It’s going to be a busy yet fun Columbus Day Weekend in the Adirondack Park! The holiday weekend is always a popular time to go for a hike in the region, especially if you’re a fan of beautiful fall foliage. To help you prepare, check out the latest updates on parking restrictions, trail conditions, and more below!
Weekend Weather Conditions
- Crown Point: Fri 64° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and partly cloudy, Sun 61° and partly cloudy, Mon 64° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 62° and sunny, Sat 62° and mostly cloudy, Sun 58° and partly cloudy, Mon 58° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 65° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and partly cloudy, Sun 61° and partly cloudy, Mon 64° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 61° and sunny, Sat 62° and mostly cloudy, Sun 58° and mostly sunny, Mon 55° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 65° and sunny, Sat 64° and mostly cloudy, Sun 60° and sunny, Mon 57° and PM showers
- North Creek: Fri 63° and sunny, Sat 64° and partly cloudy, Sun 60° and partly cloudy, Mon 60° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 63° and sunny, Sat 63° and mostly cloudy, Sun 58° and mostly sunny, Mon 56° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 64° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and partly cloudy, Sun 60° and partly cloudy, Mon 63° and partly cloudy
Adirondack mornings and nights are cold, with low temperatures dipping into the 30s this weekend. Start your morning hike in warm layers. Put on a windbreaker to help keep you warm when on exposed overlooks and summits.
To prevent hypothermia dress properly, stay dry, and add or remove layers as needed to regulate your body temperature. Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink, and rest often. Being hungry, tired, or dehydrated makes you more vulnerable to hypothermia.
Plan Ahead With Parking During the Holiday Weekend
Don’t end a rewarding hike with a parking ticket during Columbus Day Weekend! Plan to arrive early to get a parking spot and if one is not available, have an alternative hike planned.
You can expect to encounter many vehicles on the roads and people on the trails and water. Be aware of these parking restrictions and notices:
- Vehicles illegally parked along Ausable Road will be towed.
- Temporary 45mph speed zones will be set up on:
- State Route 73 on either side of the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead
- State Route 73 on either side of the Cascade Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain Trailheads
- State Route 3 on either side of the Ampersand Mountain Trailhead
- Do not park on the shoulders of State Route 73 in the four-mile section between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead. Parking is allowed at trailheads and at other designated pull-offs. The AMR parking lots in particular fill quickly.
- Law enforcement agencies will increase their presence during the holiday weekend, and additional forest rangers will be positioned at trailheads and other locations.
- The road between Main Street and the Horse Show Grounds will be closed to one lane during the Lake Placid Classic Half Marathon (8:00am-12:00pm on Saturday, October 12). Use caution.
Essentials for Fall Hikes
The DEC recommends the following for fall hikes:
- Waterproof hiking boots with wool socks
- Warm layers to prevent hypothermia, including hat and gloves
- Wind protectant layer for open overlooks and summits
- Headlamp with extra batteries – even if you plan to hike in the daylight
- Plenty of food and water
- Thermos of hot cocoa, coffee, tea, or soup to warm up or in case of emergencies
- First aid kit
- Emergency basics you should always have in your pack: space blanket, matches and fire starters, pocket knife, para cord or rope, iodine tablets or water filtration system, extra batteries
Pilot Hiker Shuttle
Now through Columbus Day in Essex County, the Whiteface-Lake Placid Hiker Shuttle is providing free rides Friday through Sunday to and from four stops which access six family-friendly hikes.
For the Fall Paddlers & Anglers
If you’re planning to take in the fall scenery on the waterways this season remember that the water has now cooled significantly. Wear or pack warm layers. Always wear your personal flotation device while on the water this time of year.
Through the end of October, gates will be closed overnight at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George as part of a pilot program to increase protection from aquatic invasive species on the lake.
Water levels in many rivers and streams are in the average to above average range. Boaters should still use caution, especially in shallow or unfamiliar waters.
Again, it’s strongly recommended for all anglers, boaters, and paddlers to wear personal flotation devices.
For the Fall Campers
The ground is getting colder with the dropping temperatures. It’s time to start using sleeping pads and cold temperature rated sleeping bags. For extra warmth, try filling up a Nalgene with hot water right before bed and tucking it into your sleeping bag overnight.
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
Check out the latest fall foliage report!
Current Trail Conditions
Due to recent rains, trails may be wet and muddy 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 mud and water, not around it.
Be aware that water levels will increase during and immediately after significant rain events. Low water crossings may be difficult to cross.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and natural resources of the Adirondacks. This includes keeping pets on leashes, properly disposing of trash, and more.
For the Bikers
Due to recent rains, trails may be wet and muddy in low areas and along water. Don’t ride on the 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.
Fire danger is low throughout the Adirondacks. DEC forest rangers extinguished seven wildland fires in the month of September. All were started by un-extinguished or improperly maintained campfires. Be safe with campfires.
Ticks are Still Out
Follow these steps to protect against ticks and prevent disease: 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 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 report nuisance bear incidents to the DEC.
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.
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.
Rock Climbing Routes
All Adirondack rock climbing routes are open. The DEC appreciates the cooperation of the climbing community during the closure period.
Seasonal Access Roads
Seasonal access roads typically remain open until the end of the northern zone regular big game hunting season unless snow or other conditions warrant an early closure.
Seasonal access roads are zone 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.
Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend Plan for Sentinel Range & High Peaks Wilderness
The DEC and partners will be undertaking additional efforts as part of a comprehensive effort to ensure the safety of motorists and hikers around some of the busiest trailheads in the Adirondack High Peaks.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement
The Barnes Pond Road, which provides access to six primitive campsites and the interior of the Barnes Pond Public Use Area, is open for public motor vehicle use. The road will remain open until the end of the northern zone regular big game hunting season or unless snow or other conditions warrant an early closure.
High Peaks Wilderness
The Garden Trailhead Parking Lot reopened on Friday, September 27th. The Town of Keene will continue to operate the Garden Hiker Shuttle between the Marcy Field Parking Lot and the Garden Trailhead on weekends from 7am to 7pm through Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving.
Gates on two roads in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex will open on October 11 and offer hunters and others motor vehicle access to additional lands and roadside primitive tent sites.
The Bradley Pond Lean-to has been repaired by volunteers from the Adirondacks 46ers.
The roadway on the Bradley Pond Trail has been washed out by the Harkness Lake Outlet approximately half a mile from the parking lot. Hikers will be unable to cross the outlet when water levels are high
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.
The Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Trail and the summit of the Stillwater Mountain are closed to public use from October 8 until December 20.
Boreas Pond Tract
A new ADA accessible lean-to has been constructed on a site overlooking Boreas Ponds thanks to work by DEC staff, NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Moriah Shock Camp Crew, and members of Lean2Rescue.
A 1.3-mile section of the Boreas Road, between the Four Corners Parking Lot and the Brace Brook Parking Lot, is open. Parking is limited to the four number parking spaces in the parking lot, and you can not park on the shoulders of the road. This road and parking lot will remain open until the end of the northern zone regular big game hunting season unless snow or other conditions warrant an early closure.
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.
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.
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.