Although we’re fully into the winter season now, with significant snow accumulation reported, we’re still not seeing quite enough for skiing or snowmobiling in some areas. Here’s what you need to know for winter hiking and recreating in the ADK this weekend.
Temps Predicted & Snow Accumulation Reported
- Crown Point: Fri 30° and partly cloudy, Sat 30° and partly cloudy, Sun 30° and partly cloudy
- Indian Lake: Fri 27° and partly cloudy, Sat 27° and partly cloudy, Sun 29 and partly cloudy
- Lake George: Fri 34° and mostly sunny, Sat 35° and partly cloudy, Sun 35° and mostly sunny
- Lake Placid: Fri 24° and cloudy, Sat 27° and partly cloudy, Sun 27° and partly cloudy
- Long Lake: Fri 26° and partly cloudy, Sat 27° and partly cloudy, Sun 28° and partly cloudy
- Malone: Fri 23° and partly cloudy, Sat 27° and partly cloudy, Sun 25° and partly cloudy
- North Creek: Fri 31° and partly cloudy, Sat 32° and partly cloudy, Sun 33° and mostly sunny
- Old Forge: Fri 26° and partly cloudy, Sat 26° and partly cloudy, Sun 26° and partly cloudy
- Saranac Lake: Fri 24° and partly cloudy, Sat 27° and partly cloudy, Sun 26° and partly cloudy
- Ticonderoga: Fri 28° and partly cloudy, Sat 28° and partly cloudy, Sun 29° and partly cloudy
- Tupper Lake: Fri 23° and partly cloudy, Sat 25° and partly cloudy, Sun 25° and partly cloudy
Conditions will be more severe on summits with below freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and possibly strong winds. Take wind chill into consideration when preparing for temperatures.
The following from the DEC provides current snowpack depths in inches as of January 5 at a select number of towns:
- Northwoods Club Road, Minerva: 7.7 inches
- Goodnow Flow Road, Newcomb: 7.6 inches
- Tahawus/Upper Works, Newcomb: 7.8 inches
- Blue Ridge Road, Newcomb: 7.5 inches
- Elk Lake Road, North Hudson: 8.7 inches
- Lake Colden: 11.4 inches*
- Cedar River Road, Indian Lake: 7.8 inches
- Sagamore Road, Long Lake: 7 inches
- Haskell Road, Ohio: 9.6 inches
- North Lake road, Ohio: 9.7 inches
*The Colden Caretaker Report indicates that snowshoes are needed to get to Avalanche Lake. Skiing is minimal, with marginal conditions on the Truck Trail and in the Avalanche camp area. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen.
Bring That Winter Gear & Wear Appropriate Clothing
Take traction devices, like microspikes and crampons, with you on all hikes. In the High Peaks Wilderness, snowshoes or skis are required where snow has accumulated to a depth of 8 inches or more. Use crampons to travel safely on ice. Continue to walk through mud and snow, not around it, to protect trail edges.
For clothes, layer up. Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, elevation, and the time of day. Stay warm by wearing non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers and wearing or bringing additional warm, waterproof, and windproof layers, along with a hat, mittens (they are better than gloves), and extra socks. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in.
Recent Notices to Check Out
Moose River Plains Complex
The entrance gates to the Moose River Plains on Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road are now open to snowmobile traffic only. Conditions remain poor due to minimal snow accumulation. The roads remain closed to public motor vehicles for the winter season.
High Peaks Wilderness
The missing sign at the junction of Blue Ridge Road and Tahawus Road has been replaced, providing direction for those heading to the Southern High Peaks access points. The original sign had been vandalized this summer. Shoutout to the DEC sign shop for providing the sign and to the High Peaks Trail Crew who installed it before the first deep frost hit.
Vanderwhacker Wild Forest
The double pipe culvert reported exposed on Gulf Brook Road within recent weeks has been resolved.
The Blue Ridge Parking Lot for access to Gulf Brook Road will not be plowed this winter season.
Hoffman Notch Wilderness
The Branch Parking Lot for access to the north end of the Notch Trail will not be plowed this winter season.
Hammond Pond Wild Forest
The Ensign Pond Parking Lot for access to Ensign Pond will not be plowed this winter season.
A Note on Yellow Snow (Let’s Avoid It)
The DEC and Leave No Trace remind us of a significant winter aspect of leaving no trace while hiking: Help keep trailside snow looking clean and fresh by cleaning up after your pet. Dogs will inevitably do their business along the trail, and as a pet owner, you can avoid user experience impacts and environmental effects by picking up and properly disposing of your pet’s waste.
Urine is more difficult to pickup then other dog waste, but it can be covered up, or shoveled further off the trail – just be sure not to push it closer to water sources.
Ice Safety Reminder
A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is never uniform on any body of water, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
For the Snowmobilers
Some seasonal access roads will transition to snowmobile use once sufficient snowpack accumulates. Check local club, county, and state webpages and resources for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.
Research & Plan Well for All Hikes
Research a variety of hikes and pick one adequately suited to the physical abilities of you and everyone in your group. Estimate how long the hike will take and make a realistic timeline, keeping in mind that it takes longer to move through snow and over ice. Use reliable resources to research your route, double check it on a map, and bring a paper map with you.
Research trail parking. Share your plans with someone so they know where you are and will notice if you do not return on time. Have several backup plans in mind (all of which have been adequately researched, of course); the Adirondack Park is a popular place for winter recreation and parking spots fill up quickly and early.
Keep sunrise and sunset times in mind and plan accordingly. Start long hikes early to maximize sunlight hours, but always bring a headlamp just in case.