Cold, crisp air. No biting insects. Fewer people on the trails. The DEC is reminding us of all the great reasons to hike in the winter – get out there and enjoy it! Just brush up on the weather report, trail conditions, and everything else you need to know to stay safe.
Take a Look at the Forecast
- Crown Point: Fri 39° and mostly cloudy, Sat 38° and partly cloudy, Sun 42° and rain
- Indian Lake: Fri 32° and cloudy, Sat 32° and mostly cloudy, Sun 39° and rain
- Lake George: Fri 42° and cloudy, Sat 39° and partly cloudy, Sun 43° and rain
- Lake Placid: Fri 30° and cloudy, Sat 32° and partly cloudy, Sun 40° and rain
- Malone: Fri 34° and cloudy, Sat 35° and partly cloudy, Sun 45° and rain
- North Creek: Fri 34° and cloudy, Sat 33° and partly cloudy, Sun 40° and rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 31° and snow, Sat 33° and mostly cloudy, Sun 41° and rain
- Speculator: Fri 33° and snow showers, Sat 35° and mostly cloudy, Sun 41° and rain
- Ticonderoga: Fri 36° and mostly cloudy, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 40° and rain
Snow, ice, and below freezing temperatures have been present throughout the Adirondacks. Temperatures are forecasted to warm up through the weekend. Prepare accordingly by dressing in layers. Trailheads may be warm, but higher elevations and summits will be frigid and windy.
Snow depths currently range from 10 to 20 inches, and are shallower in the southeastern region and the northeastern edge of the mountains.
Snow is deeper on higher elevations – there is 30+ inches of snow above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks region.
Be Prepared for Winter Conditions
The sun sets early – always carry a flashlight or headlamp with you. Dress in layers of non-cotton, wicking fabric, and pack extra clothing. Wear a hat and gloves.
Be prepared to turn around if the weather becomes too extreme.
Check the Trail Conditions
Snow and ice are present on all trails. Snowshoes or skis are required on all trails in the High Peaks Wilderness and are recommended on all trails throughout the region. Using snowshoes eases travel on snow and prevents “post holding” which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls and injuries.
Snowshoers and hikers should avoid walking on cross-country ski tracks wherever possible and are prohibited on designated ski trails. Trail crampons should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails, including summits and other exposed areas.
Remember that traveling in deep snow takes more energy and time – especially when traveling through freshly fallen snow – so plan accordingly.
Trail crampons should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails, including summits and other exposed areas.
Research Your Trip Ahead of Time
Many seasonal roads are closed due to recent heavy snow. Research your trip ahead of time to know what trails are accessible, if parking is available and cleared, and what the up-to-date trail conditions are.
Seasonal Access Roads are Closing on Monday
While many seasonal access roads remain open at this time, beginning on Monday gates will be closed and locked, and unavailable to motor vehicles.
Don’t Go Out on the Ice
Ice has begun forming on ponds, bays of lakes, slow moving streams, and backwaters of rivers. No ice is safe at this time.
Although ice may have snow on the surface, it is not thick enough to hold the weight of a person. The ice will remain unsafe until temperatures fall below freezing for a significant, continuous period.
Be Careful Crossing Streams
Rocks will be icy along streams and in the streams. Wear trail crampons and use hiking poles when traversing ice covered rocks.
Hunting Seasons are Open
The Regular Northern Zone Big Game Hunting Season ends at sunset on Sunday. Hikers should be aware they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists who have the legal right to participate in this activity.
Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Feel free to wear bright colors to stay even more safe.
Specific Notices to Be Aware Of
Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest/Township 19 & 20 Conservation Easement Tracts
The following roads are closed to public motor vehicle use: O’Niel Flow Road, Minerva Club Road, and Pickwickett Pond Road.
Four miles of the southern end of Snowmobile Route 538 between Indian Lake and Newcomb will be plowed to allow for timber transportation by logging trucks. Snowmobilers should reduce speed and expect to encounter log trucks when traveling this route.
High Peaks Wilderness
While not officially closed, South Meadow Lane is impassable by motor vehicle due to deep snow.
The gate on Corey’s Road will be closed beginning Monday, to accommodate logging operations in Ampersand Park. Parking will be available at Raquette Falls Trailhead.
The DEC and NY State Police Aviation Unit have airlifted 55 bags of stone to the summit of Mt. Van Hoevenberg. These stones will be used to help stabilize the summit ledge viewing area from wind, rain, and hiking erosion. The DEC and partners will undertake this work in the spring; in the meantime, please stay off the piles.
The trails through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract, to Mt. Marcy via Panther Gorge and to Dix Mountain, are closed to public use until December 3rd for the big game hunting season.
The new Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail is open for public use. The 1.7-mile trail 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.
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 DEC’s multi-year comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism and address public safety in the Adirondacks.
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.
Camping is prohibited at the former location of the Boquet Lean-to north of Dix Mountain and the open area adjacent to the trail.
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 this, and will fully repair the roof during the off season.
The trail to Little Porter Mountain from the Garden Trailhead is closed. The portion of the trail crossing private land has been closed to public use 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.
Private landowners have once again agreed to allow hiking on the Owls Head Trail during the week. Parking at the trailhead and hiking the trail are prohibited on weekends.
Cold Brook Trail is not a designated DEC trail is not maintained.
Blueberry Horse Trail is passable to horses and riders, however, riders should take care near drainages and several stream crossings that will be muddy. The DEC plans to improve the trailhead of this route int he future.
The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. During 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 rather than follow the paths created by others.
Fixed ropes, harnesses, and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to age, weatherizing, and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.
The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Due to deep snow, all gates are closed and locked, and all seasonal access roads are closed to motor vehicle use for the winter. The closed roads are Cornell Road, Deer Pond Road, Chain Lakes Road North, Drakes Mill Road, Camp Six Road, and Chain Lake Road South.
Moose River Plains Complex
The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (aka the Moose River Plains Road) and all of the other seasonal access roads that make up the Moose River Plains Road System are closed due to deep snows. The gates on the main road will reopen on December 3rd for snowmobile use.
William C. Whitney Wilderness
Lake Lila Road is closed for the season. The road will be plowed so trucks and other heavy equipment can access and work on the trail corridor near the Nehasane Station. The road will not be skiable until the work is complete.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Gulf Brook Road is closed for the winter.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) (aka 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. Do not trespass on AMR lands and 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.