We had a flood watch last week – this week it’s a winter storm watch! Get in that skiing and snowmobiling while you still can, and check out what you need to know about the storm watch, trail conditions, and more.
Winter Storm Watch
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 42° and rain and snow, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 52° and mostly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 36° and snow, Sat 30° and partly cloudy, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 43° and rain and snow, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 51° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 35° and snow, Sat 29° and snow showers, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 35° and snow, Sat 29° and snow, Sun 41° and rain and snow
- North Creek: Fri 38° and snow, Sat 32° and cloudy, Sun 45° and mostly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 35° and snow, Sat 30° and snow showers, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 36° and snow, Sat 29° and partly cloudy, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 39° and rain and snow, Sat 39° and partly cloudy, Sun 51° and mostly cloudy
The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Watches for the Adirondacks and surrounding areas, effective as of Thursday night and going through Saturday morning. Significant accumulation of heavy, wet snow is possible. Total snow accumulations range from 5 to 15 inches throughout the watch areas with higher amounts possible elsewhere.
Strong winds associated with the storm could gust as high as 35 to 40 miles per hour on Friday night. High winds may result in scattered tree damage and isolated power outages.
Travel could be difficult or even hazardous, and may impact morning and evening commutes on Friday.
Nighttime low temperatures will range from the single digits to the teens.
Mountain summits will have colder temperatures, stronger winds, deeper snow, and ice will be present.
Find more information on the expected snow in the Specific Notices section below.
Current Snow Cover
Snow depths range from 12 to 30 inches across most of the Adirondacks. There is little to no snow in the northwestern and northeastern corners of the Adirondacks.
Most of the Adirondacks is forecast to receive 6 to 12 inches of new snow through Saturday morning. The very eastern Adirondacks are forecast to receive 2 to 4 inches of snow with more in the higher elevations.
Snow is deeper in the higher elevations, and is at 7 to 8 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks Region.
What to Know About the Trail Conditions
Fresh snow will be present on all trails. Most trails will have deep snow.
Shallow snow may cover ice on trails in the lower elevations of the eastern portion of the Adirondacks. You should use snowshoes on all hikes except in the very eastern Adirondacks where you may need trail crampons.
Carry snowshoes, trail crampons, and steel-tipped hiking poles on all hikes, and use whichever is needed based on current conditions.
There may be blowdown on trails from the strong winds. Plan to encounter fallen trees and low hanging branches along trails.
Keep in mind that traveling through snow takes more time and energy than hiking on bare ground. This is especially true when breaking trail through deep, freshly fallen snow.
Be Prepared for Winter Conditions
Always carry a flashlight or headlamp. Wear boots and gaiters. Dress properly, stay dry, and add or remove layers to regulate your body temperature. Dress in layers of non-cotton, wicking fabric, and pack extra clothing. Wear a hat and gloves.
Carry plenty of food and water. East, drink, and rest often. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes your more susceptible to hypothermia.
Ice on Waterbodies
Ice has formed on most waters. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling cross 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 a snow may not hold the weight of a person.
Designated Snowmobile Trails
For snowmobilers: Fresh snow will be present on all trails, and most will have deep snow. Snow depths should only be shallow in the eastern portion of the Adirondacks. Check with local snowmobile clubs to determine current trail conditions.
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.
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 spring mud season.
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.
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.
Snow depths in the High Peaks Region range from 10 inches to more than 85 inches, depending on location and elevation. The winter storm forecast that began late Thursday night is expected to bring an additional 12 to 23 inches of snow.
High winds are forecast to be associated with the storm. Expect wind slabs to have formed on leeward slopes and significantly more amounts in deposit zones, such as gullies.
The current snow conditions have created a bed surface for snow to slide on. Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides and other steep open terrain should be aware of avalanche risks on what to do to avoid triggering avalanches. Climbers should also be aware of potential avalanche risks in gullies used to access some climbs.
Pay attention to red flags: high winds, more than 12 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, any amount of snow that falls at a rate of more than an inch per hours, and avalanche activity.
Before you go out: Put new batteries in your transceiver and practice with them. Bring your shovel and probe and have a pack with adequate equipment to handle whatever conditions you may encounter. Carry a good first aid kit. Look at the forecasted weather, dig your own pits, and make your decisions based on your observations. Practice safe travel techniques.
Just because a slope has been skied, doesn’t mean that it can’t slide. Have a rescue plan and know how to self rescue.
Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gates for the road to Catfish Bay are closed due to muddy conditions. The WMA sets on the shores of Lake Champlain north of the Adirondacks.
Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area
The gate has been closed due to flooding on the road. This WMA sets on the shores of Lake Champlain in the northeast corner of the Adirondacks.
Lake George Wild Forest
The Town of Fort Ann has closed Shelving Rock Road for mud season. Parking along Shelving Rock Road and at the gate is prohibited. Sleeping Beauty, Shelving Rock, and Buck Mountain East Trailhead are not accessible while the road is closed.
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker Report: 61 inches of snow at the stake at 2,750 feet elevation, 7 to 8 feet of snow above 3,000 feet. The use of snowshoes or skis are required on all trails.
South Meadow Lane, Marcy Truck Trail, and the ski trails are in good condition for skiing despite the loss of some snow depth prior to the weekend.
Snow cover on footbridges may be above the handrails. Use caution when crossing.
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.
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.