Hikers are mistaking a rock climbing route for a hiking trail, and the DEC has responded to several people needing to be rescued in recent weeks. Check out the details, and everything else to know for hiking in the Adirondacks this weekend.
The Weather Report: Sunny Skies on Friday & Saturday, Thunderstorms Sunday
Here’s the current forecast:
- Crown Point: Fri 83° and partly cloudy, Sat 86° and partly cloudy, Sun 79° and scattered thunderstorms
- Indian Lake: Fri 79° and mostly sunny, Sat 82° and mostly sunny, Sun 74° and scattered thunderstorms
- Lake George: Fri 85° and mostly sunny, Sat 87° and mostly sunny, Sun 79° and scattered thunderstorms
- Lake Placid: Fri 78° and fog, Sat 80° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and scattered thunderstorms
- Malone: Fri 80° and sunny, Sat 82° and mostly sunny, Sun 78° and scattered thunderstorms
- North Creek: Fri 82° and mostly sunny, Sat 83° and partly cloudy, Sun 75° and scattered thunderstorms
- Old Forge: Fri 79° and mostly sunny, Sat 81° and partly cloudy, Sun 76° and scattered thunderstorms
- Saranac Lake: Fri 78° and fog, Sat 81° and partly cloudy, Sun 77° and scattered thunderstorms
- Ticonderoga: Fri 83° and mostly sunny, Sat 87° and mostly sunny, Sun 79° and scattered thunderstorms
Continue to take precautions to prevent heat distress and dehydration. Carry plenty of water, stay in the shade as much as you can, and drink and rest often. Eat high protein, high nutrient foods and make sure you are replacing salt output from sweat.
Thunderstorms are forecast for Sunday, but can pop up at anytime during this time of year. When hiking keep an eye out for darkening skies, increased winds, or the low rumble of thunder. Move to lower elevations and seek shelter if a storm approaches.
Trash in the Backcountry & Leave No Trace
As mentioned last week, the DEC is receiving increased reports of visitors leaving trash behind after visiting State lands, waters, and facilities in the Adirondacks. Please read up on the Leave No Trace principles and help us keep New York’s environment and the Adirondack Park clean.
In addition to disposing of waste properly outdoor recreationists are asked to respect wildlife, leave what you find, and there are four other principles you can read about at the link below.
Camping & COVID-19
Per the Governor’s Executive Order 205, visitors coming from travel restricted states will not be issued camping permits, and will not be allowed to stay on state lands until they have completed a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Quarantining on state land is not permitted.
Keep lean-tos restricted to members of the same household, and there are no walk-ins at campgrounds at this time.
The DEC has resumed issuing backcountry/primitive camping permits for groups of 10 or more people.
Continue to Recreate Local, Stay Safe
With regard to hiking and COVID-19, we are still being asked to explore trails close to home, adhere to social distancing guidelines on trails and in parking lots, and to have one person sign in at the trail register with their own pen.
Only Park Legally & Have a Backup Plan
Parking is limited. Avoid parking tickets by only parking in designated locations, and have a backup plan or two in mind in case your desired hiking spot has too many people (and/or not enough parking).
Speaking of parking, remember to use 511NY if you’re hiking the High Peaks to check parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. These are updated frequently throughout the day on weekends by DEC rangers and forest ranger assistants.
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.
Current Fire Danger
Fire danger is moderate except in the High Peaks where it remains low. Please be safe with campfires.
Water Levels are Low
Water levels in most streams and rivers are below the seasonal average or low at this time.
Be on the Alert for Nuisance Bears
Nuisance bear activity is sill 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.
Invasive Species Info for Boaters
Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by having your boat and trailer inspected and cleaned at one of the many boat inspection and wash stations across the Adirondacks. There is one at the Adirondack Welcome Center between Exits 17 and 18 on Northway, which is right on your way if you’re coming up from the Capital Region.
Rock Climbers Can Climb On
The DEC appreciates the rock climbing community’s cooperation with staying off closed routes while peregrine falcons were nesting. All routes are open now.
For the Anglers: Be Mindful of Heat-Stressed Trout & Salmon
Help protect heat-stressed trout and salmon during the summer months when they can experience serious physical stress, particularly when water temperatures get above 70 degrees F.
You can help by:
- Avoid catch and release at this time, as they are weakened from heat stress and will likely die even if carefully handled.
- Avoid trout gathered in large numbers, as they are likely recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water.
- Fish early in the morning when temperatures are coolest.
- As with hiking, have a backup plan ready in case water temperatures are too high at the intended destination.
Tip: Smallmouth bass are more heat-tolerant, this could be a great time to fish for this species.
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.
Specific Hiking Notices, Trail Closures & More
Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area
Only four-wheel drive pickups and SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should use the Madawaska Pond Road due to a significant washout. Pickups and SUVs should use caution when crossing the washout.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
A portion of the Jackrabbit Trail on private land between Whiteface Inn Lane and the intersection with the McKenzie Mountain Trail will be closed from August 4 through August 20. The Placid Lean-to will still be accessible via the McKenzie Mountain Trail.
High Peaks Wilderness
The Trap Dike route up Mount Colden is not a trail. It’s a rock climbing route. DEC Forest Rangers have had to rescue several people in recent weeks that have become stuck on the climb.
Remember to use the aforementioned 511NY to check parking ahead of time.
The Town of Keene’s Garden Shuttle between Marcy Field Parking Lot and the Garden Shuttle is not operating at this time. The Town of Keene prohibits parking along Johns Brook, Market, and Adirondack Streets in Keene Valley and violators will be towed.
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 (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.