If you’re itching to get outside but don’t feel comfortable attending events this weekend (or your plans got cancelled), consider a hike! There are some weather and trail notices to check out first to ensure a safe and enjoyable excursion.
For those who are concerned about the Coronavirus: the DEC, which is a reputable organization whose information we rely upon for these hiking conditions reports, is pointing us to the Department of Health’s page for information.
The Current Weather Forecast
- Crown Point: Fri 50° and rain, Sat 45° and partly cloudy, Sun 35° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 43° and rain, Sat 36° and partly cloudy, Sun 31° and sunny
- Lake George: Fri 52° and rain, Sat 49° and mostly sunny, Sun 43° and sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 46° and rain, Sat 36° and partly cloudy, Sun 28° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 49° and rain, Sat 39° and partly cloudy, Sun 29° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 46° and rain, Sat 40° and partly cloudy, Sun 35° and sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 46° and rain, Sat 37° and partly cloudy, Sun 28° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 51° and showers, Sat 45° and partly cloudy, Sun 34° and partly cloudy
With the exception of today, Friday, this weekend’s weather looks good for winter weather activities and recreation – depending on where you go (see trail conditions section below).
Recent warm temperatures and rain have reduced the snowpack in lower and middle elevations. Little to no snow is present in the southern and northeastern Adirondacks. The deepest snows are found in the Central and Northern Adirondacks and at higher elevations. Even where snow is present, open areas and south facing slopes may be bare.
Temperatures are much colder and winds stronger on exposed outlooks and summits. Rocky summits may be scoured of snow by the winds – conditions may be icy and warrant the use of trail crampons. Otherwise, snow depths at and near summits will be much deeper than snow depths at trailheads. Weather on mountain summits can be unpredictable. Be prepared to turn around, especially if you encounter whiteout conditions.
Always check the weather again before you head out:
Brush Burning Prohibited
The DEC reminds residents that residential brush burning is prohibited from March 16 to May 14, due to an increased risk of wildfires.
Know What the Trail Conditions Are
Strong winds today, Friday the 13th, will likely result in blowdown on the trails this weekend. Some areas may have heavy blowdown that will be hard or impossible to get through or around. Consider returning to the trailhead if it’s extensive. And please report any significant blowdown to Info.R5@dec.ny.gov.
Trail conditions are poor to fair at lower elevations – expect to encounter plenty of bare ground, mud, water, ice, and thin snow. Conditions are fair to good at middle elevations – expect to encounter patches of bare ground, mud, and ice. Conditions are good to excellent at higher elevations, though trails may be rocky and icy at water crossings and along waterways.
If you’re on a designated snowmobile trail watch and listen for snowmobiles and move aside for them as necessary.
As of this writing the March Santanoni Winter Weekend is still scheduled and conditions are expected to be good in that region.
There is Still an Increased Avalanche Risk
Deep and windblown snow with numerous and varied layers yields an increased 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.
Be Prepared With Proper Footwear
The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommend on all trails throughout the Adirondacks at this time. Trail crampons (foot traction devices) should be carried on all hikes and used when warranted.
What the Water Levels Look Like
Streams and rivers are open and running high. Use caution at crossings and on trails along fast-flowing brooks and rivers. Rocks and other surfaces may be covered with ice. Wear crampons, and use steel or carbide pointed hiking poles.
Ice on Waterbodies
Ice is thinning, especially around the shorelines. Ice is not present on most streams and rivers. Use caution and always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, inlets, and outlets.
Important note: All fishing shanties must be off the ice by the end of the day on Saturday the 14th.
Leave the Drones at Home
Drones are motorized equipment and operating drones on lands classified as wilderness, primitive, or canoe is prohibited.
The DEC is Hiring
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 41 inches of snow present at the stake at the cabin, and 5+ feet of snow in higher elevations. South Meadows Trail is thin and icy in spots for the first half-mile. The Van Hoevenberg Trail to Marcy Dam has bare and icy spots. Stream crossings may be difficult due to high waters.
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.
Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
The Linsey Marsh Trail contains a lot of blowdown. Many other trails in this area are likely to have lots of blowdown from the February 7th storm as well.
Terry Mountain State Forest
Red Road is closed for mud season. It will reopen to public motor vehicle access when the frost has left the ground, the road has dried, and any necessary repairs and maintenance are completed.
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.