The weather looks fantastic for this weekend, but trailheads and parking lots will be busy, many trails have blowdown you’ll want to watch out for, and there’s more info to check out before hiking in the Adirondacks this weekend.
The Weather Forecast – Lots of Sun!
- Crown Point: Fri 85° and sunny, Sat 76° and partly cloudy, Sun 77° and mostly sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 79° and sunny, Sat 77° and partly cloudy, Sun 73° and mostly sunny
- Lake George: Fri 83° and sunny, Sat 80° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and mostly sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 78° and sunny, Sat 74° and mostly sunny, Sun 75° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 81° and sunny, Sat 74° and sunny, Sun 81° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 81° and sunny, Sat 77° and partly cloudy, Sun 73° and mostly sunny
- Old Forge: Fri 76° and sunny, Sat 79° and partly cloudy, Sun 75° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 79° and sunny, Sat 76° and mostly sunny, Sun 77° and partly cloudy
- Speculator: Fri 78° and sunny, Sat 76° and partly cloudy, Sun 72° and mostly sunny
- Ticonderoga: Fri 84° and sunny, Sat 76° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and mostly sunny
Have Alternative Plans for Your Holiday Weekend Hike
Trails and parking lots are typically busy on holiday weekends, and even more so when the weather forecast is warm and sunny. Combine that with most of us having spent a lot of time indoors recently and we can definitely expect large numbers of vehicles at trailheads, on the trails, at parking lots, and also at boat launches.
Be prepared with three or four solid backup plans. Park only in parking lots and not along roadsides. If the parking lot is full at your desired location, move on to your backup plans until you find a less busy location. If all parking lots are full, head home and come back another day. Parking will be strictly enforced and there will be increased law enforcement presence along the Route 73 corridor.
What to Know for Recreating During the COVID-19 Crisis
Please follow the DEC guidelines for social distancing while recreating outdoors and use common sense to protect yourself and others. Recreate close to home, avoid high-traffic destinations, and keep visits short.
Only recreate with members of your own household. Alert others when you’re about to pass them or step aside to let others pass. Carry a mask with you and wear it when you cannot maintain social distancing. Move quickly through parking lots, trailheads, and scenic areas.
If it’s crowded where you’re going choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. If you’re not feeling well, stay home. If you’re 70 or over, or with a compromised immune system, you should postpone your visit.
Continue to sign in and out at trail registers. Only one person per group should do this. Bring your own pencil or pen and minimize touching surfaces. Use hand sanitizer immediately before and after using the register. Don’t cough or sneeze at the register, or move away if you need to do so, sanitizing before returning.
Hike within the limits of your physical abilities and experience. Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers respond to and assist local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and more. Following this guidance will prevent unnecessary burdens on and dangers to state resources and frontline emergency responders during this crisis.
Trail Conditions in the Adirondacks
Trails will be muddy in middle elevation ranges and in some locations at lower elevations. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to protect trailside vegetation. Dress in layers and be prepared for conditions to change. Temperatures will be lower on summits than at trailheads, and many exposed summits will be windy.
Ice and monorails of packed snow are present at higher elevations. Bring trail crampons and use them when traversing monorails and other icy locations. On either side of these monorails is deep, soft snow which presents a significant risk of postholing.
Use Caution at Water Crossings
Many Adirondack trails encounter water crossings, and not all of them have bridges. Use caution at crossings and on trails along fast-flowing brooks and rivers. Water is still cold at this time and is moving swiftly due to spring snowmelt and recent rains.
Fire Towers are Still Closed
Trails and summits to fire towers are open, but they towers themselves remain closed.
Seasonal Access Roads are Starting to Open
Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel, which can be rough. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads. Roads may be narrow. Use caution, drive slowly, and watch out for uncoming vehicles.
Bugs are Coming Out
Black flies and ticks are present. Wear light colored long sleeve shirts 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 plentiful. Use an insect repellent with DEET and follow the label directions.
Current Fire Danger
The fire danger is currently moderate.
What to Know for Camping
DEC campgrounds and day use areas, including pavilions, beaches, and boat launches located within DEC campgrounds, are closed. The public may enter DEC campgrounds to access trails on the Forest Preserve or to walk or bike on the campground roadways. Motor and motorized vehicles are prohibited from entering DEC campgrounds.
Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds are closed to overnight camping at this time. This includes: Saranac Lake Islands Campground, Indian Lake Campground, Lake George Islands Campground, Tioga Point Campground, Forked Lake Campground, and Alger Island Campground.
The use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time.
Primitive camping is permitted for groups of nine or fewer people from a single household camping three nights or less. Campsites along seasonal access that remain closed will not be accessible by motor vehicle.
Some Boat Launches are Open for Recreational Use
DEC boat launches that are not located within DEC campgrounds are open for recreational use by individuals and households that adhere to the guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19: Try to keep at least six feet of distance from others, avoid close contact like shaking hands, use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available, avoid surfaces touched often, and wear a mask when appropriate.
Boaters and other day users should continue to social distance on the water and on shore, and avoid crowded sites. Boaters and day use visitors should use mainland bathroom facilities before going out on the water, as outhouse facilities at DEC day use sites and campsites are not currently maintained or sanitized.
The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program begins this weekend. Stewards will be present at public boat launches throughout the Adirondacks to check for invasive species on water vessels and educate others about proper clean, drain, and dry techniques and other methods of preventing the spread of aquatic species.
For the Rock Climbers
In the Chapel Pond Area, all rock climbing routes on the Lower Washbowl Cliffs are open. All rock climbing routes on the Upper Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow peregrine falcons to hatch and raise their young.
Lake George Wild Forest
Lake George Beach (Million Dollar Beach) will be open from 10am to 6pm Saturday through Monday. A maximum of 500 people will be allowed on the beach (half its normal capacity). Parking will be capped at 150 vehicles.
In addition, the DEC is erecting a fence on the nearby strip of land on the south shore of Lake George known as “Dog Beach.” This temporary closure is to ensure social distancing and protect public health.
Prospect Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway is closed.
Moose River Plains Complex
The Limekiln Lake Gate at the western end of the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (Moose River Plains Road) is open and the road is open to public motor vehicle use to Campsite #39. The Cedar River Gate at the eastern end of this road is closed due to a large washout that cannot be repaired because the road is still too soft to support road equipment.
Due to seasonal road conditions, the Moose River Plains Recreation Area will be partially opened until further notice. Otter Brook Road is open to the Otter Brook Bridge. Rock Dam Road and Indian Lake road are closed. Roads will be opened as conditions improve and repairs are completed.
High Peaks Wilderness
There are a few mid-sized trees downed across Nippletop via Elk Pass. They’re all past Elk Pass and before the Nippletop summit.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve
Indian Head from Gill Brook Trail has a few smaller trees blocking the trail.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
The Hurricane Mountain East Trail has a few small to mid-sized trees downed across the trail.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
The Saranac River Locks are open and working. The Lower Lock is staffed and the Upper Lock remains self-operational.
Independence River Wild Forest
Big Otter Lake Road is temporarily blocked before Tommy Roaring Brook due to a large washout.
Trails in the Otter Creek Horse Trail system have not been cleared – some trails still have significant amounts of blowdown.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest
The bridge near the beginning of the Hammond Pond Trail washed out during the 2019 Halloween storm and has not been replaced.
Terry Mountain State Forest
The Mud Pond Trail has blowdown. The trail is passable, but some additional effort is required.
Red Road is closed for spring mud season.
Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
Lyon Mountain Trail has blowdown – the trail is passable, but some additional effort is required.
Taylor Pond Wild Forest
Mud Pond Trail off State Route 3 has blowdown. The trail is passable, but some additional effort is required.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Four-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles should be used on Chain Lakes Road South due to the rutting and washouts present.
Ferris Lake Wild Forest
Powley Road is open to public motor vehicle use from the north entrance on State Route 10 to 10 miles south at the Brayhouse Brook crossing. The southern portion of the road is closed for the foreseeable future due to severe damage caused by the 2019 Halloween storm.
Silver Lake Wilderness
West River Road is closed to public motor vehicle use for at least the next few weeks until the Town of Weels replaces a large culvert at the Dugway Creek.