Did you know dogs and fish can experience serious heat stress during the summer months? Read about hiking with dogs, fishing for heat-stressed salmon, and much more for hiking and recreating outdoors in the Adirondacks this weekend.
It’s Getting Hot Out There
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 84° and isolated thunderstorms, Sat 90° and mostly sunny, Sun 96° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 78° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 83° and mostly sunny, Sun 89° and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 87° and isolated thunderstorms, Sat 93° and mostly sunny, Sun 99° and partly cloudy
- Lake Placid: Fri 75° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 82° and mostly sunny, Sun 89° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 81° and thunderstorms, Sat 85° and mostly sunny, Sun 92° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 80° and scattered showers, Sat 85° and mostly sunny, Sun 91° and partly cloudy
- Old Forge: Fri 77° and showers, Sat 82° and mostly sunny, Sun 88° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 77° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 83° and mostly sunny, Sun 89° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 82° and scattered thunderstorms, Sat 90° and mostly sunny, Sun 95° and partly cloudy
We’re looking at pretty warm temperatures this weekend. Take precautions to avoid heat distress and dehydration. Carry plenty of water, stay in the shade as much as possible, drink often, and rest often.
Reminders on Thunderstorm Safety
As we can see thunderstorms are forecast for today, Friday, but they can pop up anytime at this time of year. Watch for darkening skies, increased winds, lightning flashes, and listen for thunder. Avoid summits and other open areas during thunderstorms. Move to a lower elevation and seek shelter if a thunderstorm is approaching.
If caught outside during a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees, and crouch down away from tree trunks. Make yourself as short as possible by sitting on your pack or sleeping pad with your knees flexed, and hugging your knees to keep your feet together. This minimizes the ground effect should lightening strike nearby.
What’s Happening With the COVID-19 Situation
With regards to recreating outdoors the DEC reminds us to recreate local, only hike within our abilities, and stay safe by adhering to CDC guidelines. Continue to pack a mask and use when warranted, bring your own pen to sign in at the trail register (and have only one person do so), and practice social distancing.
If you’d like to take a step further to help the Adirondack Park stay safe use hashtags #RecreateLocal, #RecreateResponsibly, and #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal when posting your hiking adventures on social media.
Adhere to Parking Rules, Have a Backup Plan & Use 511NY
Please avoid visiting crowded areas. Do not park on roadsides; only park in designated parking areas. (Finding a parking ticket on your car is a terrible way to end a great hike!) If a parking lot is full choose a different area to visit or return at another time.
This has been in effect for the past few weeks: If you plan on hiking the High Peaks please use 511NY to check the status of the parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. The status of these parking lots is updated throughout the day on weekends by patrolling DEC forest rangers and forest ranger assistants. This is a huge help for hikers to avoid filled parking lots.
Save The DEC Emergency Number to Your Phone
If you get lost or injured keep calm and stay where you are. If you have cell service call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518.891.0235.
Hiking With Dogs – Please Don’t This Weekend
The DEC advises against bringing dogs on hikes in the summer, especially with the types of temperatures that are forecast for this weekend. Dogs hiking in the hot weather are at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion and death – especially older, larger, and overweight dogs and dogs who are not used to strenuous physical activity. In addition to the air temperature, scalding rocks on exposed hikes can quickly raise a dog’s body temperature.
If you are doing a more moderate hike and still choose to bring your dog along make sure to bring lots of water for them, allow for frequent opportunities to rest and hydrate, monitor them closely, and be prepared to turn back if they start showing signs of distress. If your dog does collapse quickly move to create shade for the dog, cool their feet and stomach, and give them time to rest and rehydrate before moving on.
But again, at least for this weekend with temperatures going up to the mid-90s it would be safest to leave your furry friend at home. Or, explore a nearby park for a short period of time instead.
What to Know Regarding Water Crossings
Many trails in the Adirondacks encounter water crossings and not all of them have bridges. Use caution at crossings and on trails along fast-flowing brooks and rivers. (See next section on water levels.)
Water Levels Have Risen
Water levels were low last week, but are now within average range in most rivers and streams.
The Latest on Campgrounds & Camping
The DEC is currently not accepting walk-ins at their campgrounds. They have also temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping groups of 10 or more. The use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time.
Current Fire Danger
The fire danger is currently moderate, except in the High Peaks Region where it is low. Continue to be safe with campfires.
Be on the Alert for Nuisance Bears
As a result of the dry conditions, nuisance bear activity is high in the front country and backcountry. Please take steps to prevent attracting bears in the backcountry. The use of bear resistant canisters by overnight campers is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondack Park.
Prepare for Biting Insects
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.
Only Use Certain Vehicles on Seasonal Access Roads
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.
Peregrine Falcons are Still Nesting (for the Rock Climbers)
Several rock climbing routes remain closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. The DEC appreciates the cooperation of rock climbers to help these animals out.
Help Protect Heat-Stressed Trout & Salmon (for the Anglers)
During the hot days of summer it’s important to remember that trout and salmon experience serious physical stress whenever water temperatures get above 70 degrees F. Anglers can help protect our trout population by doing the following:
- Avoid catch and release fishing for heat-stressed trout. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled.
- Don’t disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers. It is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water.
- Fish early in the morning. Stream temperatures are coolest at this time.
- As with hiking, be prepared with a backup plan. Have an alternative fishing place in mind in case water temperatures are too high at your desired destination. Consider fishing a waterbody that is less prone to heat stress or fishing for a more heat-tolerant species, like smallmouth bass.
Specific Hiking Notices, Trail Closures & More
Lake George Wild Forest
Prospect Mountain Trail is now closed due to construction at the summit and hikers going where signage informs them they cannot. The DEC expects to reopen the trail in late August, although a specific date has not been set.
Lost Lake Trail has been flooded by beaver activity half a mile east of Lost Lake.
Independence River State Forest
Overnight camping is available at the Otter Creek Horse Trail Facility.
Massawepie Conservation Easement Tract
This tract is closed to the public through August 31 pursuant to the easement agreement with the Boy Scouts of America whether scouts are present at the camp or not.
High Peaks Wilderness
This is where the aforementioned nuisance bears have been hanging out; there have been several reported incidents of campers losing food to bears. Avoid losing your food and gear by following the DEC recommendations on bear resistant canisters, bear spray, and more.
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.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve Conservation Easement Tract (AMR/Ausable Club)
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.
The Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower is open for visitors. Please adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines: only one household group in the fire tower cab at a time, groups socially distance on the summit while waiting to climb to the cab, sanitize hands before and after being on the tower, and wear masks.
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.