Happy Valentine’s Day to you active, outdoorsy couples out there! If you’re heading out for a romantic – or any kind of – hike this weekend read the below info to stay safe out there.
Check the Weather & Stay Safe
- Crown Point: Fri 10° and mostly sunny, Sat 25° and mostly sunny, Sun 40° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 7° and partly cloudy, Sat 22° and mostly sunny, Sun 32° and mostly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 24° and snow, Sat 7° and mostly sunny, Sun 31° and mostly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 4° and mostly sunny, Sat 24° and mostly sunny, Sun 32° and cloudy
- Malone: Fri 4° and mostly sunny, Sat 28° and partly cloudy, Sun 34° and cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 9° and partly cloudy, Sat 22° and mostly sunny, Sun 34° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 5° and mostly sunny, Sat 25° and partly cloudy, Sun 33° and cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 9° and mostly sunny, Sat 24° and mostly sunny, Sun 40° and partly cloudy
Winter conditions are present throughout the Adirondacks. Check the National Weather Service or NY Mesonow for updated hazardous weather notices, current conditions, and forecasts for the location where you plan to recreate.
Snow depths range from 1 to 2 feet across most of the Adirondacks. Snow depths in the High Peaks Region are up to 30 inches deep, and even deeper in the higher elevations. Snow depths range from 6 to 12 inches along the eastern edge of the Adirondacks. Snow depths below the tree line and in other protected areas will be much deeper than snow depths at the trailhead.
Temperatures and wind chills are below freezing on the summits. Cover all exposed skin. Winds will be stronger at the summits and on exposed outlooks. Summit conditions are also icy and warrant the use of trail crampons. Weather is unpredictable on the mountain summits. Be prepared to turn around if need be.
Educate Yourself on Avalanche Safety
Snow loads and recent weather have resulted in an increase risk of avalanche events in the High Peaks region and other high elevation mountains. Know how to determine avalanche danger, avoid avalanches, and self-rescue if caught in an avalanche.
Call for Help in Emergency Situations
If you get lost or injured keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0235.
Wear Proper Footwear
Wear insulated, waterproof boots with warm, wool socks to keep feet dry. Trail crampons (foot traction devices) should be carried on all hikes and used when warranted.
The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommend whenever snow depths exceed 8 inches. Using snowshoes eases travel on snow, prevents post holing which can ruin trails, and reduces injuries from trips and falls.
Know What to Expect on the Trails
All trails are covered in deep snow. Conditions are excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Secondary and lesser-used trails may still be covered in fresh snow. Remember that it takes more time and energy to break through trail through deep, fresh snow – plan accordingly.
If you’re on a designated snowmobile trail watch and listen for snowmobiles and move to the side of the trail as necessary to allow them to safely pass.
Practice Leave No Trace
Follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace, which includes respecting wildlife, disposing of waste properly, and more.
Stay Safe Near Waterbodies
Ice has formed on most waterways. A couple inches of layers of water, slush, and thin ice is present above the ice and below the snow on most water bodies. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it, and avoid ice over running water, inlets, and outlets.
Continue to Use Caution at Water Crossings
Be safe at water 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.
Conditions Look Good for Snowmobilers
Trail conditions are good to excellent throughout the Adirondacks and most trail systems should be open, but still check before going.
Blowdown has been removed from the Wilmington Snowmobile Trail between Wilmington and Forestdale Road and the spur trail to the Cooper Kiln Pond. The trails are open and have good snow conditions.
Watch for skiers and snowshoers using snowmobile trails and slow down to safely pass them. Always yield to snowmobile trail groomers.
Leave the Drones at Home
Drones are motorized equipment and operating drones on lands classified as wilderness, primitive, or canoe is prohibited.
Other Happenings to Know About
The second of three Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends takes place this weekend. There’s plenty of snow, daytime high temperatures should be in the mid to high 20s. This is a great event to attend and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family!
The DEC is hiring for High Peaks trail crew (10 positions), Ray Brook trail crew (one position) and Marcy Dam interior caretaker (one position). Email Info.R5@DEC.NY.gov if you’re interested.
High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Colden Caretaker Report: There’s 46 inches of snow present at the stake at the cabin and 5+ feet of snow present in the higher elevations.
Corey’s Road is 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.
The new Van Hoevenberg East Trail cannot be accessed due to construction activity at the Olympic Sports Center.
There is significant blowdown on the Phelps Trail before you reach Slant Rock. It’s difficult to get through the blowdown. The DEC is developing a plan to clear a way.
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.
Elk Lake Road is open to 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. Currently the trail is 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 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.
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.