The first day of summer is finally here, and a whole new season of outdoor adventures awaits visitors in the Adirondack Park. However, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts should take note that scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for much of the region this weekend. It’s recommended that you plan ahead, find a lower elevation trail if the forecast changes, and stay safe.
The Current Weather Forecast
- Crown Point: Fri 88° and isolated thunderstorms, Sat 89° and isolated thunderstorms, Sun 87° and mostly sunny
- Indian Lake: Fri 82° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 80° and scattered thunderstorms
- Lake George: Fri 90° and partly cloudy, Sat 91° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 89° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 79° and thunderstorms, Sat 81° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 80° and scattered thunderstorms
- Malone: Fri 81° and rain, Sat 88° and rain, Sun 86° and mostly rain
- North Creek: Fri 84° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 83° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 82° and scattered thunderstorms
- Old Forge: Fri 81° and partly cloudy, Sat 80° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 80° and scattered thunderstorms
- Saranac Lake: Fri 81° and thunderstorms, Sat 83° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 81° and scattered thunderstorms
- Speculator: Fri 84° and sunny, Sat 82° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 80° and scattered thunderstorms
- Ticonderoga: Fri 88° and partly cloudy, Sat 89° and mostly sunny, Sun 87° and partly cloudy
Always keep in mind that backcountry conditions can change suddenly. Weather conditions can alter your plans and you should always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods before entering backcountry. These hiking trails can be rough and are not maintained like park walkways; wear proper footwear.
Current Fire Danger
Fire danger is moderate this week. Continue to be safe with campfires.
What’s Happening With COVID-19 Guidelines
As New York State slowly opens back up and eases restrictions we still need to practice responsible, respectful, local recreation. Spend time outdoors close to home with immediate household members, hiking within your abilities. Continue to bring a mask and use when warranted, only have one person sign in at the trailhead with their own pen, etc.
Parking is limited and it is crucial to only park in designated parking areas. If a parking lot is full choose a different area to visit or return at another time. Hikers who park illegally have been getting ticketed.
Hiking High Peaks? Use NY511
If you plan on hiking in the High Peaks, the DEC is asking us to use NY511 to check the status of parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. Have backup plans in place and if the parking lot at your desired destination is full move along to your backup plan.
The status of these parking lots is updated throughout the day on weekend days by patrolling DEC Forest Rangers and Forest Ranger Assistants. The DEC is making it easy for us to check these parking conditions ahead of time, so that hikers don’t drive out to their destination only to realize they need to turn back.
Find NY511 at the link below:
The Muddy Trails Advisory is Still in Effect
As we enter summer officially on Saturday the Muddy Trails Advisory is surprisingly still in effect. Trails above 2,500 feet in the Adirondacks continue to be unseasonably muddy and icy, and are particularly susceptible to damage at this time. Please choose hikes under 2,500 feet.
The DEC is asking hikers to use caution when encountering water crossings, especially fast-flowing brooks and rivers. Not all trails that encounter water crossings have bridges. Water levels in the Northern Adirondacks may be high due to recent rains.
Biting Insects are Present
Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, biting gnats, and ticks are out. 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 and use an insect repellent with DEET.
Many Seasonal Access Roads are Open
Most seasonal access roads are now open. Jay Mountain Road in the Town of Lewis is still closed to public motor vehicle use. South Meadow Road is open to public motor vehicle use.
Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be rough. It’s recommended to only use four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, and other high clearance vehicles on these roads. The roads may also be narrow, so use caution, drive slowly, and watch out for oncoming vehicles.
What to Know About Campgrounds & Camping
The DEC has resumed issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who would like to stay for more than three nights at one location on state lands. They have temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more. Use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Currently, campsites along seasonal access roads that remain closed will not be accessible by motor vehicles.
Starting today (June 19), the DEC is opening a number of campgrounds and day use areas in the Adirondacks for the 2020 season, including:
- Alger Island Campground
- Buck Pond Campground and Day Use Area
- Cranberry Lake Campground and Day Use Area
- Eagle Point Campground and Day Use Area
- Fourth Lake Day Use Area
- Lake Durant Campground
- Lake George Islands Campgrounds and Day Use Areas
- Lake George Battleground Campground
- Lake George Battlefield Day Use Area
- Lake Harris Campground and Day Use Area
- Lewey Lake Campground and Day Use Area
- Meadowbrook Campground and Day Use Area
- Putnam Pond Campground and Day Use Area
- Scaroon Manor Campground and Day Use Area
Three more campgrounds will open next week on June 26:
- Limekiln Lake Campground and Day Use Area
- Luzerne Campground and Day Use Area
- Nicks Lake Campground & Day Use Area
NOTE: To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of their campgrounds and facilities, the DEC is not accepting new reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season at this time. Only existing reservations will be honored until further notice.
Some Boat Launches are Open
DEC boat launches not located within the DEC campgrounds are open for recreational use by individuals and households that adhere to the guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Maintain six feet or more of distance between you and others, avoid close contact, wash hands often or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, avoid surfaces touched often, and wear a mask when social distancing can’t be maintained. Boaters should also 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.
What to Know About Water Conditions
Water levels in many waters are lower than is typical for this time of year. Recent rains may bring water levels up this weekend, especially in the Northern Adirondacks.
For the Rock Climbers
Some rock climbing routes remain closed to allow peregrine falcons to hatch and raise their young, but some are open.
Next weekend, June 27-28, has been named a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. New Yorkers are encouraged to explore local fishing opportunities.
Specific Notices to Be Aware Of
Rockwood State Forest
The road north of Cemetery Road leading to the parking and camping area on the state forest is very rough due to significant washouts. Several cars have become stuck, and only high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles should use the road.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
The Lake Flower Boat Launch is closed to trailered boats while construction of the restrooms is underway. This project is expected to be finished in the fall. In the meantime, trailered boats will need to be launched at the Second Pond Boat Launch to access Kiwassa Lake, Oseetah Lake, Lake Flower, and portions of the Saranac River. Car-top boats can use the Lake Flower Boat Launch.
Siamese Pond Wilderness
The Town of Johnsburg has repaired washout in the road and Old Farm Trailhead Parking Lot can once again be accessed by motor vehicles.
Crotched Pond Road, which provides access to Crotched Pond across the Tract 19 Conservation Easement Tract, is closed as the bridge at the entrance to the 0.2-mile road was damaged in the 2019 Halloween storm.
Lake George Wild Forest
Palmer Pond Road is closed due to a structurally unsound large culvert in danger of failing and causing the road embankment to collapse.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
Hikers on the Blue Hill/Long Swing Trail report being dive-bombed by a nesting pair of an unknown hawk species. Hikers should keep facing the birds if possible, as hawks predominantly attack from behind. The behavior will cease in a month or two when the young have fledged and left the nesting area.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Tract
Barnes Pond Road is now open to motor vehicle access for people with a permit through the Motorized Access Program for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) to access the six accessible campsites along the road. The campsites are open to all, but those without MAPPWD permits must access them by foot, non-motorized watercraft (where applicable), or mountain bike.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract (AMR/Ausable Club)
An Adirondack Trail Improvement Society trail crew has closed Leach Bridge, located below the dam at Lower Ausable Lake, to rebuild the piers.
Indian Head via Gill Brook Trail contains a few smaller trees blocking the trail.
The easement agreement provides for public hiking only on designated trails and roads. Don’t trespass on AMR lands or waters or participate in any unauthorized activities. Dogs are prohibited.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Gulf Brook Road is closed to public motor vehicle use due to one large washout and many smaller ones. A large washout is present about a half mile from Blue Ridge Road. The washout can be problematic to traverse but is passable by hikers, bicyclists, and horse riders. There’s also some blowdown on the road, but again it’s passable.
Giant Mountain Wilderness
There is a large tree across Rocky Peak Ridge Trail. It’s easy to step or slide over the tree trunk.
Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
Hurricane Mountain East Trail has a few small to mid-sized trees down across the trail.
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 cross safely.
Beaver activity has flooded some parts of the Jack Rabbit Trail.
High Peaks Wilderness
Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed. This adds two miles each way to hikes from the Elk Lake Trailhead. Be prepared.
The main span bridge in Marcy Swamp on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail has failed. Hikers need to wade across the river to get across (rock hopping is not possible). Be aware that during rain events the water level can fluctuate significantly. The DEC doesn’t expect to replace the bridge this year.
Nippletop via Elk Pass Trail has a few mid-sized trees down across the trail between Elk Pass and the summit of Nippletop.
The new Van Hoevenberg East Trail cannot be accessed due to construction happening at the Olympic Sports Center.
There is significant blowdown on the Phelps Trail before you reach Slant Rock. It’s difficult to get through this area. The DEC is working on a plan to clear the blowdown.
There are four or five mid-sized trees down at various locations on the Big Slide via the Brothers Trail. It’s easy to get around, over, or under them.
Three bridges were washed out on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail during the Halloween storm. 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.
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.
Cold Brook Trail is not a designated DEC trail and is not maintained.
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.
Many of the heard 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 age, weatherizing, and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and shouldn’t be used.
Camping is prohibited at the former location of the Boquet Lean-to north of Dix Mountain and the open area adjacent to the trail.
The 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. Crossing the brook is possible during low water conditions.
The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse-drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
Once again the private landowners have agreed to allow hiking on Owls Head Trail during the week. Parking at the trailhead and hiking at the trail are prohibited on weekends.