Now that the heat wave has passed, we can start looking forward to spending time outdoors this Labor Day Weekend. Here in the Adirondacks, trails and parking areas in the High Peaks are expected to be crowded, so prepare accordingly or try an alternative hike in the region. Check out the latest weather and trail conditions below, and get ready for your weekend hike!
- Crown Point: Fri 76° and partly cloudy, Sat 80° and partly cloudy, Sun 85° and partly cloudy, Mon 88° and PM thunderstorms
- Indian Lake: Fri 71° and partly cloudy, Sat 75° and AM showers, Sun 80° and AM clouds/PM sun, Mon 82° and AM clouds/PM sun
- Lake George: Fri 73° and mostly cloudy, Sat 78° and partly cloudy, Sun 83° and cloudy, Mon 87° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 71° and partly cloudy, Sat 76° and partly cloudy, Sun 80° and PM thunderstorms, Mon 81° and scattered thunderstorms
- Malone: Fri 76° and partly cloudy, Sat 82° and partly cloudy, Sun 83° and scattered thunderstorms, Mon 83° and scattered thunderstorms
- North Creek: Fri 72° and mostly cloudy, Sat 77° and cloudy, Sun 83° and PM thunderstorms, Mon 85° and PM thunderstorms
- Saranac Lake: Fri 73° and partly cloudy, Sat 77° and partly cloudy, Sun 82° and PM thunderstorms, Mon 81° and scattered thunderstorms
- Speculator: Fri 69° and mostly cloudy, Sat 74° and cloudy, Sun 79° and cloudy, Mon 82° and PM thunderstorms
- Ticonderoga: Fri 76° and partly cloudy, Sat 80° and partly cloudy, Sun 84° and mostly cloudy, Mon 88° and PM thunderstorms
Throughout much of the Adirondacks, you can expect partly cloudy skies and a chance of thunderstorms in some spots this weekend. Remember to avoid summits, water surfaces, and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you’re aware of a storm approaching, move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter.
Try These Alternative Hikes
The High Peaks Region can get quite crowded this time of year, especially during holiday weekends. To maintain the wilderness experience for everyone, and to protect against overuse of trails and the damaging of trailside vegetation, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation recommends these alternative hikes:
- Rocky Peak Ridge
- Whiteface Mountain
- Owl Head Lookout
- Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain
- Catamount Mountain
- The Crows
- Bear Den Mountain
- Silver Lake Mountain
- Whiteface Landing
- Copperas & Owen Ponds
- Cobble Lookout
- Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails
Preparing for Long Hikes
If you estimate your hike to be longer than two hours, these are the essentials you should be carrying with you to be prepared: a supporting hiking pack or backpack; hiking boots; plenty of water (1+ liter for every two hours you’re hiking); water filtration system, filtration straw, or cleansing tablets; high calorie food and snacks; toilet paper; map of planned route; extra baggies for trash; first aid kit, headlamp (even if you plan to be back by dark); emergency kit for unexpected overnight stays; extra clothing layer for summits and later evening hikes; and the emergency dispatch number (518.891.0235).
You’ll notice that these items listed here are not heavy and don’t take up much space. It is important to have all of them with you in the backcountry.
Also, reusable water bottles help to minimize waste and weight during a backpacking or hiking trip. Carry a water filtration system with you to fill up at water sources along your trip.
Be Considerate of Others
Many mountain biking networks in the Adirondacks share trails with hikers and horseback riders.
Remember to always share the trail. Follow trail etiquette by yielding to slower users and uphill cyclists and letting them know when you are passing. Keep noise to a minimum to not disturb others or startle horses. Carry out all trash when you go. Avoid biking on wet, muddy trails to avoid erosive impact to the trail system.
The fire danger level remains low this week. Continue to be safe with campfires. DEC forest rangers have responded to a number of fires started by campfires that were not properly extinguished.
The warm, dry weather has reduced the amount of berries and other natural foods available to bears. The DEC has received reports of nuisance bears throughout the Adirondacks, including one with an ear tag in the Eastern Adirondacks.
If you are approached by a bear:
- Don’t throw your pack at them – if they’re rewarded with food they continue this behavior
- Raise your arms over your head to look bigger and yell loudly at the bear as you slowly back away (don’t run away)
- If available, bang rocks or metal objects together for noise
- Use bear spray if all else fails
The use of bear resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness until November 30th, and is encouraged throughout the Adirondacks.
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
Bathroom Breaks Along the Trail
Pack earth-friendly toilet paper and bring a small shovel with you to dig a cathole (a stick works as well). Deposit and bury solid human waste and toilet paper in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camps, and trails.
Also bring a Ziploc bag to carry out all toilet paper when a cathole is not used. Please don’t leave toilet paper on the ground.
And remember hand sanitizer!
Repackage Food & Carry In, Carry Out
Repackage your food before you head out to ensure reduced pack weight, total trash carry out, portioned meals, and faster meal prep. This will also minimize the chances of dropping wrappers or burning cardboard.
Use plastic or silicone reusable baggies, and repackage your foods and snacks out of their wrappers and boxes prior to taking your trip. This allows you to ditch most of your waste at home where it can be easily thrown out or recycled.
Carry in what you carry out. This includes wrappers, trash, and even food scraps. Food scraps take a long time to decompose and can draw wildlife near populated trail areas and cause negative wildlife encounters. Bring an extra baggie to carry these items out with you.
Protect Alpine Vegetation
Remember to watch where you’re walking when hiking, particularly when you’ve reached a summit and are enjoying the accomplishment of your hard work. The High Peaks are home to rare and endangered alpine vegetation that thrive and live on these rocky summits, and it’s up to you to help protect it.
Keep a clean trail and summit so the vegetation can grow freely. Stay on the trail and on rocks to avoid trampling and damaging the vegetation. Carry a rock to the summit to help summit stewards build trail cairns and rock screes that help protect the vegetation.
Although other areas outside the Adirondacks have been getting a lot of rain, this region actually hasn’t seen that much lately. Therefore, water levels in most streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds are very low.
Boaters and paddlers should use caution. Rocks, logs, and other obstacles normally covered in deeper water might be present just below the surface. Many shallow sections of rivers can’t be traversed by canoes or kayaks.
Rain this week might bring levels up in some streams and rivers depending on the location, duration, and density of rainfall in thunderstorms.
Use caution around steep, shallow, rocky streams and rivers. These are considered “flashy,” meaning water levels can rise quickly after a rainfall. Water levels will also drop quickly after the rains have stopped.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) of any class are not allowed on trails or roadways where public motorized access is prohibited.
Trails are fairly dry, but you may encounter wet and muddy conditions around low spots, along water bodies, and in drainages. Wear water-resistant hiking boots and let them get muddy. Stay in the center of the trail and walk through mud and water.
Wilmington Wild Forest
This weekend is the Wilmington Mountain Bike Festival, so expect a high number of mountain bikers on the Flume and Hardy Road Trail Systems and the Poor Man’s Downhill Trail.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Three bridges have been replaced and public access to the western part of the complex, including the Deer Pond Parking Area, the Fifth Lake MAPPWD route, and the campsites along Cornell and Deer Pond Roads, is once again open. The bridges are now much safer for use by motor vehicles.
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
The waterway access site at Garnet Lake has been gated to prevent the launching of trailered boats. Canoes, kayaks, and small boats can be easily carried over the gate and to the water’s edge for launching.
The gate was installed for several reasons: In the Adirondacks, trailered boats may only be launched at designated boat launches on lakes 1,000 acres or larger. The site on 330-acre Garnet Lake is a designated waterway access (aka hand launch). Use of the lake by larger motorboats has increased in recent years, exceeding the capacity of the small lake. Eliminating the use of boat trailers to access the water decreases the threat of the spread of aquatic invasive species into the lake.
Bog River Complex (Lows Lake)
The DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with the New York Dam Safety Regulations. Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Low 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 portage 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 or by email at information.R6@dec.ny.gov.
High Peaks Wilderness
The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness.
Group size regulations are in effect in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness. Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than eight campers.
The DEC is undertaking a multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism and address public safety in the Adirondacks, focused on the State Route 73 corridor between Exit 30 of the Northway and Lake Placid.
The DEC has piled materials for improving campsites along South Meadow Lane in the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Trailhead Parking Area. Vehicles should park in the nearby pull offs along South Meadow Lane until the work is complete.
The Cedar Point Lean-to has been repaired and relocated by Lean2Rescue volunteers. The lean-to is now located on the southeastern shore of Lake Colden, off the trail about .2 miles from the Opalescent River. Camping is prohibited at the former lean-to site.
A primitive campsite with two tent pads has been developed in the Slide Brook Area south of Dix Mountain by volunteers from the NOLS Northeast Adirondack Service Expedition. The site is west of the trail just before the crossing of slide brook.
The Kagel lean-to has been relocated and reroofed by the Adirondack 46er Volunteer Trail crew. The lean-to is located a few hundred feet away from its previous location on a sustainable site away from the brook.
Camping is prohibited at the former location of the Boquet lean-to north of Dix Mountain and the open area adjacent to the trail.
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 developing a temporary fix for the 2018 season and will fully repair the roof during the offseason.
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.
Group size limits are now in effect on the lands in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness. Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than eight campers.
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.