The weather looks good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the Adirondack this weekend, but there is still a risk of avalanche, and other things to know.
The Weather Report: Cold Temperatures But Sunny Skies
- Crown Point: Fri 41° and snow showers, Sat 36° and sunny, Sun 49° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 38° and cloudy, Sat 31° and sunny, Sun 44° and mostly sunny
- Lake George: Fri 44° and snow showers, Sat 40° and sunny, Sun 51° and mostly sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 35° and snow showers, Sat 29° and sunny, Sun 42° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 34° and snow showers, Sat 30° and sunny, Sun 44° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 39° and cloudy, Sat 34° and sunny, Sun 46° and mostly sunny
- Saranac Lake: Fri 36° and snow showers, Sat 30° and sunny, Sun 43° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 40° and rain and snow, Sat 34° and partly cloudy, Sun 50° and partly cloudy
We’re looking at lots of sun this weekend! There will be below freezing temperatures on Saturday and then we’ll see temps in the 40s on Sunday.
Last week’s significant snowfall followed by rain and warm temperatures has resulted in a consolidation of the snowpack. Snow depths range from 1 to 2 feet across most of the Adirondacks. Snow depths range from 4 to 12 inches in the Southeastern Adirondacks and the lower elevations along the perimeter of the region. Snow depths are 5 to 7 feet on most waterways.
Temperatures and wind chills are below freezing at the summits. Keep all exposed skin covered. Winds will be 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.
Snow depths at and near the summits will be much deeper than snow depths at the trailhead. Remember that weather is unpredictable on mountain summits. Be prepared to turn around, especially if you encounter whiteout conditions.
Check the weather again before your excursion:
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.
Current Trail Conditions: Snowy
Trail conditions are very good to excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in all but the Southeastern Adirondacks, where conditions should be good. Secondary, lesser-used trails may not have been used since last week’s snowstorm and so may have unbroken, deep snow. Remember that it takes more time and energy to break trail through a lot of snow than it otherwise would on the same trail. Plan accordingly.
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.
If you’re on a designated snowmobile trail watch and listen for snowmobiles when traveling on designated snowmobile trails. Move to the side of the trial and allow snowmobiles 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.
For the Snowmobilers
Trail conditions are good to excellent throughout most the Adirondacks. Check local trail status and conditions before going. Watch for skiers and snowshoers using snowmobile trails and slow down to safely pass them. Always yield to snowmobile trail groomers.
Ice on Waterbodies
Be safe on the ice, especially when ice fishing. A couple inches of layers of water, slush, and thin ice are present above the ice and below the snow on most water bodies. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets, and near boathouses and docks, especially those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices.
Remember that ice that holds snow may not be able to hold the weight of a person.
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: The last report on record is from February 26th when there was 45 inches of snow present at the stake at the cabin and 6 to 7 feet of snow present in 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.