Planning on getting some hiking in before the year is up? The trail conditions are less than stellar at the moment, so brush up on what you need to know before your hiking journey.
See the Weather Report & Check Again Before Heading Out
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 44° and rain, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 30° and sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 43° and rain, Sat 34° and cloudy, Sun 25° and mostly sunny
- Lake George: Fri 47° and rain, Sat 44° and partly cloudy, Sun 35° and mostly sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 43° and rain, Sat 32° and snow showers, Sun 21° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 44° and showers, Sat 31° and snow showers, Sun 23° and mostly sunny
- North Creek: Fri 44° and rain, Sat 36° and mostly cloudy, Sun 27° and mostly sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 44° and showers, Sat 33° and snow showers, Sun 24° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 45° and showers, Sat 35° and mostly cloudy, Sun 26° and mostly sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 42° and rain, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 30° and mostly sunny
Temperatures will be much colder, winds will be stronger, ice will be present, and the snow will be deeper at the mountain summits.
What’s Happening With the Snow
Warm weather and heavy rains last week have reduced snow cover considerably. Above freezing temperatures and rain are forecast for Friday afternoon.
There is little to no snow in the southern Adirondacks. The Central Adirondacks region has 4 to 8 inches of snow. Snow depths range between 2 and 4 inches throughout the rest of the Adirondacks.
Snow is deeper in the higher elevations; snow is 1 to 3 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks region.
Be Prepared & Plan Ahead
The sun sets earlier – always carry a flashlight or headlamp on all trips. Dress in layers of non-cotton, wicking fabric and pack extra clothing. Wear a hat and gloves.
Choose trails within your or your group’s ability and comfort level. Keep in mind it takes more time and effort to move on snow and ice.
If you do get lost or injured, keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0235.
What to Expect With the Trail Conditions
The recent below freezing temperatures have created poor trail conditions. All trails are icy or have hard or crusty snow on them. Trail crampons need to be used on all trails.
Ice on Waterbodies
Ice has formed on all waters, except fast flowing rivers and streams. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks – especially those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices.
Remember that ice that holds the weight of snow may not hold the weight of a person.
Practice Leave No Trace
Do you know the seven principles of leave no trace? These guidelines set a foundation for preserving our beautiful Adirondack region.
Don’t Drive on Seasonal Access Roads
Gates on seasonal access roads on forest preserve and conservation easement lands are closed and locked. Motor vehicle use on all seasonal access roads is prohibited until the end of the spring mud season. The DEC will reopen the roads after they have dried and any needed repairs and maintenance are completed.
A Word on Snowmobile Trails
Many designated snowmobile trials are open but conditions are poor. Check with local snowmobile clubs to determine what trails are open.
Sign Up for a First Day Hike
Kick off the New Year right with an epic hike!
Specific Notices on Hiking Trails & More
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker reports 16 inches of snow at the stake (2,750 feet elevation). Snow depths above 3,000 feet range from 1 to 3 feet. Trails are mainly ice, ice covering hard snow, and exposed rocks.
Drainages blew out snow and are now ice covered. Postholes created during the warmer weather have frozen.
No trails are skiable at this time. Trail crampons must be used on all trails.
The trails through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract – to Mt. Marcy via Panther Gorge and to Dix Mountain – are open for public use. However, the Clear Pond Gate is closed for the winter. The Clear Pond Parking Area is two miles from the Elk Lake Trailhead – plan your travels accordingly.
South Meadow Truck Trail, Avalanche Ski Trail, and Avalanche Pass Trail all have good snow conditions.
Snowshoes are required above Marcy Dam – 2,360 feet elevation.
South Meadow Lane is closed to motor vehicle use. Do not block the opening when parking at the entrance. This is used by emergency response vehicles.
The gate on Corey’s Road is closed to accommodate logging operations in Ampersand Park. Parking is available at Raquette Falls Trailhead.
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.
Lake George Wild Forest
Due to the poor conditions – ice and mud – on Dacy Road, the gate has been closed. The DEC will reopen the gate when snow conditions improve.
Big Moose Conservation Easement Tract
The Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower and the trail to it are open to public use.
Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor
The DOT has completed repairs to the section south of Lake Lila. The DEC contractors working on the Brandy Brook project in the Village of Saranac Lake still have wooden mats across a section of track between Brandy Brook Lane and North Country Community College.
This section of the C7B Snowmobile Trail is not open.
There is little to no snow on the corridor; check local trail conditions before heading out.
Tooley Pond/Grass River Conservation Easement Tracts
The S80 Snowmobile Trail (Railroad Grade and the Lake George Haul Road) on the Tooley Pond Conservation Easement is closed from intersection 33 to the Lake George Road. Trail 710 (New Bridge Connector Road) will be shared with logging trucks between intersections 33 and 34.
Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract
The S78 Snowmobile Trail (Grass River Railroad) is closed from Intersection 2 to Conifer. The DEC has moved the trail closed signs from C7A to S78 (near Intersection 2). A “No Snowmobiling on Plowed Road” sign is located at the Conifer end of the trail.
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.