Editor’s Note 03/29/19: The DEC has reported wildlife being tested positive for rabies in the eastern Adirondacks, specifically in the towns of Moriah, Crown Point, and Ticonderoga. Animals with rabies may act aggressive, sick, or even tame. They may walk unsteadily, go into convulsions, or froth at the mouth. Do not approach these animals; report any strange behavior immediately to the DEC.
Spring in the Adirondacks often brings a mix of warm and cold weather, snow and rain, and ice and mud. This weekend will be no different.
Fluctuating Weather Conditions
- Crown Point: Fri 53° and scattered showers, Sat 58° and showers, Sun 49° and rain
- Indian Lake: Fri 46° and rain, Sat 52° and showers, Sun 38° and snow showers
- Lake George: Fri 56° and showers, Sat 63° and showers, Sun 52° and rain
- Lake Placid: Fri 44° and scattered showers, Sat 53° and showers, Sun 37° and snow
- Malone: Fri 44° and scattered showers, Sat 53° and rain, Sun 36° and snow
- North Creek: Fri 49° and scattered showers, Sat 55° and showers, Sun 42° and rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 45° and scattered showers, Sat 54° and showers, Sun 36° and snow
- Speculator: Fri 47° and scattered showers, Sat 54° and rain, Sun 40° and snow showers
- Ticonderoga: Fri 53° and scattered showers, Sat 57° and scattered showers, Sun 50° and rain
The forecast calls for above freezing temperatures and rain, followed by wet snow. Nighttime lows will be below freezing in the northern Adirondacks and at the higher elevations.
Rain on Saturday will change over to wet snow on Sunday in the northern Adirondacks and higher elevations. Rain showers are forecasted for both days in the southern Adirondacks.
Temperatures at the trailhead will vary from temperatures at your destination. Higher elevations and exposed summits can have significantly colder temperatures than at the base of the mountain.
Weather conditions can fluctuate widely and quickly during late winter/early spring. Rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow, and even thunderstorms can occur. Check the local weather again before you head out and choose an alternate trail or date if the weather is unfavorable.
Pack extra non-cotton, wind protectant layers and be sure to use them once feeling exposed or feeling colder to help prevent hypothermia. Carry rain gear and other equipment to prepare for various weather conditions. Monitor weather while hiking and return to your vehicle if conditions worsen.
Continue to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you along with plenty of food and water. Eat, drink, and rest often. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes you more vulnerable to hypothermia.
Due to the warming weather this week, icy conditions will be present once again, especially on exposed bedrock and rocky summits. Crampons are recommended. Micro spikes are suitable on level ground but not on trails on slopes.
Snow depths range from 15 to 30 inches across much of the Adirondacks. Snow is less deep around the very western, very eastern, and a large part of the southern Adirondacks. There is little to no snow in the very northeastern corner of the Adirondacks. Open areas in the slower and middle elevations – especially those on south facing slopes – have no little to snow snow.
Snow is deeper in the high elevations; snow is 7 to 8 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks Region. Above freezing temperatures and rain will cause snow to melt and snow depths to decrease over the weekend.
The Trail Conditions
Most trails are covered in deep snow, which will soften with the rain and warm temperatures. Lesser used trails may be covered with deep “unbroken” snow. Snowshoes should be used on all hikes where snow depths exceed 8 inches. Post-holing can occur even on heavily compacted snow as the snow warms, softens, and melts.
Open areas in the lower to middle elevations may have little to no snow, however, ice may be present on any trail. Carry trail crampons and steel-tipped hiking poles on all hikes and use when conditions warrant.
Traveling through snow takes more time and energy than hiking on bare ground, especially when breaking trail through deep snow.
Water levels will rise in rivers, streams, and drainages due to melting snow and rain. Low water crossings may be problematic or impossible to cross. Blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches) may be present on trails. Plan for hikes to take longer.
This past weekend’s winter storm brought 6 to 18 inches of new, wet snow. High winds were 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 great 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. There have been four skier triggered avalanches reported this winter in the High Peaks Region.
Ice on Waterbodies
Lakes and ponds remain frozen with up to 2 feet of ice. Ice may be covered with slush and water. 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 snow may not hold the weight of a person.
Expect High Water Levels & Swift Currents
The melting snow and rain raise water levels. High, fast-moving waters make stream crossings on trails dangerous and even impossible. Heed high water warnings and find a safer alternative route or trip. Don’t try to cross through cold, high, fast-flowing waters.
Trout and salmon seasons open on Monday, April 1st. If you’re heading out fishing after this weekend make sure to use caution when wading through high, swift waters. Currents will be strong and the water will be cold. Always bring a flotation device and use a walking stick for balance in the waterways.
Wear warm layers underneath waterproof waders and boots to prevent hypothermia. Anglers should wear a personal flotation device (PDF) as a precaution in addition to a walking stick for balance. A person falling into the water could quickly lose their ability to keep their head above the water.
Water levels will rise as snow melts and may even rise significantly from morning to afternoon as the day warms. Monitor water levels to ensure your safety.
You can take ice fishing shanties on and off the ice when in use, but you cannot leave them empty on ice.
Check area conditions before you go.
Rock Climbing Routes
Effective Monday, April 1st, some Adirondack climbing routes are closed to protect Peregrine falcon nest sites.
Designated Snowmobile Trails
Watch and listen for snowmobiles when skiing or snowshoeing on designated trails. Move off the trail to allow them to pass you safely.
For snowmobilers, the trails will soften through the weekend. Snow depths are shallow in the low elevations around the edge of the region and much of the south and southeastern portion of the Adirondacks. Check with local snowmobile clubs to determine status and condition of trails.
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.
Practice Leave No Trace also applies to fishing. Know area fishing regulations, be considerate of other anglers when casting within proximity to each other, and always pick up fishing lines, lures, and other waste from the shoreline and trails. Avoid transferring fish from one water body to another.
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker Report: The stake at 2,750 feet elevation currently has 67 inches of snow, and 7 to 8 feet of snow above 3,000 feet elevation. The use of snowshoes or skis is 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 foot bridges may be above the handrails. Use caution when crossing.
The Garden Trailhead Parking Lot is closed for spring and summer 2019. This is one of the main access points to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. It will be closed due to the replacement of the Johns Brook Bridge. Work will begin on installing the replacement bridge as soon as weather and road conditions allow, and is expected to last throughout the summer.
Once the work begins no vehicles or pedestrians will be able to pass the bridge to access the parking lot until the work is complete. During this time, the only way to access the Garden Trailhead is by using the shuttle from the March Field. The shuttle will use a detour across private property that is closed to the public. Driving, biking, or walking on the detour road is prohibited and violators will be charged with trespassing.
Public use of the private roadway could lead to loss of access by shuttle and no means of accessing the trailhead. The Town of Keene will post the shuttle schedule and additional information. When the shuttle is not operating hikers are encouraged to hike other trails in the area.
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 winter. The Clear Pond Parking Area is two miles from the Elk Trailhead – plan your travels accordingly.
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.
Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gates for the road to Catfish Bay are closed due to muddy conditions. This 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.
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.