The temperatures are getting cooler, the days shorter, and the brilliant reds, golden yellows, and vivid oranges are starting to appear in the Adirondacks! It’s going to be a great weekend for hiking, except for one of the days when it’s going to rain – get all the details below.
Fall Foliage Report – The Colors are Coming!
It’s always exciting to report on the first fall foliage colors of the year in the Adirondacks. Here’s the impressively detailed report from I Love NY:
Lake Placid: About 10% color change this weekend with muted shades of red, orange, and yellow
Malone: About 10% color change with vibrant shades of yellow and red emerging
Old Forge: About 20% color change this weekend with average levels of gold and yellow
Saranac Lake: Mostly green, but some pops of red and yellow
St. Lawrence County: About 5 to 10% color change with averages touches of red
Tupper Lake: About 5 to 10% color change with traces of mustard, goldenrod, and copper; maples have a scarlet splash
Wilmington: About 10% color change this weekend with bright red, yellow, and orange
Take a Glance at the Weather, Then Check Again Later
- Crown Point: Fri 65° and partly cloudy, Sat 72° and mostly sunny, Sun 72° and scattered showers
- Indian Lake: Fri 62° and partly cloudy, Sat 67° and partly cloudy, Sun 66° and scattered showers
- Lake George: Fri 74° and partly cloudy, Sat 74° and partly cloudy, Sun 74° and scattered showers
- Lake Placid: Fri 61° and partly cloudy, Sat 68° and mostly sunny, Sun 67° and scattered showers
- Long Lake: Fri 62° and partly cloudy, Sat 66° and partly cloudy, Sun 66° and scattered showers
- Malone: Fri 61° and partly cloudy, Sat 72° and mostly sunny, Sun 69° and scattered showers
- North Creek: Fri 65° and partly cloudy, Sat 67° and partly cloudy, Sun 68° and scattered showers
- Old Forge: Fri 63° and partly cloudy, Sat 68° and partly cloudy, Sun 66° and rain
- Saranac Lake: Fri 61° and partly cloudy, Sat 69° and partly cloudy, Sun 68° and scattered showers
- Ticonderoga: Fri 64° and partly cloudy, Sat 71° and mostly sunny, Sun 71° and scattered showers
- Tupper Lake: Fri 60° and partly cloudy, Sat 69° and partly cloudy, Sun 67° and scattered showers
As we can see, Friday and Saturday are preferable for hiking. Just a reminder that weather conditions can change and you should always check again before heading out. Also, weather at the summit can be much cooler than at the trailhead, so dress in layers and bring extra in your pack.
Bring a Headlamp or Flashlight (With Extra Batteries!)
Daylight hours are shortening. The DEC is seeing an increase in individuals without headlamps requiring rescue, as hikers find themselves unexpectedly still out on the trails after dark.
Hiking in the dark can be dangerous, and the sun is setting earlier all the time. Always bring a headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries in case you end up getting caught out there after dark. Don’t rely on a phone flashlight – it will drain your battery quickly.
The Water Conditions
Water levels throughout most of the Adirondacks were at or above average last week; this week they are below average, or low.
Hiker Information Stations
Visitors to the Adirondacks are encouraged to stop by these stations to check out info on parking, alternative hiking locations, and more:
- Mid’s Park, Lake Placid: Friday, 1pm to 7pm (this station will move inside the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau during inclement weather)
- High Peaks Rest Area, Northbound Route 87: Saturday and Sunday, 6am to 11:30am
- Marcy Field, Keene: Friday to Monday, 7am to 1pm
Check Status of Parking Lots
If you’re planning to hike in the High Peaks use NY511 to check the status of parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. Have backup plans in place, and move along to them if the lot at your desired destination is full. The status of these parking lots are updated frequently throughout weekend days by patrolling DEC Forest Rangers and their assistants.
Be Prepared, Hike Smart, Follow COVID Guidelines
Wear the proper gear and attire when hiking, including sturdy, comfortable boots; moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics; and layered, light-colored clothing.
COVID-19 guidelines are still in effect. Pack mask, practice social distancing, only have one person sign in at the trailhead, and move quickly through shared areas like parking lots.
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.
High Peaks Wilderness Rules & Regulations
Remember to adhere to the following in the High Peaks:
- Day trip group maximum 15 people
- Overnight trip group maximum 8 people
- No camping on summits, above 3,500 feet except at lean-tos, and anywhere you see a “no camping” sign
- Carry out what you carry in
- Dogs must be leashed at trailheads, campsites, and above 4,000 feet
- No bikes, drones, ATVs, or fixed anchors for climbing
And for the Eastern High Peaks:
- No campfires
- Bear canisters are required for overnight campers
- Dogs must be leashed at all times
And for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR):
- No dogs, camping, drones, or off-trail travel
Current Fire Danger & Campfire Safety Reminder
Fire danger remains low. Continue to be safe with campfires, never leaving them unattended, fully extinguishing before leaving your campsite, etc.
Bears & Insects are Still Present
Nuisance bear activity is still high in the front and backcountry. The use of bear resistant canisters by overnight campers is required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondack Park.
Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, biting gnats, and ticks are still 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.
Specific Hiking Notices, Trail Closures & More
Lake George Wild Forest
The summit and trail of Prospect Mountain are open once again.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
Eagle Cave on Chimney Mountain is currently closed to protect the bat population from potentially harmful exposure to COVID-19.
Saranac Lake Wild Forest
The Upper Lock on the Saranac River between Lower and Middle Saranac Lake is operating slowly. Plan for additional time to get through the lock. The DEC staff will be present from 9am to 7pm at both the Upper and Lower Locks of the Saranac River on Friday through Monday from now through Columbus Day Weekend.
The Lake Flower Boat Launch is open once again to trailered boats. Construction of the bathroom is complete, but the bathroom is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
High Peaks Wilderness
The sign on Blue Ridge Road (aka Boreas Road) identifying the turn onto Tahawus Road and the southern entrances into the High Peaks Wilderness has been stolen. If you’re access Blue Ridge Road from the west (Route 28N) watch for Tahawus Road ont he left a short distance after the rail crossing. If you’re accessing Blue Ridge Road from the east (I-87), watch for Tahawus Road on the right a short distance after the rail crossing warning sign.
The Trap Dike route up Mount Colden is a rock climbing route, not a trail. DEC Forest Rangers have had to rescue numerous people recently.
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.
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.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Gulf Brook Road, which provides access to the Boreas Ponds, remains 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.
Black River Wild Forest
A bridge has been installed on Loop Road (North Lake) at the location where a culvert had previously washed out. The full length of the road is once again open to public motor vehicle use. After Labor Day, be aware of logging trucks on the road.
The bridge across Little Woodhull Creek on the Stone Dam Trail has been reset and repaired.
Fulton Chain Wild Forest
The Safford Pond Trail is passable all the way through as a bridge that washed out during the 2019 Halloween storm was reconstructed last December.
Split Rock Wild Forest
The DEC Westport Boat Launch on Lake Champlain will be temporarily closed starting September 8 to remove sediments accumulated in front of the ramp. The contractor will begin staging equipment and materials the week before Labor Day and occupy two parking sites at the boat launch. The removal of sediments, which should be completed by the end of October, will improve access for boaters who launch and retrieve boats during low-water periods.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
There is an active logging operation on Cornell Road. This road and the land adjacent to it is privately owned working forest conservation easement land. It also provides public access to the Essex Chain Lakes Complex Forest Preserve – specifically in the Deer Pond Parking Lot. Please be on the lookout for log trucks using this road, and safely pull to the side to allow them to pass as needed.
West Canada Lake Wilderness
A 400-foot section of the Northville-Placid Trail about .5 miles north of the Carry Lean-to is flooded due to recent bear activity. DEC staff were able to lower the water level to 7 to 8 inches, and are continuing efforts to remove dams farther downstream. This trail is passable, but hikers should anticipate wet feet while passing through this area.
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 once again open for visitors. Please adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines.
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.