Who’s hiking over Fourth of July Weekend in the Adirondacks? A lot of people, that’s who! Read on to find out what to plan for as far as busy parking lots and trailheads, and everything else you need to know.
Weather Forecast, Heat Exhaustion & Thunderstorms
- Crown Point: Fri 89° and partly cloudy, Sat 86° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 78° and sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 76° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 89° and partly cloudy, Sat 86° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 80° and sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 82° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 74° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 74° and sunny
- Malone: Fri 85° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 74° and sunny
- North Creek: Fri 84° and mostly cloudy, Sat 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 77° and sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 78° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 75° and sunny
- Speculator: Fri 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 77° and sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 88° and partly cloudy, Sat 85° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 76° and sunny
Summer weather is upon us, with sunny days and thunderstorms. Rest and hydrate often to help combat the humidity and heat exhaustion. Apply sunscreen and ChapStick with SPF liberally and often. Bring plenty of food to keep up with the calories you’ll burn. Always bring a headlamp, first aid kit, and map of your planned route.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion: cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat; heavy sweating; faintness; dizziness; fatigue; weak, rapid pulse; low blood pressure upon standing; and muscle cramps.
If you experience any of the symptoms make sure to take a rest. Find a shady area, drink plenty of water, and cool yourself down. If there’s a nearby stream, splash your face, neck, and wrists with cool water. Don’t try to hike further until your symptoms have completely faded. If you try to exert yourself too soon, the symptoms will only increase your chance of a heat stroke.
Summer thunderstorms are predicted for this weekend. Although, unexpected thunderstorms can pop up in the high elevation mountains even when not in the forecast, when temperatures get to the high 80s and low 90s.
If you find yourself on a summit with a storm approaching, quickly get yourself back below tree line to an area where the forest trees are evenly spread. If in a group, spread out while descending. Don’t sit under an isolated tree or near tree bases, overhanging rocks, or near streams of water. Continue to the lowest ground possible or if in a safer place, sit on your backpack with your feet together to minimize your contact with the ground.
Pro tip for hiking in the summer: Start early in the morning when temperatures are cool!
Holiday Weekend: Crowds, Parking & More
Towns, villages, trails, and parking areas are all expected to be very busy this weekend. Trailhead parking areas, lean-tos, and primitive campsites will fill early. Now is a great chance to seek outdoor recreation opportunities in lesser used areas of the Adirondacks.
Know the parking regulations before you travel, and plan alternative hikes in case parking areas are full. Plan to arrive early to trailheads.
Remember there are parking restrictions along Route 73. Violators will be ticketed and the fines are hefty. Park only in designated pull offs and parking areas. You don’t want to end a great day of hiking with an expensive parking ticket!
Remember to share with the roads with cyclists who are training for the Lake Placid Ironman at the end of July. Motorists should be alert on all roadways, and double check shoulders before turning into parking areas, driveways, or onto other roads.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks. This is more important than ever during busy hiking weekends.
Remember when you’re on the summit of a hike peak enjoying the rewards of your hike to watch where your’e walking. The High Peaks are home to rare and endangered alpine vegetation that live and thrive on these rocky summits.
Keep a clean trail and summit so alpine vegetation can grow healthy and freely. Stay on the trail and on the rocks to avoid trampling and damaging the vegetation. Carry a rock to the summit to help summit stewards build trail cairns and rock screes that hep protect the vegetation.
Current Trail Conditions
The Muddy Trail Advisory has been lifted. Trails are still muddy above 2,500 feet and in certain other locations. Keep walking through mud and not around it when you encounter it, to protect trails and trailside vegetation.
Trails are slippery and unstable when wet and muddy, especially on steeper slopes. Hikers should use caution. Sturdy boots and trekking poles provide traction and added balance in these conditions. If you don’t desire to have muddy shoes, hike any of the numerous trails under 2,500 feet.
Bear Advisories & Bear Canisters
While preparing for your camping or hiking trip check area notices for active 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 waste, and then what to do if you happen to encounter a bear.
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks through November 30th; they’re highly encouraged elsewhere. All food, toiletries, and garbage should be stored in these canisters.
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.
The fire danger is currently low.
Seasonal Access Roads – A Few are Closed
All but a few seasonal access roads are open. The following seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicle use: Rock Dam Road in Moose River Plains Wild Forest, the Terry Mountain State Forest, Gay Pond Road in Lake George Wild Forest (because of extensive blowdown), and Pumpkin Hollow Road in Wilcox Forest.
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.
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 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.
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.
Rock Climbing Routes
Some Adirondack rock climbing routes are closed to protect peregrine falcon nest sites.
Ausable Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract/High Peaks & Giant Mountain Wilderness
Hikers planning to use the AMR parking lots and hike any of the nearby trails should identify alternative hikes before arriving as the lots will fill quickly. You will be ticketed if you park illegally.
John Brown Conservation Easement Tract
The Brown Tract Trail will be closed for three weeks while logging operations take place.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Work on the Gulf Book Road has been delayed. The road will be open seven days a week to the Fly Pond Parking Area until further notice. The DEC will provide notice when the work starts, and the road will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only.
West Canada Lake Wilderness
Trails throughout the area contain significant amount of blowndown. Blowdown is particularly prevalent on the Northville-Placid Trail and Cedar Lakes Trail. Plan for hikes to take longer due to working through or around blowdown.
Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract
Mountain Pond Road is 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 re-routed around the construction underway to make significant improvements to Olympic Sports Complex facilities.
Hikers can park at the Biathlon 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.
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.