As we ease into the fall season we’ll want to dress in warm layers for our Adirondack hikes. Keep reading to see everything else you need to know for this weekend.
Current Weather Forecast
- Crown Point: Fri 74° and partly cloudy, Sat 70° and scattered showers, Sun 69° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 68° and partly cloudy, Sat 65° and scattered showers, Sun 60° and mostly sunny
- Lake George: Fri 75° and partly cloudy, Sat 71° and partly cloudy, Sun 70° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 69° and partly cloudy, Sat 63° and scattered showers, Sun 58° and scattered showers
- Malone: Fri 73° and partly cloudy, Sat 65° and scattered showers, Sun 60° and scattered showers
- North Creek: Fri 69° and mostly sunny, Sat 66° and partly cloudy, Sun 63° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 70° and partly cloudy, Sat 64° and scattered showers, Sun 58° and scattered showers
- Speculator: Fri 68° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and scattered showers, Sun 60° and mostly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 75° and partly cloudy, Sat 70° and partly cloudy, Sun 69° and partly cloudy
Fall is arriving! Leaves are just starting to change color and temperatures are cooling. Mornings and nights have temperatures dropping into the 40s. Start your hike in the morning with warm layers and pack extra layers.
Also take a look at when the sun will set on the day of your hike, so you can plan to complete your trip during daylight hours. Always bring a headlamp and extra batteries with you just in case.
Higher elevations will be colder throughout the day. Be sure to pack extra layers of clothing when hiking to a summit above 2,500 feet.
Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the hike, and pack extra clothes for variances in weather conditions. 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.
Other essentials to keep in your pack: a pocket knife, duct tape to patch ripped jackets or broken poles, a headlamp for unexpected trips out in the dark or overnight stays, space blanket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, fire making tools, and extra layers and socks.
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.
Events to Be Aware Of
The Adirondack Canoe Classic (aka The 90 Miler) long distance paddling race takes place this weekend. Expect to encounter of hundreds of paddlers on the Adirondack Canoe Route between Old Forge and Saranac Lake as follows:
- Friday (Old Forge to Blue Mountain Lake): Waters include First through Eighth Lake of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Brown Tract Inlet, Raquette Lake, Marion River, Utowana Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake
- Saturday (Long Lake to “The Crusher” Boat Launch near Tupper Lake): Waters include Long Lake and Raquette River
- Sunday (Fish Creek Campground to Saranac Lake): Waters include Fish Creek Ponds, Upper Saranac Lake, Middle Saranac Lake, Lower Saranac Lake, First Pond, Second Pond, Saranac River, Oseetah Lake, and Lake Flower)
The Lake Placid Ironman 70.3 takes place on Sunday. Road closures will affect roadside parking areas on Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene as well as roadside parking areas between Lake Placid, Wilmington, and Ausable Forks.
Looking Ahead – Things to Know
Beginning September 13th through October 6th, and Friday through Monday Columbus Day Weekend, Essex County will run the Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle, providing free rides to and from four stops which access six hiking trails: Whiteface Landing Trailhead, Copperas Pond Trailhead, Bear Den Mountain Trailhead, and Whiteface Mountain Ski Lodge.
Current Trail Conditions
Due to recent heavy rains trails are 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 – stay in the center of the trail and walk through the 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.
Water Levels – For Boaters, Paddlers & Anglers
Due to the recent heavy rains 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 will begin closing the gates overnight at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George on Friday, 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.
Trout & Salmon Info
Trout and salmon can experience physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70 degrees F. In streams, heat-stressed fish will seek deep pockets of cold water, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reservoirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from potentially fatal levels of heat stress.
Anglers can help trout and salmon by taking the following precautions during warm-weather fishing trips:
- Avoid catch-and-release fishing for heat stressed trout on hot days
- Don’t disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers
- Fish early in the day
- Always have an alternative fishing plan in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination
Bugs are still out. Expect to encounter deer flies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums (biting gnats), and ticks.
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-Resistant Canisters
While preparing for your camping or hiking trip check area notices for active bear advisories. If there are active bears where you’re planning to go, either choose an alternative trip or thoroughly educate yourself on how to reduce your chance of a bear encounter with proper storage, disposal of food waste, and 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. 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.
Be Aware of Parking Restrictions
Parking is prohibited on the shoulders of State Route 73 between Chapel Pond and Rooster Comb Trailhead. Violators will be ticketed and the fines are hefty. Park in designated pull offs and trailhead parking areas only.
Hikers planning to use the AMR parking lots and hike any of the nearby trails are recommended to identify alternative hikes before arriving as the lots fill quickly.
Plan Ahead – Bathroom Breaks & Trash
Prepare to take responsible bathroom breaks in the woods by packing the following: earth-friendly toilet paper, a small shovel to dig a cathole (a stick also works), and a sealable bag to carry out all toilet paper when a cathole is not used.
Deposit and bury solid human waste and toilet paper in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet away from water, camps, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Don’t leave your toilet paper lying on the ground – this is unsanitary for pets, wildlife, and others. And pack hand sanitizer!
When it comes to trash, carry everything out you carried in with you, including wrappers, food scraps, and tissues. Trailhead portable toilets are not acceptable trash receptacles. Bringing an extra baggie makes it easy to pack your waste and bring it with you until there’s a proper place to dispose of it.
A note on food scraps: When foods craps are tossed in the woods they can attract wildlife like bears and deer. Eating these can have harmful impacts. It’s easy to think it’s okay, because it’s biodegradable, but it actually takes over two years for food scraps to begin to decompose.
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.
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.
The fire danger is currently low.
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.
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
Beginning Friday, 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.