As fall begins to ease into winter we’re seeing cooler conditions in the Adirondacks, especially at the summits. Get the details on what to expect on the trails, and see where you’ll want to head if you want to catch the end of the fall foliage.
- Crown Point: Fri 62° and mostly sunny, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 41° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 55° and sunny, Sat 48° and showers, Sun 52° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 64° and mostly sunny, Sat 60° and partly cloudy, Sun 44° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 55° and sunny, Sat 47° and rain, Sun 31° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 58° and sunny, Sat 48° and showers, Sun 33° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 56° and mostly sunny, Sat 50° and partly cloudy, Sun 34° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 56° and sunny, Sat 48° and rain, Sun 32° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 54° and mostly sunny, Sat 47° and scattered showers, Sun 32° and mostly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 60° and sunny, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 41° and partly cloudy
Temperatures are getting cooler, the days are shorter, and the sun is setting earlier. Carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries and dress in layers of non-cotton, wicking fabric and pack extra clothing. If you’re going to a summit you should also pack a winter hat, gloves, and a traction device.
Gear List for Late Fall & Early Winter
Headlamp: It can take longer to complete hikes this time of year with the varying trail conditions. A head lamp ensures your safety if you end up out there after dark.
Traction devices: Higher elevations in the High Peaks might be covered by snow and ice.
Waterproof hiking boots: Trails are a mix of mud, ice, and snow. Protect your feet from the elements with proper hiking boots. This will also help as a prevention against hypothermia. Footwear with no traction, like running shoes, are unsafe on wet, slippery trails.
Hat, gloves, wool socks, and wind protectant layers: Summits and exposed areas will be colder and windy. Protect yourself from hypothermia by wearing and packing the proper layers.
Plenty of water: You might not feel as thirsty with the colder temperatures, but it’s important to stay hydrated.
Map of route: Trails are covered in leaves, ice, or snow, which makes them harder to follow. Knowing your route will help you stay on track. Always be on the lookout for trail markers and junctions so you don’t miss your turn or stray off the trail.
Emergency essentials kit: Varying weather and trail conditions create a lot more opportunity for injuries or going off course. Carrying an emergency kit will prepare you to handle unexpected situations. Things to include here are a pocket knife, duct tape to patch ripped jeans or broken poles, a space blanket, an emergency whistle, a first aid kit, fire making tools, and extra snacks.
Varying Trail Conditions
Expect to encounter a variety of trail conditions. Trails are very muddy in the lower elevations. Fallen wet leaves have made many trails very slippery. Higher elevations in the High Peaks and exposed summits are experiencing early winter snow and ice.
Always walk through the mud to avoid damage and erosion to trailside vegetation. Use caution on steeper slopes and exposed areas that might be slippery.
Blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches) may still be present on some trails.
Because of the varying trail conditions your hike may take longer than planned. Leave yourself extra time and take care around sipper rocks and trails.
Dogs on Leashes
The DEC is reminding hikers to respect other trail users by keeping your dog on a leash. Your dog very well may be well behaved and friendly; other dogs might not be. Also, hikers out there may have children who are scared of dogs or might be frightened of dogs themselves. Please be sensitive and respectful to this by always keeping your dog on a leash.
Also, hunting season is in full swing, and it’s simply safer to keep your dog on a leash during this time.
Many leaves are past peak and may have fallen due to recent heavy winds and rain. However, you can still see some great color in some areas:
- 80 to 100% color change in Crown Point
- 95% color change in Malone
- 80% color change in Schroon Lake
- 80 to 100% color change in Willsboro
Areas in the southern Adirondacks close to Warren County should also have some decent color still.
Lake Placid, Lake Pleasant, Old Forge, Saranac Lake, Ticonderoga, Tupper Lake, and the Whiteface area are all past peak.
Watch for Moose
Motorists need to be keeping an eye out for moose at this time of year. This is the time when they‘re out and about looking for mates and are likely to walk into the roads without paying attention. Moose-collision vehicles have occurred recently. Please take precautions to avoid colliding with a moose.
Nuisance bear activity has lessened, but the DEC is still asking hikers and campers to take steps to avoid negative bear encounters. Continue to store all food, toiletries, and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.
Water Temperatures, Water Levels & Streams Crossings
Water temperatures continue to get colder. Paddlers and boaters should wear a personal flotation device (PDF). People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water. Anglers fishing from shore or wading should also wear a PDF.
Most streams and rivers are at average or are above average water levels.
Streams are still considered to be “flashy” at this time, meaning that the water level can rise and drop quickly.
Some big game, small game, and waterfowl hunting seasons are now open and others will open soon. Bear in mind that you may encounter hunters while hiking or camping; these are fellow outdoor recreationists who have a legal right to participate in these activities.
Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare, but consider wearing bright colors just to be extra safe.
Fire danger is currently low, but continue to be safe with campfires. DEC forest rangers have responded to several wildland fires started by unattended or improperly extinguished campfires.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain the 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.
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
The last segment of the trail to Spruce Mountain Fire Tower in Corinth will be closed from 10/20 to 12/02 for the regular big game season. Access to the tower is prohibited during this time. This part of the trail is on Lyme Timber lands, and is closed each year during this period.
Boreas Ponds/Vanderwhacker Wild Forest
Currently there are no designated tent sites on these lands. Roadside or truck camping is not available at this time.
The public is prohibited from trespassing in and around leased hunting camps.
Gulf Brook Road is closed during the week while the DEC completes ditching and repair work on the portion of the road between Fly Pond Gate and Four Corners. The road will open to public motor vehicle access each weekend from 5pm Friday through sundown on Sunday.
West Canada Lake Wilderness
A broken foot bridge spanning Lamphere Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail was recently replaced by a 35-foot bridge.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Gates have been open on two roads to allow hunters and other motor vehicles access to additional lands and roadside primitive tent sites. Camp Six Road has three roadside primitive tent sites and a parking lot at the end – one mile from the Chain Lakes North Road.
The gate at the Outer Gooley Club on the Chain Lakes Road South is open, providing access to three primitive tent sites and a parking area 1.5 miles beyond the gate. Two additional tent sites are located past the gate at the season parking area – one further north on the Chain Lakes Road South and one at Pine Lake.
High Peaks/Sentinel Range Wilderness
The trails through Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract – to Mt. Marcy via Panther Gorge and to Dix Mountain – will be closed to public use for the duration of the big game hunting season beginning Saturday, October 20th. The trials will reopen for public use on December 3rd.
The town of Keene will continue to staff the Garden Parking Lot from 7am until 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays through the last weekend of October. The cost is $10 ($13 Canadian) per day. Use the self-serve process to pay when the attendant is not present.
The trails through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract – to Mt. Marcy via Panther Gorge and to Dix Mountain – will be closed to public use for the duration of the big game hunting season beginning Saturday, October 20th. The trails will reopen for public use on December 3rd.
The new Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail is now open for public use. The 1.7-mile trial climbs 920 feet from the trailhead in the Olympic Sports Complex to the 2,940-feet summit of the mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness.
Gulf Brook Road is closed during the week while the DEC completes ditching and repair work on the portion of the road between the Fly Pond Gate and the Four Corners. The road will open to public motor vehicle access each weekend from 5pm Friday through sundown on Sunday.
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). The parking prohibition supports the DEC’s multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism and address public safety in the Adirondacks.
Student Conservation Association Adirondack Corps recently replaced ladders, a small bridge, and bog bridging along the Avalanche Pass-Lake Colden Trail along Avalanche Lake.
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 regulations are now in effect on the lands in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness. Group should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than eight campers.
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.
Parking is prohibited on the shoulders of both lanes of State Route 73 in the vicinity of Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead and 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.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) (Ausable Club)
Parking is prohibited along the Ausable Club Road and at the trailhead.
The easement agreement provides for public hiking only on designated trails and roads. Don’t trespass on AMR lands or waters, or participate in any unauthorized activities.
Dogs are prohibited.
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.