Current Conditions in the Adirondack High Peaks Region
Compiled on: MAY 27, 2016
: Wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Weather conditions and forecasts can and do change, check current weather conditions and short-term forecast before entering the backcountry
. All users should plan accordingly, including bringing flashlight, first aid equipment, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Weather conditions may alter your plans; always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Electronic Technology: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Plan and prepare before entering the backcountry and carry a map & compass for navigation or at least as backup.
Fire Danger: MODERATE
Memorial Day Weekend: Due to the holiday weekend, expect to see more people on the trails and waters. Trailhead parking lots and interior campsites in popular will likely reach capacity particularly trailheads along the State Route 73 corridor, South Meadow Trailhead, Adirondack Loj Trailhead, Upper Works Trailhead and others. Consider recreating on less used areas of the Adirondacks.
Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid being on summits, water and in other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations, head to shore and otherwise seek shelter. Find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
Spring Conditions: Trails are unusually dry and firm for this time of year. However, trails are wet and muddy along water bodies, in low lying areas and higher elevations. Hikers should be prepared for these conditions by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through - not around - mud and water on trails.
Please avoid the following trails until trail conditions improve:
• High Peaks Wilderness Area - all trails above 2,500 feet; where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically: Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam - Avalanche - Lake Colden which is extremely wet, Phelps Trail above John Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright and all "trail-less" peaks.
• Dix Mountain Wilderness Area - all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond
• Giant Mountain Wilderness Area - all trails above Giant's Washbowl, "the Cobbles," and Owls Head.
Hikers are advised to only use trails at lower elevations as they usually dry soon after snowmelt and traverse deeper, less erosive soils DEC suggests the following alternative trails for hiking, subject to weather conditions:
• High Peaks Wilderness:
o Ampersand Mountain
o Owls Head
o Mt. VanHoevenberg
o Mt. Jo
• Giant Mt. Wilderness:
o Giant's Washbow
o Roaring Brook Falls
o Owl's Head Lookout
• Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
o The Crows
o Hurricane Mtn from Rt 9N
• Jay Mountain Wilderness
o Jay Mtn
• McKenzie Mt. Wilderness:
o Baker Mountain
o Haystack Mountain
o McKenzie Mountain
• Saranac Lakes Wild Forest:
o Panther Mountain
o Scarface Mountain
o Floodwood Mountain
Snow and Ice: Snow and ice are present above 4,000 feet and at lower elevations on north facing slopes and shaded areas.
Biting Insects: Mosquitos and black flies are out, mainly in the lower elevations. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: 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 thick; and use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.
Seasonal Access Roads: All but a very few seasonal access roads are open. Check the specific information for the area you plan to visit to determine if roads are open or not. Seasonal access roads can be rough, the use of 4-wheel drive pickup trucks, SUVs and other high clearance motor vehicles is recommended.
Bear-Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.
ROCK CLIMBING ROUTE CLOSURES: Due to nesting Peregrine Falcons the following routes are closed:
• Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain – All routes on the Main Face, except for the climbing routes between and including "Opposition” and "A Womb with a View”.
• Chapel Pond – All routes on Lower Washbowl Cliffs.
• Wilmington Notch – All routes on Moss Cliff and Labor Day Wall.
• Crane Mountain – All routes within the Amphitheater on the Black Arches Wall.
• Shelving Rock Mountain, Lake George – All routes on the Big Wall and Jackass Buttress.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, ice and snow will be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits
Blowdown: Recent strong winds may have resulted in blowdown (fallen or hanging trees, limbs, and branches) on trails, especially on trails in the higher elevations and less used trails.
Group Size: DEC regulation restricts group size in the High Peaks Wilderness to no more than 15 hikers (day users) or 8 campers (overnight users) and encourages this practice to be followed in other wildernesses. Large groups have significantly more impact on the trails, natural resources and other users.
Dogs on Leash: Dog owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. It is recommended dogs be kept leashed in most areas for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and as a courtesy to fellow hikers.
BE PREPARED BEFORE ENTERING THE BACK COUNTRY:
Know: Your own physical capabilities, knowledge of backcountry recreation and skill level.
The distance you plan to travel and the terrain and conditions you will encounter.
Check: For current information before entering the backcountry (518-897-1300).
Current weather conditions and short-term forecast.
Wear: Appropriate outer wear and foot wear.
Layers of non-cotton clothes.
Carry: Map and compass - know how to use them and use them!
Flashlight and extra batteries .
Plenty of food and water.
Pack: Extra clothes and socks.
Hat and gloves or mittens.
Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces.
Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth.
Fire starter supplies - waterproof matches, butane lighter, candles, starter material, etc.
Always: Inform someone of your itinerary and when you expect to return.
Please be aware that accessing the Forest Preserve through the rest areas is prohibited. In accordance with New York State Regulation §156.3(d), vehicles may not be left unattended in the rest area, unless the operator or passenger is within the rest area. Also parking of vehicles for longer than three hours during the hours of darkness is not permitted in accordance with §156.3(c).
From NYS Department of Transportation --
The bridges to be replaced this year under this contract are the following:
• Bridge #1029710 – Crosses Beede Brook approximately 0.1 miles south of Ausable Road
• Bridge #1029720 – Crosses Beede Brook approximately halfway between the two Saint Huberts Road intersections
• Bridge #1029730 – Crosses East Branch Ausable River approximately 0.05 miles south of Deer Brook Way
• Bridge #1029740 – Crosses Johns Brook just north of Laight Hall Lane
• Bridge #1029760 – Crosses East Branch Ausable River approximately 0.05 miles north of Hulls Falls Road
• Bridge #1029780 – Crosses Cascade Brook approximately 0.15 miles south of Alstead Hill Lane
Our contractor is planning to start this year’s work during the week of March 14, first working on bridge #1029730, near Deer Brook Way. During construction, traffic crossing the bridge will be controlled by an alternating one-way signal system, so that work can in essence proceed on half of the bridge at a time. (We will be using alternating one-way traffic on the existing bridges at all of the sites this year except for #1029740 and #1029760, for which alternating one-way traffic will be carried by temporary bridges constructed near the existing bridges.) While the amount of time needed to complete work on this bridge will be influenced by weather and other conditions encountered in the field, we expect that work on #1029730 will take approximately seven (7) months to complete. Also, we currently expect work to get underway at the second site, #1029780, on March 21). During construction, we will advise you each time we hit a milestone (either a start or finish of work) for each of the other bridges scheduled for this year. In addition, we will advise you if the pace of progress necessitates a significant change to the schedule for any of the bridges.
One additional note would be that we will also be replacing two bridges carrying Route 73 over the West Branch of the Ausable River in North Elba under another contract during the 2016 construction season. We recognize the importance of the Route 73 corridor both to general circulation and to tourism in the area, and we are taking care not only to coordinate work at all of these sites but also to stay in close contact with area public officials and emergency responders to ensure that residents and visitors alike will be able to travel about the County during the coming months.
Phelps Trail: The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook between the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and Johns Brook Lodge is broken and unusable.
South Meadow Lane: The road is open to public motor vehicle use.
Connery Pond Road: The road is open to public motor vehicle use.
The Garden Trailhead Parking Area: The Town of Keene is operating the Garden Parking Area and a fee is being charged for parking. The Town will be operating the shuttle between the overflow parking area at Marcy Field and The Garden Trailhead this weekend, there is a fee for this service.
Whiteface Landing Trail: The trail has been rerouted to avoid private camps on Connery Pond. The new trail route starts at the small parking area just before the private gate. Please respect the private property and stay on the trail.
Connery Pond/Whiteface Landing/West Branch Ausable River: Construction is occurring on the State Route 86 Bridge over the West Branch Ausable River about three miles northeast of Lake Placid. Construction is expected to continue unit November 1st. Parking near the bridge will be restricted. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing are discouraged from using the parking areas near the bridge. Paddlers using that section of the river are advised to find an alternant takeout. Paddlers are discouraged from paddling under the bridge during the construction period. Entering the construction site or staging area are not allowed. Anyone parking near the bridge should use caution when pulling out of the parking area. Pedestrians crossing the road should use the marked crosswalk.
Corey's Road: The road is now open to public motor vehicle traffic. Logging operations continue in the area, be cautious of logging trucks.
Elk Lake Road: The Clear Pond Gate on Elk Lake Road is open.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) (aka Ausable Club): The public easement agreement for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (Ausable Club) only allows for hiking on designated trails and roads. Do not trespass on AMR lands and waters or participate in any unauthorized activities.
Boreas Ponds Tract
•The State of New York has completed the purchase of the tract.
•While DEC develops an interim recreation plan, access to the tract will be limited to foot traffic only beyond the closed gate. Motor vehicles, bikes and horses are prohibited.
•Additionally, the public is prohibited from trespassing in and around the lodge on Boreas Pond and the leased hunting camps.
Table Top Mountain Herd Path: The start of the Tabletop Mountain Herd Path on the VanHovenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy has been moved 150 feet closer to Indian Falls.
Ward Brook Truck Trail: The Ward Brook Truck Trail is flooded due to beaver activity just north of the junction with the Northville-Placid Trail.
Calamity Brook Trail: The High Water Bridge over Calamity Brook on the Calamity Brook Trail between the Upper Works and the Flowed Lands has been repaired by the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program and can be used by hikers.
Opalescent Suspension Bridge: The suspension bridge over the Opalescent River on the trail from Lake Colden to Mt. Marcy has been repaired by the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program and can be used by hikers.
Lake Colden to Marcy Trail: A 10-foot section of trail near Uphill Lean-to along the Opalescent River above Lake Colden was washed out during heavy rains. Hikers can get around it by going through the trees but should use caution when doing so.
Bradley Pond Trail: The first and second foot bridges on the Bradley Pond Trail are damaged and unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped on the downstream side of the bridge sites.
Northville-Placid Trail: The trail contains a large area of blowdown near the Seward Lean-to. A detour around the blowdown has been marked with pink flagging.