Conditions are good for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling this weekend, although we are looking at some warmer temperatures which could increase snowmelt on trails. Check out everything you need to know for Adirondack hiking.
A Mix of Winter Weather
- Crown Point: Fri 37° and partly cloudy, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 43° and freezing rain
- Indian Lake: Fri 30° and partly cloudy, Sat 37° and mostly cloudy, Sun 41° and freezing rain
- Lake George: Fri 43° and partly cloudy, Sat 43° and partly cloudy, Sun 47° and rain
- Lake Placid: Fri 28° and partly cloudy, Sat 38° and mostly cloudy, Sun 40° and freezing rain
- Malone: Fri 29° and partly cloudy, Sat 36° and mostly cloudy, Sun 43° and rain
- North Creek: Fri 32° and partly cloudy, Sat 37° and mostly cloudy, Sun 41° and freezing rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 29° and partly cloudy, Sat 38° and partly cloudy, Sun 41° and rain
- Speculator: Fri 31° and partly cloudy, Sat 35° and cloudy, Sun 40° and freezing rain
- Ticonderoga: Fri 37° and partly cloudy, Sat 39° and partly cloudy, Sun 42° and rain
A mixture of sleet, freezing rain, and snow fell across the Adirondacks Wednesday night and Thursday. Partly sunny skies are forecasted for Friday and Saturday, with a mix of rain and freezing rain in the morning and afternoon on Sunday. Nighttime temperatures and daytime temperatures in the higher elevations will be below freezing.
Stay warm and dry by wearing a water repellent outer layer, layers of noncotton clothing, and a hat and gloves.
Continue to bring on a flashlight or headlamp on every hike.
The Current Snow Cover
Snow depths range from 1 to 2.5 feet across most of the Adirondacks. The deepest snow depths are in the central Adirondacks. Snow depths range from 10 to 12 inches in the lower elevations around the perimeter of the Adirondacks.
Snow is deeper in the higher elevations, snow is 4 to 5 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks region.
What to Expect on the Trails
Warming temperatures and sunshine this weekend will significantly increase snowmelt on trails and exposed outlets and summits turning snow to thick ice. Be prepared for wet conditions by wearing waterproof boots with wool socks and gaiters. Wear snowshoes and pack trail crampons.
Trails will be great for snowshoeing and skiing, although conditions will vary depending on the location, elevation, and time of day. Trails will be icy or hard in the morning and throughout the day in the higher elevations. Trails will soften as temperatures rise throughout the day, especially in the lower elevations.
You may encounter wet and icy conditions in low spots, seeps, drainages, and along water ways. Ice may be present below the snow, or on the trail surface on summits and other windswept locations. Unbroken trails will have a layer of crust and ice on the surface of the snow. Trails in the highest elevations will have hard-packed snow and ice on windblown summits and other exposed areas.
Snowshoes, skies, or trail crampons and steel-tipped hiking poles should be used on all trails depending on conditions.
Remember that traveling through snow takes more time and energy than hiking on bare ground – especially if you are breaking trail through recently fallen snow.
Save This Number to Your Phone & Stay Safe
If you do find yourself lost or injured, keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC or Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0235.
Try to stay warm and dry by separating yourself from the wet snow with a thicker layer on the ground. Protect yourself from the elements by building a shelter with items around you and in your pack. Build a campfire to provide heat, light, and comfort. A campfire will also be useful for search crews to locate you.
Don’t Forget Sun Protection
Sun protection – one of those things that is easy to forget about in the winter. This weekend is forecasted to be sunny. Don’t let the cold temperatures mislead you, you still need to wear sunscreen or ultraviolet (UV) protected clothing when recreating. Even in the cold, the sun still emits dangerous UV rays.
Ice on Waterbodies & Stream Crossings
Ice has formed on most waters. 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, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person (or snowmobile, or vehicle).
Stream crossings may be impassable. Be prepared to take alternate routes or turn back if a steam crossing is impassable. Keep dogs on leashes near fast moving water. Some bridges in the High Peaks Wilderness have snowpack that is higher than the bridge railings. Use caution when encountering these crossings. Turn back if you do not feel safe.
Practice Leave No Trace
Take a look at the Leave No Trace Seven Principles so you know what to do to help preserve the Adirondack Park for generations to come.
Designated Snowmobile Trails
For hikers: Watch and listen for snowmobiles when skiing or snowshoeing on designated snowmobile trails. Move off the trail to allow snowmobiles to safely pass.
For snowmobilers: Trails are in excellent condition for snowmobiling. Good snow cover is present throughout most of the Adirondacks. Check with local snowmobile clubs to determine the status and condition of trails.
Keep an eye out for skiers and snowshoers using snowmobile trials and slow down as needed to safely pass them.
Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest/Township 19 & 20 Conservation Easement Tracts
The O’Neil Flow Road (Snowmobile Route 538 between Indian Lake and Newcomb) no longer has shared use with logging trucks.
High Peaks Wilderness
The Lake Colden Caretaker Report indicates 55 inches of snow at the stake (2,750 feet) and 4 to 5 feet on the summits. The use of snowshoes or skis is required on all trails and trail crampons and steel tipped hiking poles should be carried on all hikes and used when warranted. South Meadow Lane, Marcy Truck Trail, and the ski trails are in good condition for skiing. Snow cover on foot bridges may be above the handrails. Use caution when crossing.
Avalanche conditions are present on high elevation slopes. Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides and other steep open terrain must be aware of the risk of avalanche. There have been two skier-triggered avalanches in the High Peaks Region so far this winter.
The DEC is seeking two trail crew supervisors and eight trail crew laborers to work in the backcountry of the High Peaks Wilderness as part of the DEC High Peaks Trail Crews. The trail crews work with other crews to construct a new sustainable-design trail up Cascade Mountain. Each week, the entire crew will spend the week in the backcountry, camping out in tents. Most of the project is located 2 to 5 miles from the nearest road, and will require a strenuous hike with a heavy pack to get to each week.
Tasks will primarily include trail building, but may also involve hardening tent sites, relocated privies, installing turnpiking, rock and drainage work, bridge building, and clearing blown.
If you’re interested, email Info.R5@DEC.NY.gov for a full job description and application instructions. This is a great opportunity to participate in the effort to maintain and protect the High Peaks Wilderness.
The Marcy Dam #4 lean-to has been removed. A new Phelps Brook lean-to has been installed off the Marcy Truck Trail. A lean-to was built by students from the Franklin-Essex Clinton Counties BOCES Natural Resource Science Program.
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
The gate on Notch Lane Truck Trail on the nearby Mount Tom State Forest in the town of White Creek has been closed for ice/mud conditions.
Split Rock Wild Forest
The gate at Lewis Clearing Bay Trailhead along Lake Shore Road is open. Anglers can use the Lewis Clearing Bay Trail to access the ice on Lake Champlain.
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.
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. Don’t trespass on AMR lands or waters, or participate in unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Gulf Brook Road is closed for the winter.