as part of the training course. Please use caution and drive slowly, particularly through the Cascade Lakes and Wilmington Notch areas where the road becomes very narrow and there is little to no shoulder.
Trails in the high elevations and areas of trails in low spots, along water bodies, and in drainages can still have mud and water.
Avoid damaging hiking trails and sensitive trailside vegetation and habitats by wearing water-resistant boots and letting them get dirty, and by staying in the center of the trail and walking through mud and water.
Boats, Paddlers & Anglers
The recent rains have raised water levels up to the average range for this time of year on most waters.
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. Others have reopened.
Fire danger is still low. Continue to be safe with campfires.
Bugs are out and about in the Adirondacks, including black flies, mosquitoes, and no-see-ums (biting midges) – the black flies are particularly bad right now. 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
High Peaks Wilderness/Vanderwhacker Wild Forest (Boreas Ponds)
Gulf Brook Road is closed on weekdays until the end of July. The road will be open on weekends from 5pm Friday through sundown on Sunday. Until the repairs are complete, only four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, and other clearance vehicles should use this road. Drivers should use caution, drive slowly, and watch out for oncoming vehicles.
The lands of 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.
The Bradley Pond lean-to has a 3-foot by 6-foot hole in the roof. The lean-to can still be used, but should be avoided if it’s raining. The DEC is working on a temporary fix for the 2018 season, and will fully repair the roof during the off season.
Bog River Complex (Lows Lake)
The DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations. Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp.
Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through the summer. Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Lows Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421.
Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated porage around Lows Upper Dam. From Hitchins Pond, travel northwest past the old homesite; stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) at all times as you make your way through the work area. Continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact Henry Dedrick, Supervising Forester at the DEC’s Potsdam sub-office at 315.274.3342.
Shaker Mountain Wild Forest
The South Trail up Kane Mountain off Schoolhouse Road is closed. The trail crosses private lands, and the landowner has revoked permission for the public to cross. Hikers now need to use the formal Kane Mountain Trailhead off Green Lakes Road.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Access to the western portion of the complex, including the Deer Pond Parking Area, the fifth Lake MAPPWD route, and the campsites along Cornell and Deer Pond Roads, will be closed to public use and motor vehicle access, starting at sunset Sunday, July 22nd.
The closure will remain in effect until the end of August. The DEC is replacing three motor vehicle bridges, one each on Woody’s Road, Cornell Road, and Deer Pond Road, to facilitate safe passage along these corridors for the future.
The trail to Little Porter Mountain from the Garden Trailhead is closed. The portion of this trail crossing private land has been closed to the public by the landowner. Trespassing on these lands is now prohibited. The summit of Little Porter Mountain can still be accessed from the Marcy Field Trailhead or the Cascade Mountain Trailhead.
Now through 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.
Cold Brook Trail is not a designated DEC trail and is not maintained.
Blueberry Horse Trail is passable to horses and riders, however, riders should use caution near drainages and several stream crossings that will be muddy. The DEC is planning to improve the trailhead of this route in the future.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions, crossing the brook is still possible.
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; don’t follow the paths created by others.
The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
All rock climbing routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs in the Chapel Pond are open. All rock climbing routes on the Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed.
A trail reroute has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
Jay Mountain Wilderness
Blowdown has been cleared 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’s too difficult for your party to safely cross.
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of the Jack Rabbit Trail.