This weekend brings the first summer hike of the season, and the weather looks favorable for the most part. The Muddy Trail Advisory is still in effect, though, thanks to recent rains. See what else you need to know below.
Summer Has Arrived! Here’s the Weather
- Crown Point: Fri 76° and partly cloudy, Sat 79° and partly cloudy, Sun 84° and sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 68° and partly cloudy, Sat 71° and mostly sunny, Sun 75° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 80° and scattered showers, Sat 81° and mostly sunny, Sun 87° and sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 67° and partly cloudy, Sat 71° and mostly sunny, Sun 75° and sunny
- Malone: Fri 70° and partly cloudy, Sat 76° and partly cloudy, Sun 78° and sunny
- North Creek: Fri 70° and partly cloudy, Sat 72° and mostly sunny, Sun 77° and sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 68° and partly cloudy, Sat 72° and mostly sunny, Sun 76° and sunny
- Speculator: Fri 69° and partly cloudy, Sat 70° and sunny, Sun 75° and sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 74° and partly cloudy, Sat 76° and mostly sunny, Sun 82° and sunny
June 21st marks the longest day of the year, but this doesn’t mean hikers should leave headlamps at home. Darkness sets in a lot quicker in the forest, and while hikers should make the most of the long daylight hours, they should always be prepared.
Here are some summer tips from the DEC: Rest and hydrate often to help combat heat exhaustion. Apply sunscreen and ChapStick with SPF liberally and often. Bring plenty of food to keep up with calories being burned. Keep an eye and ear on the weather. Summer heat can bring unexpected thunderstorms in the mountains.
Muddy Trail Advisory Still in Effect
While temperatures are indeed warming, the weather continues to be cooler and wetter than usual for this time of year. The Muddy Trail Advisory remains in effect.
Current Trail Conditions
Continuous rainy weather has kept the trails from drying out. Trails are still wet and muddy, creating slippery and unstable conditions on steeper sloping trails. Wear durable, waterproof hiking boots and bring trekking poles for extra stability while hiking through the mud.
Parking Restrictions on Route 73
Parking is now prohibited on the shoulders along State Route 73. Violators have been ticketed and the fines are hefty. Park in designated pull offs and parking areas only.
Parking is also prohibited on a four-mile section of this route, between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead. Parking is still allowed at trailheads and designated pull-offs.
If parking is full, the DEC encourages hikers to discover the many other hiking spots in the area, or to visit during week when there are fewer hikers.
Black Fly & Mosquito Season
Bug season is here. Black flies and mosquitoes are present in large numbers.
Wear light colored long sleeves and long pants. Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks. Pack a head net to wear when insects are thick. Use an insect repellent with DEET and follow the label directions.
Bear Advisories & Bear Canisters
While preparing for your camping or hiking trip, check area notices for bear advisories. If there are active bears present where you are planning to go, either choose an alternative trip or thoroughly educate yourself on how to reduce your chance of a bear encounter with proper food storage, disposal of food waste, and then what to do if you happen to encounter a bear.
Bear resistant canisters are the most effective means for preventing bears from obtaining food while you’re camping. Black bears in the High Peaks Wilderness have regularly defeated bear resistant canisters made of clear plastic. Choose a dark coated bear canister where food is not visible inside.
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the High Peaks Wilderness between April 1st and November 30th. All food, toiletries, and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks.
Seasonal Access Roads
Most seasonal access roads are open while a few remain closed for mud season. Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be rough. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.
The fire danger is currently low.
Please Report Moose Sightings
The DEC is asking us to report moose sightings and observations. The DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York.
This is part of a multi-year research project to obtain information on the status of New York State’s moose population, health of the moose, and the factors that influence moose survival and reproductive rate.
For the Boaters, Paddlers & Anglers
Water levels are higher and water temperatures colder than usual for this time of year. Paddlers, tubers, and waders should expect to encounter strong currents on rivers. A group of paddlers on the Batten Kill in Washington County were unable to avoid a tree that had fallen the river (aka a strainer) due to the strong currents.
Personal flotation devices (lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn by all anglers, boaters, and paddlers. People immersed in cold waters can lose the ability to think clearly and move quickly after only a short time in the water.
Docks have been installed at all but a few boat launches where high water levels are preventing installation.
For the Bikers
Most trails are dry and rideable, but some remain closed due to wet and muddy conditions. Don’t use the muddy trails – they are easily rutted and damaged through use. If you are leaving tracks, that’s a sign to turn back.
Remember that electric powered bikes (e-bikes) are prohibited on all bike trails on the Forest Preserve.
Rock Climbing Routes
Some Adirondack rock climbing routes are closed to protect peregrine falcon nest sites.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
The Saranac River is closed to boating between the Lower Locks and the Second Pond Boat Launch because of extremely low water levels. The low water levels are a result of vandals breaking into the controls for the sluice gate overnight and fully opening it.
The sluice gate was further damaged and cannot be immediately closed. The DEC is working to repair and close the gate. The DEC will provide notice when repairs are complete and water levels have risen.
Anyone with information regarding the vandalism should call 518.897.1326.
Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract
All seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicle use.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Work on the Gulf Brook Road has been delayed. During the next few weeks Gulf Brook Road will be opening seven days a week to the Fly Pond Parking area. The DEC will provide notice when the work starts, and the road will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Tract
The logging operation is complete, and the D&H Road is once again open to public motor vehicle use.
Moose River Plains Wild Forest
All seasonal access roads, except for Rock Dam Road, are open to public motor vehicle use.
As part of a repaving project on Route 28 between Inlet and Blue Mountain Lake, the Department of Transportation contractors are reconstructing the entrance driveway and the large parking area that serves both the Rocky Mountain and Bear Mountain Trailheads and is the site of an Aquatic Invasive Species Boat Check Station. The Parking lot will be closed while this work takes place but should reopen on Friday the 21st.
Blue Mountain Wild Forest/Township 19 & 2o Conservation Easement Tracts
Pickwickett Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use.
The following roads remain closed to public motor vehicle use: Minerva Club Road, O’Neil Flow Road, and Barker Pond Road.
Kusaqua Conservation Easement Tract
Mountain Pond Road remains closed due to muddy conditions.
Vanderwhacker Wild Forest
Wolf Pond Trail and the Wolf Pond Lean-to are open to public use. The 2.3-mile Wolf Pond Trail is accessible from Boreas River/Wolf Pond Parking Area on the Blue Ridge Road near the bridge over the Boreas River. The gently rolling and easy to navigate trail crosses Wolf Pond Brook and proceeds northeast. The trail ends at the outlet of Wolf Pond, and the new lean-to is located up a short spur trail and the southwestern side of the pond.
Wolf Pond provides scenic views of the High Peaks and surrounding mountains as well as excellent fishing opportunities. The 59-acre pond is home to stocked wild strain brook trout.
Aldrich Pond Wild Forest
All seasonal access roads, including Streeter Lake Road, are open to public motor vehicle access.
Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Tract
All seasonal access roads are now open to public motor vehicle use.
High Peaks Wilderness
Hikers seeking to use the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail, which opened last fall, will be rerouted around the construction underway to make significant improvements to Olympic Sports Complex facilities.
Hikers can park at the Baithlon Facility parking area in the Complex and use a marked 2.9-mile detour bypassing the construction zone using roads, ski trails, and a temporary trail to reach the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail approximately one mile below the summit.
Expect to encounter trail workers along the trail to the summit of the mountain as they complete the final touches on the sustainably designed and recently opened trail. Hikers may also reach the summit using the traditional route – the 2.2-mile Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail which begins at the trailhead on Meadows Lane.
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 roadway on the Bradley Pond Trail has been washed out by the Harkness Lake Outlet approximately a half mile from the parking lot. Hikers will be unable to cross the outlet when water levels are high.
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.
The Garden Trailhead Parking Lot is closed. Hikers can access the Garden Trailhead using the Town of Keene’s Shuttle from Marcy Field. Currently the shuttle only operates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Town of Keene posts the shuttle schedule and additional information on their website.
The public is prohibited from walking, biking, or driving on the alternate route that the shuttle takes. When the shuttle is not operating, hikers are encouraged to hike other trails in the area.
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 and 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
The Garden Trailhead Parking Lot is closed. Hikers can access the Garden Trailhead using the Town of Keene’s shuttle from Marcy field. Currently the shuttle operates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Town of Keene posts the shuttle schedule and additional info on their website. The shuttle utilizes an alternate route across private property; the public is prohibited from walking, biking, or driving on this alternate route. Hikers are encouraged to hike other trails in the area when the shuttle is not operating.
The Marcy Dam #4 Lean-to has been removed. A new Phelps Brook Lean-to has been installed off the Marcy Truck Trail. The lean-to was built by students from the Franklin-Essex-Clinton Counties BOCES Natural Resource Science Program. The students and volunteers from Lean2Rescue assembled the new lean-to. Follow signs from the bridge below Marcy Dam to the new 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.