The spring conditions of mud, water, and slushy snow continue in the Adirondacks. See what else you need to know about the current trail conditions, an update to the Leave No Trace principles, and more.
What’s Up With the Weather
- Crown Point: Fri 61° and cloudy, Sat 68° and partly cloudy, Sun 50° and scattered showers
- Indian Lake: Fri 58° and scattered showers, Sat 59° and partly cloudy, Sun 45° and rain
- Lake George: Fri 63° and cloudy, Sat 71° and mostly cloudy, Sun 55° and scattered showers
- Lake Placid: Fri 56° and scattered showers, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 44° and rain
- Malone: Fri 62° and scattered showers, Sat 59° and partly cloudy, Sun 46° and rain
- North Creek: Fri 57° and scattered showers, Sat 61° and partly cloudy, Sun 46° and scattered showers
- Saranac Lake: Fri 58° and scattered showers, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 45° and rain
- Speculator: Fri 56° and scattered showers, Sat 58° and partly cloudy, Sun 46° and rain
- Ticonderoga: Fri 61° and cloudy, Sat 67° and partly cloudy, Sun 49° and showers
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. Pack extra noncotton, wind protectant layers, and make sure to use them once exposed or feeling colder to help prevent hypothermia.
Current Trail Conditions
Mud season is upon us as spring is in full force now and the snow is melting. When you encounter mud or water on a trail, walk through it and not around it. Walking around the trails causes erosive damage to trailside vegetation. Wear waterproof boots and gaiters to make your time walking through mud more enjoyable.
Monorails are forming in high elevations. These exist when a heavy use trail compacts the snow into a solid rail up the middle of the trail. As the surrounding soft snow continues to melt away, the monorail becomes narrower, icier, and harder to traverse.
It can take quite a bit of focus and energy to hike across monorails for a lengthy period of time. Falling off the monorail could potentially result in falling into deep snow or a spruce trap. Be prepared to hike on monorails in high elevations.
Wear crampons for safety on ice. Icy conditions will be present once again, even during the warming weather, and this is especially true on exposed bedrock and rocky summits. Microspikes are suitable on level ground but not on trails or slopes.
The Snow Cover
Snow depths range from 6 to 24 inches across most of the Adirondacks. Open areas in the lower and middle elevations – especially those on south facing slopes – have little to no snow.
Snow is deeper in the higher elevations, and is 2 to 3 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks region.
Ice on Waterbodies
Lakes and ponds remain mostly frozen. Ice may be covered in 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.
Update in Leave No Trace
We often pass along the DEC’s recommendation to practice the seven Leave No Trace principles, which allow us us to enjoy recreating outdoors while minimizing human impacts to preserve the beautiful Adirondack region.
There has been an update on Leave No Trace regarding social media:
Tag thoughtfully: Avoid tagging (or geotagging) specific locations. Instead, tag a general location such as a state or region.
Be mindful of what your images portray: Give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do. Are you practicing proper LNT in your posts? Are you acting safely?
Encourage and inspire LNT in posts: Use your knowledge to influence and educate others on respecting our lands and becoming more sustainable recreators.
Designated Snowmobile Trails & Gate Closures
Watch and listen for snowmobiles when skiing or snowshoeing on designated trails. Move off the trail to allow them to pass you safely.
There are some gate closures:
- Saranac Lakes Wild Forest – C7B snowmobile trail and D&H rail bed
- Debar Mountain Wild Forest – C8 snowmobile trail, D&H rail bed, and Meacham CG gate
- Santa Clara Conservation Easement – C8 snowmobile trail
- Taylor Pond Wild Forest – gate at Catamount trailhead as well as the interior gate where the trail passes private property
- Madawaska/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: gate off Blue Mountain Road
- Lake George Wild Forest – mud season gate at the west end of Gay Pond Road
Wear proper footwear and use a hiking stick with a carbide tip to access the water. Water temperatures are extremely cold. Wear a personal flotation device – a person falling into the water could quickly lose the ability to keep their head above 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.
Rock Climbing Routes
Effective Monday, April 1st, some Adirondack climbing routes are closed to protect Peregrine falcon nest sites.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
In 2019 the Department of Transportation will be replacing the culvert on State Route 30 at Spider Creek. Spider Creek is the waterway that flows out of Follensby Clear Pond to Fish Creek Ponds. During the construction, watercraft will not be able to pass through the culvert.
A temporary canoe carry to bypass the culvert may be established, but people visiting the area should consider using existing canoe routes that avoid this culvert entirely. The culvert may be closed for the entire 2019 construction season. When construction is complete, the culvert can be used once again for paddling.
Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida Counties
All mud gates to trails and seasonal access roads on forest preserve, state forest, and conservation easement lands are closed dude to spring thaw and muddy conditions. The DEC will reopen the roads once any necessary maintenance is completed and the roads are dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic.
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
Shelving Rock Road is still closed for mud season. Parking along Shelving Rock Road and at the gate is prohibited. Sleeping Beauty, Shelving Rock, and the Buck Mountain East Trailhead are not accessible while the road is closed.
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker Report: 53 inches of snow at the stake at 2,750 feet elevation and 2 to 3 feet of snow above 3,000 feet elevation. The use of snowshoes or skis are required on all trails above 3,000 feet. Trails are in poor condition for skiing. Snow cover on foot bridges may be above the handrails. Use caution when crossing. Monorails are forming at high elevations.
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.
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.
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.