Although today is Friday the 13th you might get lucky with a gorgeous hike in the Adirondacks – the fall foliage is just starting to come out! We are looking at rain forecasted for one of the days this weekend, and there are other things to know before heading out.
The Weather Forecast
- Crown Point: Fri 72° and mostly sunny, Sat 71° and scattered showers, Sun 73° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 65° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and showers, Sun 66° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 74° and mostly sunny, Sat 72° and showers, Sun 77° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 66° and mostly sunny, Sat 66° and scattered showers, Sun 64° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 71° and mostly sunny, Sat 71° and scattered showers, Sun 65° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 66° and mostly sunny, Sat 66° and showers, Sun 68° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 67° and mostly sunny, Sat 67° and scattered showers, Sun 64° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 65° and mostly sunny, Sat 64° and showers, Sun 67° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 72° and mostly sunny, Sat 70° and scattered showers, Sun 73° and partly cloudy
The summer temperatures are starting to cool down. The above forecast is for the highs of the day; remember that the mornings (when you’ll likely be starting your hike) and evenings are much cooler, dropping into the 40s.
Start your hike in warm layers and pack extra warm layers. Higher elevations will be colder throughout the day as well. Pack a windbreaker to help keep you warm when on exposed overlooks and summits.
Campers should be aware of the cooler temperatures and pack warm clothes and sleeping bags rated for colder weather.
Properly Prepare for Your Hike
In addition to the temperature dropping the days are getting shorter, so make sure to plan your hike accordingly to ensure you have plenty of daylight for your trip.
Prevent hypothermia by dressing properly, staying dry, and adding or removing layers as needed to regulate your body temperature. Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink, and rest often. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes your more susceptible to hypothermia. Pack extra noncotton, warm, and wind protectant layers including a hat and gloves for summits.
Always carry the following on any hike or paddle: water, a working headlamp or flashlight along with extra batteries, a map of the area, and food.
It’s also recommended to carry a pocket knife, duct tape to patch ripped jeans or broken poles, a space blanket, an emergency whistle, a first aid kit, and fire making tools.
Plan Ahead With Parking
Hiking continues to be a popular activity as we transition to fall. Parking areas and trailheads still fill up early. Plan to arrive early to get a parking spot and if one is not available, have an alternative hike planned.
Don’t park along roadways where no parking signs are present. You will be ticketed and it will be expensive. Be aware of slower vehicles entering and exiting parking areas as well as people crossing roads.
In particular, parking is not allowed on the shoulders of State Route 73 in the four-mile section between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead.
Dogs Should be Leashed
If you’re hiking with your dog make sure to keep your pet on a leash. Wildlife is very active this time of year as the animals prepare for the upcoming winter.
Keeping your pet on a leash avoids startling wildlife or trampling habitats. It also protects your pet from negative encounters with larger wildlife, and from startling another pet who may be leashed.
Remember that others may not feel the same about your dog as you do, and a lot of adults and children fear these animals. Please be consider it of this and keep your pet close to you.
If you get lost or injured, keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service call 911 or the DEC at 518.891.0235.
Fall Foliage Report
Leaves have begun to change colors in the higher elevations!
Pilot Hiker Shuttle
Starting today, Friday, September 13th and going through Columbus Day Essex County is operating the Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle providing free rides Friday through Sunday to and from four stops which access six family-friendly hikes.
Current Trail Conditions
Due to recent rains, trails may be wet and muddy, especially in low areas and along water. Wear footwear suitable for hiking through wet and muddy areas. Protect trails and trailside vegetation by staying in the center of the trail and walking through mud and water, not around.
Be aware that water levels will increase during and immediately after significant rain events, and low water crossings may be difficult to cross.
Fewer mosquitoes are present, but tick season is still in full swing and will be until the ground freezes or is covered with snow.
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.
Big game, small game, and waterfowl hunting seasons are either open or will be open soon.
Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands.
Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. You can wear bright colors if it makes you feel safer.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks.
This week the DEC reminds us to adhere to the following tips to minimize light pollution while camping:
Choose warm colored lights. Camp lights that are warmer in color have less impact on wildlife and other campers.
Limit use of light whenever possible. When you’re not in your tent or camper, there is no need to have the lights on. This will not only save the life of your lights, but have less impacts on wildlife and surrounding campers. Use a headlamp only when needed, and avoid shining it directly at other people or campsites.
Use lights that point in a more downward direction. This will maximize light where you need it most and avoid shining unnecessary light elsewhere.
Think twice about a campfire in backcountry. If a fire is necessary to cook food, try bringing a lightweight stove instead. This will not only limit unnecessary light pollution but will also help minimize negative environmental impacts from campfires.
Seasonal Access Roads
Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be rough. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads.
The fire danger is currently low.
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. You may also want bear spray.
Please note that there continues to be high nuisance bear activity from the area at Marcy Dam through Avalanche Pass to Lake Colden and Uphill Lean-to/campsites.
Please report nuisance bear incidents to the DEC.
For the Bikers
Due to recent heavy rains trails are wet and muddy, especially in low areas and along water. Don’t ride on muddy trails. They’re easily rutted and damaged through use. If you’re leaving tracks, turn back.
Remember that electric powered bikes (e-bikes) are prohibited on all bike trails on the Forest Preserve.
Water Levels – For Boaters, Paddlers & Anglers
Water levels in many rivers and streams have risen to average and above average levels. Shallow sections of rivers and streams may be “bony” or otherwise too shallow to float through.
Water temperatures are warm, though high elevation brooks are cool.
Personal flotation devices are strongly recommended to be worn by all boaters, paddlers, and anglers.
The DEC began closing the gates overnight at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George on September 6th as part of a pilot program to increase protection from aquatic invasive species on the lake. The overnight closure will continue to the end of October.
Rock Climbing Routes
All rock climbing routes are open! The DEC appreciates the climbing community’s cooperation during the closure period to allow peregrine falcons to nest.
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.
Boreas Pond Tract
As of September 6th Gulf Brook Road is open to motor vehicle use to the Four Corners Parking Lot. Hikers and horseback riders may travel one mile between the parking lot to the Boreas Ponds dam. Hikers and horseback riders may also travel on any of the numerous miles of roadway.
Bicyclists may ride on Gulf Brook Road and the roadway to Boreas Ponds as far as the gate which is located 500 feet from the Boreas Ponds dam. Paddlers may carry one mile to access the water near the Boreas Ponds dam.
Or, paddlers can drop off canoes or kayaks and equipment at a waterway access site on LaBier Flow, 0.1 mile away from the Four Corners Parking Lot before parking. Paddlers may then paddle halfway down LaBier Flow and carry 0.3 mile to access the water near Boreas Ponds dam.
Campers can camp at large providing they are more than 150 feet away from any road, trail, or surface water.
Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest
A major dam rehabilitation project is currently being planned for the Lows Lower Dam (aka Bog River Dam) – the paddlers access site for Hitchens Pond and Lows Lake. The project will likely begin in Spring of 2020. Possible impacts to public access include:
- Temporary road and access closures
- Traffic controls including flag persons, construction fence, etc.
- Shared road/parking areas with construction vehicles
- Different parking, drop-off, and launching schemes
- Increased informational signage
High Peaks Wilderness
Garden Trailhead parking lot will remain closed until late September. Hikers can only access the Garden Trailhead using the shuttle from Marcy Field until then. Check the town of Keene for the shuttle schedule and additional information.
The Bradley Pond Lean-to has been repaired by volunteers from the Adirondacks 46ers.
The Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail, which opened last fall, will be re-routed around the construction underway to make significant improvements to the Olympic Sports Complex facilities. Hikers can park at the Biathlon Facility parking area in the Complex and use a marked 1-mile detour bypassing the construction zone using roads, ski trails, and a temporary trail to reach the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail.
It’s a 3.8-mile roundtrip hike from the parking area to the summit and back. 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 can also reach the summit using the traditional 2.4-mile (4.4-mile roundtrip) Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail which begins at the trailhead on Meadows Lane.
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.
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.
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.
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 in the 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.
Dix Mountain Area/Eastern Zone of High Peaks Wilderness
The lands of the Dix Mountain Area are now part of the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness. All regulations applicable to the Eastern Zone are now in effect, including by not limited to:
Group size: Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than eight campers.
Bear-resistant canisters: These are required for overnight users between April 1st and November 30th. All food, toiletries, and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.
Glass containers: Glass containers are prohibited.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
The State Department of Transportation is replacing the Spider Creek Culvert on State Route 30 between Follensby Clear Pond and Fish Creek Ponds.
Watercrafts are not able to pass through the culvert. A temporary carry to bypass the culvert has not been established yet. People seeking to paddle in this part of the Adirondacks should consider using existing canoe routes that avoid this culvert.
Parking at the water access site near the construction site will be open but may be congested. The northern entrance to this parking area will be blocked. The culvert will be closed through November.
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.