Who’s ready for some fall hiking this weekend? Saturday is the first day of the autumn season, and many hikers will be itching to get out on the summits. Brush up on important hiking etiquette during leaf peeping season, see where the colors are starting to change, and get all the other information you need to know before heading out.
Weather Forecast & Shorter Days
- Crown Point: Fri 72° and cloudy, Sat 64° and partly cloudy, Sun 68° and sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 68° and cloudy, Sat 57° and partly cloudy, Sun 63° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 74° and scattered showers, Sat 68° and partly cloudy, Sun 73° and sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 78° and partly cloudy, Sat 77° and partly cloudy, Sun 80° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 76° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 57° and partly cloudy, Sun 59° and mostly sunny
- North Creek: Fri 68° and cloudy, Sat 59° and mostly cloudy, Sun 64° and sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 72° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 57° and partly cloudy, Sun 61° and mostly sunny
- Speculator: Fri 68° and cloudy, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 63° and sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 71° and cloudy, Sat 63° and partly cloudy, Sun 67° and sunny
Although the weather looks fairly good for day hikes temperatures in the Adirondacks are reaching near freezing at night.
Remember to expect shorter days. Plan your hike accordingly to ensure you have plenty of daylight for your trip. Pack a headlamp and extra batteries with you on all hikes.
Also plan for much cooler temperatures at the summits and other exposed areas. Protect yourself from hypothermia by packing extra non-cotton, warm, and wind-protectant layers.
Fall Foliage Report
The leaves are starting to change! Here’s what’s currently being reported:
- 10 to 15% color change in Lake Placid
- 10 to 20% color change in Crown Point
- 25% color change in Old Forge
- 35 to 40% color change in Tupper Lake
- 40% color change in Saranac Lake
With all the gorgeous fall foliage in our area you can expect busy trails and summits as the leaves start changing colors. Plan to arrive early for your hike to get a designated parking spot. Be aware of slower vehicles entering and exiting parking areas, as well as people crossing roads or exiting vehicles.
Leaf Peeping Etiquette
If you’re driving on busy roads, don’t slow down to look at the leaves. This is unsafe for drivers behind you, as well as around congested parking areas. Find a safe place to pull over to admire the leaves and get pictures.
Park only in designated parking spots. Don’t park alongside busy roadways.
Share the views! As mentioned before, summits and trails will be busier. If the outlook is smaller, be sure to allow space for everyone to experience the view.
Hike in a single file line, especially when approaching other hikers. Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate. Allow faster hikers to pass. When approaching other hikers from behind, politely let them know of your presence and desire to pass.
Be sure you are prepared for the hike you’re going on! Do research ahead of time. This is very important, especially if you’re hiking with children, dogs, or others who might not be serious hikers. Make sure to choose a safe and enjoyable hike for everyone in your group.
With the weather getting colder it’s more important than ever to keep emergency essentials in your pack. A few things to include are: a pocket knife, duct tape to patch ripped jackets or broken poles, a headlamp for unexpected trips out in the dark or overnight stays, a space blanket, an emergency whistle, a first aid kid, fire making tools, and extra layers and socks.
Trails are mainly dry but may be muddy in some locations, especially in low spots, along water bodies, and in drainages. Avoid damaging hiking trails, trailside vegetation, and habitats. Continue to wear water-resistant hiking boots and let them get muddy. Stay in the center of the trail and walk through mud and water.
Fire danger has gone from low last week to moderate this week. DEC forest rangers have responded to several wildland fires started by unattended or improperly extinguished campfires.
Stream Crossings & Water Levels
Use caution around steep, shallow, rocky streams and rivers, These are considered “flashy,” meaning that water levels can rise quickly after heavy rainfall. Water levels will also drop quickly after the rains have stopped.
Water levels in most streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds are low to very low. Boaters and paddlers should be alert for objects on or below the surface that are typically covered by deeper water. Many shallow sections of rivers cannot be traversed by canoes or kayaks.
Nuisance bear activity has significantly receded in the Eastern High Peaks. Hikers and campers should still take steps to avoid negative encounters with bears.
With fall here, bugs are not as much of a problem as they have been, but you may still encounter mosquitoes, stable flies, and no-see-ums (biting midges). 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
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks, as well as to ensure an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) of any class are not allowed on trails or roadways where public motorized access is prohibited.
Hike Outside the High Peaks
To maintain the wilderness experience for everyone, and to protect against overuse of trails and the damaging of trailside vegetation, please consider hiking outside the High Peaks.
Try these equally great hikes without the crowds instead:
- 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
High Peaks Wilderness
Parking is prohibited on the shoulders of both lanes of State Route 73 in the vicinity of Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead and the Ausable Club Road (south) starting Friday, September 21st. The parking prohibition supports the DEC’s multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism and address public safety in the Adirondacks.
Looking ahead to Columbus Day Weekend, trailhead parking lots and the shoulders of State Route 73 in the vicinity of the Cascade Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain Trailheads will be closed to public parking in the late afternoon on Thursday, October 4th through Columbus Day.
Hikers will be directed to the Cross Country Parking Lot at ORDA’s Olympic Sports Complex beginning Friday morning and throughout the holiday weekend. From the parking lot, visitors can take the Cascade Mountain Trailhead, hike the trail up Mt. Van Hoevenberg, or enjoy the amenities at the Olympic Sports Complex.
Gulf Brook Road is closed during the week while DEC completes ditching and repair work on the portion of the road between Fly Pond Gate and the Four Corners. The road will be open to public motor vehicle access each weekend from 5pm Friday through sundown on Sunday.
The lands of the Dix Mountain Wilderness are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. The DEC will be changing signs, webpages, and regulations to eliminate the Dix Mountain Wilderness and transition to 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.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
A trail reroute has been constructed around the flooded area on the North Trail to Giant Mountain just past the lean-to.
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.