Spring means mud season in the Adirondacks, and the DEC recently issued a notice regarding the High Peaks specifically. If you’re planning on hiking this weekend, check out the below information.
What the Muddy Trail Advisory Means
The DEC urges hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until they’ve dried and hardened. Snow and ice are currently melting on high elevation trails, which are mixing with thin soils – this makes the area vulnerable to erosion. Sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.
Backcountry trails in the highest elevations are still covered with slowly melting ice and snow. Steep trails with thin soils can become a mix of ice, snow, and mud as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground, making trails slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers. This situation is made worse when hikers go around the trail to avoid the mud and snow.
Trails to Avoid During This Muddy Time
Please help to preserve the wilderness and our trail systems by adhering to this notice. In particular, avoid high elevation trails in the High Peaks, Dix Mountain, and Giant Mountain Wilderness areas in the northern Adirondacks.
Trails to avoid include: Algongquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam – Avalanche – Lake Colden (which is extremely wet), Phelps Trail above Johns Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright, all “trail-less” peaks, and all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness.
Also avoid: In Giant Mountain Wilderness, all trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owl Head Lookout; in McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically Whiteface, Esther, Moose, and McKenzie Mountains; and in Sentinel Range Wilderness, all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically Pitchoff Mountain.
Note: The above link has suggested trails to try during mud season. Some of these trails are listed above by the DEC as trails to avoid during this particularly muddy time.