If you’re planning on hiking in the Adirondacks over Halloween weekend you should know it’s getting chilly out there! But, if you wear the appropriate clothing and bring the right gear you can have a safe and enjoyable time. Read on to find out what you need to know for this weekend.
Take a Look at the Weather
- Crown Point: Fri 45° and mostly sunny, Sat 38° and rain, Sun 43° and scattered showers
- Indian Lake: Fri 41° and mostly sunny, Sat 34° and snow with brief sleet, Sun 37° and showers
- Lake George: Fri 49° and mostly sunny, Sat 42° and rain, Sun 46° and scattered showers
- Lake Placid: Fri 55° and sunny, Sat 47° and rain, Sun 31° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 39° and sunny, Sat 39° and rain, Sun 36° and showers
- North Creek: Fri 42° and mostly sunny, Sat 34° and rain and snow, Sun 38° and scattered showers
- Saranac Lake: Fri 38° and sunny, Sat 35° and rain, Sun 37° and showers
- Speculator: Fri 41° and mostly sunny, Sat 34° and snow with brief sleet, Sun 37° and showers
- Ticonderoga: Fri 45° and mostly sunny, Sat 38° and rain, Sun 42° and scattered showers
Late fall into early winter brings vastly changing weather conditions in the mountains. You can expect warmer temperatures and possible rain at the trailheads, and then temperatures will quickly turn to freezing as you gain elevation; there might also be hail or snow as you go higher.
Plan for freezing wind chills and heavier winds on exposed areas and summits. Bring warm, wind protectant layers to help prevent hypothermia.
Expect Varying Trail Conditions & Longer Hike Times
Trails are very muddy in the lower elevations. Always walk through the mud and not around it to protect sensitive trailside vegetation. Fallen wet leaves have made the trails very slippery. Use caution on steeper slopes and exposed areas.
Higher elevations in the High Peaks and exposed summits are experiencing early winter snow and ice. Bring traction devices on all high peaks.
With the varying trail conditions, leave yourself extra time to complete hikes. Take care and caution on slippery rocks and trails, and bring a head lamp.
Past Peak Foliage
Foliage is mostly past-peak in the Adirondacks, although you should still be able to see some decent color in some areas, like Crown Point and Schroon Lake.
Heads Up! It’s Hunting Season
All 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.
A 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.
Be Mindful of 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 Bears & Bear Resistant Canisters
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. These canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks wilderness through November 30th, but are encouraged throughout Adirondack Park.
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.
No Mountain Biking on Select Trails
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) of any class are not allowed on trails or roadways where public motorized access is prohibited.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain the minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks, and to ensure an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.
What to Know About Fire Danger
Fire danger is low, but continue to be safe with campfires. DEC forest rangers have responded to several wildland fires started by unattended or improperly extinguished campfires.
Specific Notices to Review Before Heading Out
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
Gulf Brook Road, which is the main access road to the Boreas Ponds Tract, 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 be open to public motor vehicle access each weekend from 5pm Friday to sundown on Sunday.
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.
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 near 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 near 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.