It’s a super popular weekend for hiking and foliage is just about at peak. You’ll definitely want to plan ahead – including backup destinations – before you head out this weekend in the Adirondacks. Stay safe, park legally, and enjoy your fall hike!
Check the Fall Foliage Report
We’re calling “last call” on the fall foliage for this weekend – at least if you’re hoping to experience it at its peak. Here are the specific details from the reliable ILoveNY report:
Crown Point: More than 95% color transition with a very bright mix of yellows, oranges, reds, and purples
Lake George: 60% color change with mostly yellows and orange, along with some reds (Queensbury is at near-peak)
Lake Placid: Past-peak conditions with 100% color change and muted shades of red, yellow, and burnt orange
Lake Pleasant: Nearly complete foliage change and peak conditions
Malone: Peak to just-past-peak with nearly complete color change and average-to-bright shades of orange and yellow, along with some shining reds
Newcomb: Complete transition and past-peak foliage with bright reds, oranges, and yellows
Old Forge: 100% color change and past-peak foliage with some bright orange and yellow leaves
Plattsburgh: 70% color change and peak leaves showcasing bright reds, yellows, and oranges
Ticonderoga: 75% color change with bright red, yellow, and green leaves, along with some purple
Tupper Lake: 90% color change with just-past-peak leaves
Wilmington/Whiteface Mountain: Just past-peak with shades of red, orange, and green, along with remaining touches of purple and yellow
The Weather Report: A Mix of Sun & Thunderstorms
- Crown Point: Fri 62° and mostly sunny, Sat 75° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 52° and partly cloudy, Mon 57° and scattered showers
- Indian Lake: Fri 55° and mostly sunny, Sat 68° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 54° and partly cloudy, Mon 50° and showers
- Lake George: Fri 65° and sunny, Sat 78° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 59° and partly cloudy, Mon 58° and showers
- Lake Placid: Fri 53° and mostly sunny, Sat 66° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 49° and partly cloudy, Mon 54° and partly cloudy
- Long Lake: Fri 56° and mostly sunny, Sat 67° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 54° and mostly sunny, Mon 51° and scattered showers
- Malone: Fri 56° and mostly sunny, Sat 68° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 49° and partly cloudy, Mon 59° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 58° and mostly sunny, Sat 70° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 54° and partly cloudy, Mon 50° and showers
- Old Forge: Fri 56° and mostly sunny, Sat 66° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 56° and partly cloudy, Mon 52° and showers
- Saranac Lake: Fri 54° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 50° and partly cloudy, Mon 55° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 61° and mostly sunny, Sat 73° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 52° and mostly sunny, Mon 56° and scattered showers
- Tupper Lake: Fri 55° and mostly sunny, Sat 65° and scattered thunderstorms, Sun 51° and partly cloudy, Mon 54° and scattered showers
Approximate time of sunrise: 7:05am | Approximate time of sunset: 6:20pm
Be mindful of sunrise and sunset times and plan accordingly to ensure you return before dark.
Temperatures can change significantly depending on the time of day and your elevation. Nighttime temperatures will get down to the high 30s and low 40s.
Stay safe and warm by wearing and bringing the right clothes: non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers on your person, and then bring additional warm, waterproof, and windproof layers along with a hat and mittens (or gloves, but mittens are reportedly better). Avoid sweating through your clothes, as that can create ideal conditions for hypothermia as the clothes cool.
It’s a Popular Hiking Weekend – Plan Ahead, Have Your Backup Plans in Place
Columbus Day Weekend is a popular hiking time each year, but it’s possibly it will be even moreso this year for obvious reasons. Well-known trails and destinations will be crowded, and parking lots will fill up early. Do not park illegally – you will not only receive a hefty ticket, but you could be causing danger to others.
Instead, check NY511 before you leave and have several backup plans in place in case you can’t parking legally. Research your first-choice hike as well as your backups to ensure you’re hiking within the skill level and physical fitness level of every person in your group.
Estimate how long the hike will take and what your realistic timeline is. Familiarize yourself with the route – including significant landmarks, water crossings, etc. – and bring a paper map with you. Share your plan with a friend or family member who will notice if you don’t return on time.
Pack a Headlamp or Flashlight for Every Hike
Headlamps are highly recommended on all hikes, especially at this time of year when the sunset can sneak up on you (see sunset time above in the weather section). They come fairly small and are easy to pack with you. If you don’t have a headlamp at least bring a flashlight and never rely on your phone for light as it can drain the battery quickly. Bring extra batteries for the headlamp or flashlight.
These Will be the High Use Areas This Weekend, According to the DEC
Shelving Rock Area, Lake George Wild Forest
Parking is limited here. Roadside parking is prohibited and strongly enforced. Arrive early for a better chance at getting a spot and have several backup plans in place if parking lot is full.
Route 73 Corridor, High Peaks Region
Parking at popular trailheads along Route 73 between Exit 30 and Lake Placid has been filling up early – often by 5:30am or earlier in some places. Obey the “No Parking” signs along Route 73 and Adirondack Loj Road.
The DEC Forest Rangers and law enforcement partners will have an early presence in this area to proactively prevent illegal parking and assist hikers in finding alternative destinations. A dedicated DEC Forest Ranger has been assigned to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) from 5am to 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday with an Assistant forest Ranger assisting as needed.
Fulton Chain Wild Forest
Obey “No Parking” signs on Rondaxe Road in the vicinity of the Rondaxe (aka Bald) Mountain Trailhead. The DEC has issued numerous parking tickets in this area every weekend this year due to illegal parking.
Hiker Information Stations, Expanded
Visitors to the Adirondacks are encouraged to stop by these stations to check out info on parking, alternative hiking locations, and more. This is the last weekend they are doing this, and they’ve extended coverage:
- Mid’s Park, Lake Placid: Friday, 1pm to 7pm
- High Peaks Rest Area, Northbound Route 87: Saturday to Monday, 6am to 11:30am
- Marcy Field, Keene: Friday to Monday, 7am to 1pm
Also! The DEC is doing a Facebook live Friday (today) at 2pm. Find them on Facebook here.
If you get lost or injured keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service call 518.891.0235.
Continue to Follow COVID Guidelines
COVID-19 guidelines are still in effect. Pack a mask, practice social distancing, only have one person sign in at the trailhead, and move quickly through shared areas like parking lots. It is especially important right now to hike within your means – within your physical abilities and experience.
A Word on Drones – Don’t Bring Them
Drones are popular for capturing fall foliage photography but they are not allowed in all areas of the Adirondacks. Drones are prohibited on lands classified as Wilderness, Primitive, and Canoe Area.
Current Fire Danger & Campfire Safety Reminder
Fire danger is low. Continue to be safe with campfires, never leaving them unattended, fully extinguishing before leaving your campsite, etc.
Hunting Seasons are Open
Most small game and some waterfowl and big game hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. These are fellow outdoor recreationists with legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.
What to Know About Seasonal Access Roads
Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be tough, and it’s recommended to use four-wheel drive SUVs, pickup trucks, or other high clearance vehicles on these roads. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles.
Seasonal access roads typically remain open to public motor vehicles traffic through the end of the regular Northern Zone big game hunting season unless weather conditions dictate an earlier closing. In the winter, many of these roads are used as snowmobile trails.
Be on the Lookout for Ticks
While black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies, and biting gnats aren’t as much of a problem, the 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.
Recent Notices to Be Aware Of
High Peaks Wilderness
The high-water crossing footbridge over Phelps Brook on the Van Ho Trail to Mt. Marcy just above Marcy Dam came to the end of its service life and was removed by the DEC. When Phelps Brook is running high and the low water crossing is unsafe, hikers can use the newly developed Phelps Brook Lean-to Trail between the South Meadow (aka Marcy Dam Truck) Trail (0.5 miles north of Marcy Dam) and the Van Ho Trail (above the crossing). The trail is marked with red Foot Trail markers.
The two trails on the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract which provide access to Dix Mountain, Marcy Mountain, and the Colvin Range will close to public use on October 16 and will remain closed through Northern Zone Big Game Hunting Season.
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 accessing Blue Ridge Road from the west (Route 28N) watch for Tahawus Road on the 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.
Cedarlands Conservation Easement Tract
The 0.3-mile Mud Pond Trail has been completed by a crew from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program (SCA). The trail connects the public parking lots with a canoe put-in on the northeast shore of Mud Pond, providing a shorter route to the pond and easier access to three primitive campsites SCA crews established this year.
Boreas Ponds Tract
Boreas Road – which the DEC opens during hunting season – cannot be accessed during this year’s hunting season due to the damage and closure of the Gulf Brook Road.
Essex Chain Lakes Complex
Camp Six Road is open to public motor vehicle use but is in rough shape and has not been brushed out. Use caution when driving on the road. The road will remain open until the end of the Northern Zone big game hunting season but may close sooner if conditions warrant.
Chain Lakes Road South between the Outer Gooley Parking Area and the Cedar River remains closed due to damage from the 2019 Halloween storm. The DEC is working to repair the road and hopes to have it open by the end of the month.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement
Barnes Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use. The road will remain open until the end of the Northern Zone big game hunting season but may close sooner if conditions warrant.
Tooley Pond Conservation Easement Tract
A new primitive tent site near the shore of Allen Pond is available for use. A Student Conservation Association crew constructed the site which includes an earthen tent pad, a stone fire ring, and a nearby box privy. The site can be accessed via the Allen Pond Trail.
The landowner is conducting a timber harvest, and logging equipment is crossing Spruce Mountain Road which is used to access the South Brand of the Grass River. Drivers must use caution and stay alert.