The good news: It’s going to be unusually warm this weekend. The bad news: It’s also going to rain a lot, resulting in sloppy conditions on the trails. Get the weather forecast and more below.
Current Weather Report
- Crown Point: Fri 40° and snow showers, Sat 53° and rain, Sun 45° and rain
- Indian Lake: Fri 39° and showers, Sat 51° and rain, Sun 50° and showers
- Lake George: Fri 40° and freezing rain, Sat 55° and showers, Sun 54° and rain
- Lake Placid: Fri 39° and scattered showers, Sat 50° and rain, Sun 43° and rain and snow
- Malone: Fri 42° and showers, Sat 52° and rain, Sun 30° and snow with brief sleet
- North Creek: Fri 39° and snow with brief sleet, Sat 52° and rain, Sun 49° and scattered showers
- Saranac Lake: Fri 39° and rain and snow, Sat 50° and rain, Sun 43° and rain and snow
- Ticonderoga: Fri 38° and snow showers, Sat 52° and rain, Sun 45° and rain
A warming trend starting overnight tonight will result in above freezing temperatures and rain through Saturday. Then heavy rains and strong winds are forecasted for Sunday night through Sunday evening, eventually changing to wet snow.
The sunset is at approximately 4:35pm. Snow depths range from 8 to 12 inches int he lower elevations, and is 3 to 4 feet deep below the tree line. Carry and use snowshoes on all hikes above 2,500 feet. Snow depths will decrease as it rains and the temperature warms.
Temperatures are colder, winds are stronger, snow is deeper, and ice is present at the mountain summits.
Be Prepared for the Weather
Wear insulated, water resistant/waterproof winter hiking boots; waterproof/wind resistant outer shell; layers of non-cotton, wicking fabric; a hat and mittens or gloves; and pack extra clothing.
Pack or carry the following on all hikes: water, working headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries, extra layers of clothes and wool socks, a map of the area, food or snack, trail crampons (foot traction devices), and snowshoes for high elevation hikes and when conditions warrant.
What to Know About the Trail Conditions
Trailheads and parking lots will be a messy mix of ice and slush. Hikers can expect to encounter a variety of mud, slush, and ice in the lower elevations and slush and wet snow on middle elevations.
Skiing conditions are fair to good depending on location and trail surface, but conditions will deteriorate as the weekend progresses.
Many bridges were washed out or damaged in the October 31st storm, leaving some streams impassable. Use caution and be prepared to turn around. Hikers should be aware that not all areas have been assessed by the DEC – the more remote areas are likely to have unreported damage.
There’s heavy blow down in some areas. Be cautious of low hanging branches and unstable fallen trees. Blow down may take considerable time to hike around.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace, including properly disposing of waste in the backcountry, even in the winter.
Use Caution at Water Crossings
Water levels will rise throughout the weekend. Some crossings may be difficult or impossible due to the high water levels this weekend. Be careful at the crossings and on trails along fast-flowing brooks and rivers. Rocks and other surfaces may be covered with ice from splashing water. Wear crampons and use steel or carbide pointed hiking sticks.
Seasonal Access Roads
All seasonal access rods are closed to motor vehicle traffic. Designated snowmobile trails will open when snow depths allow. The roads will reopen after the spring mud season upon completion of all maintenance and repair work.
Leave the Drones at Home
Drones are motorized equipment and operating drones on lands classified as wilderness, primitive, or canoe is prohibited.
For the Snowmobilers
Only a few snowmobile trails are reported as open at this time. Due to lack of snow, trail conditions range from poor to fair on the trails that are open. Conditions are expected to worsen as the weekend progresses because of the warm weather and rain.
Watch for skiers and snowshoers using snowmobile trails and slow down to safely pass.
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker Report: There is 26 inches of snow present at the stake at the cabin. There’s 3 to 4 feet in the higher elevations and on summits. Snowshoes are required to be worn above 2,500 feet and wherever snow exceeds 8 inches.
Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen, but avoid the area around outlets and inlets where ice is thin or not present.
Meadows Lane and South Meadows Truck Trail are passable on skis. Van Hoevenberg Trail from the Loj Trailhead to Marcy Dam is not passable on skis.
There is significant blowdown on the trail between Johns Brook Lodge and Mount Haystack. It is difficult to get through the blowndown. The DEC is working to get more details on the location and to clear the blowdown.
There are 4 to 5 mid-size trees down at various locations on the Big Slide via the Brothers Trail. It’s easy to get around, over, or under them.
Corey’s Road will be open for winter access to the Seward Trailhead. Only four-wheel drive vehicles should use the road. Do not block the road when parking. Bring a shovel, and be prepared to shovel out off-road parking spots and your vehicle when you return from your hike or ski.
Elk Lake Road is open to the Clear Pond Gate. This will add four miles round trip to hikes. Plan accordingly.
Three bridges were washed out on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Repair of the bridges won’t occur until spring 2020. The trail is currently closed to the public through the end of the big game hunting season. When the trail reopens the three crossings will be hazardous except when water levels are low.
The Opalescent Bridge on the East River Trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls is washed out. The river is impassable at this time.
Calamity Trail has several bridges out.
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 1-mile detour bypassing the construction zone roads, ski trails, and a temporary trail to reach the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail.
It’s a 3.8-mile round-trip hike from the parking area to the summit and back. Hikers may also reach the summit using the traditional 2.2-mile (4.4-mile round-trip) Mt. Van Hoevenberg West Trail which begins at the the trailhead on Meadows Lane.
The roof of the Bradley Pond Lean-to was repaired by volunteers from the Adirondack 46ers.
Once again the private landowners have agreed to allow hiking on Owls Head Trail during the week. Parking at the trailhead and hiking the trail are prohibited on weekends.
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.
Cold Brook Trail is not designated DEC trail and is not maintained. The trail has not been maintained since Tropical Storm Irene.
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 those 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 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 int he Slide Brook Area south of Dix Mountain by volunteers from 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.
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 trail tread 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 the 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 lands of the Dix Mountain Area are now part of the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness. The DEC will be changing signs, webpages, and regulations to transition to the High Peaks Wilderness.
All regulations applicable to the Eastern Zone are now in effect including by not limited to the following:
Group size: Groups should consist of no more than 15 hikers and no more than 8 campers.
Bear-resistant canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is 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.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
There is a large tree across the Rocky Peak Ridge Trail. It’s easy to step or slide over the tree trunk.
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.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract (AMR/Ausable Club)
The easement agreement provides for public hiking only on designated trails and roads. Do not trespass on AMR lands and waters, or participate in unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited.