Current Conditions in the Adirondack High Peaks Region
Compiled on: NOV 25, 2015
: 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.
Shorter Days: The length of day continues to shorten and sunset arrives much earlier now that we have returned to Standard Time. Sunset will occur around 4:25 pm and it will be dark by 4:55 pm. Forest Rangers have responded to numerous incidents of hikers in the dark without a flashlight this month. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries just in case you are caught after dark.
Colder Temperatures: While day time temperatures are forecast to be in the 40s on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, temperatures will be below freezing throughout the weekend. Showers are likely Friday and a mix of rain & snow are forecast for Friday night. Wear appropriate footwear, a waterproof outer layer, a hat and layers of non-cotton clothing. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers as needed to keep comfortable. Stay warm & dry to prevent hypothermia.
Trail Conditions: Trails will be a mixture of mud, water, ice and frozen mud in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. Wet and muddy conditions will likely be present in the lower elevations on Friday. Ice and snow will likely present at all elevations during the weekend. Wet and frozen leaves can make for slippery footing; especially on steep grades. Summit bedrock, rocks, logs, bog bridging and bridges may be icy – pack footwear traction devices and use when warranted. Higher elevations will have some snow by the weekend. Wear appropriate footwear.
Blowdown: Windy conditions which may produce blowdown (fallen trees, limbs and branches) on trails are forecast through Sunday. Be aware of trees, limbs and branches hanging above trails.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler, winds will be stronger and snow & ice will be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits.
Ice on Water: Ice has begun to form on the surface of ponds and lakes, especially in higher elevations. No ice is safe to cross at this time. Ice that holds snow cannot hold the weight of a person.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler, winds will be stronger and snow & ice may be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits.
Fire Danger Rating: LOW Never leave campfires unattended. Be sure campfires are completely out and embers are wet and cool.
Hunting Season: Early bear hunting season opens on Saturday in the Adirondacks, ruffed grouse hunting season opens Sunday, squirrel hunting and goose hunting seasons are already open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or other hunting implements while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.
Bear-Resistant Canisters: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.
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).
Marcy Dam: Work has begun on the first stage of dismantling Marcy Dam. The work includes removal of the splash boards, top rocks for the first tier, first tier crib pieces and the vertical side boards from the walls of the dam downstream of the spillway. Work will take place during the week. Hikers are asked to avoid the work zone while work is underway and to stay away from equipment and riggings used in the removal process.
Elk Lake Trails: The trails to Mt. Marcy and Dix Mountain that pass through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Land are closed through the regular big game hunting season. The trails will reopen on Monday, December 7.
Table Top Mountain Herd Path: The start of the Tabletop Mountain Herd Path on the Van Hovenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy has been moved 150 feet closer to Indian Falls. Signs have been erected at the new junction and flagging has been placed along the new section until the tread is clearly visible. The old section of trail will be brushed in.
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.
Lake Arnold Trail: The trail between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to is very wet and muddy but passable. The trail has dried up enough that the bog bridging is usable. Flooding may occur immediately after heavy rains making the bridging difficult to use. Expect to get your feet wet and muddy when traversing some portions of the trail where bog bridging is not present. Use Avalanche Pass/Lake Colden Trail or Mt. Colden Trail to travel between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to if you want to avoid this 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.
Whiteface Mountain: Hikers climbing Whiteface Mountain should not depend on obtaining water at the summit. Be sure to carry enough water to reach the summit and return to the trailhead to stya comfortable and not suffer from dehydration.
Raquette River Trail (Western High Peaks): The section of the trail between Hemlock Hill and Palmer Brook that had been washed has been repaired and is usable by hikers and horses.
Avalanche Lake Outlet Bridge: The bridge over the Avalanche Lake Outlet has been replaced.
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.
Marcy Field Overflow Parking: The overflow parking area at Marcy Field is open, but the shuttle is not operating this weekend.
Corey’s Road: The road is now open to public motor vehicle traffic.
South Meadow Road: The road is open to public motor vehicle traffic
Lake Colden & Avalanche Lake: Avoid the area immediately around inlets and outlets.
Marshall and Other Trail-less Peaks: Many of the herd paths found on 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.
Avalanche Lake Outlet: The bridge on Avalanche Lake Outlet is washed away. During low water rock hopping will be necessary to cross, during high waters crossing will require getting wet.
Hurricane Mountain Trail: The trail from the Route 9N trailhead has been rerouted to bypass areas flooded by beavers. The trail now extends 3.4 miles from the trailhead to the summit. The reroute and new footbridges were completed by the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program.
Trap Dike: Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.
Closed Campsite: The designated campsite on Big Slide Mountain Brook in Johns Brook Valley near the intersection with the Phelps Trail has been permanently closed due to site degradation. Other designated campsites are located across from the Howard Lean-to and just past Johns Brook Lodge. Signs on the hiking trail direct hikers to these sites.
Bradley Pond Trail: The first foot bridge on the Bradley Pond Trail has been dropped and is unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped most of time on the downstream side of the bridge site.
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.
Deer Brook Trail: The low water route through Deer Brook Flume on this trail to Snow Mountain remains impassible due to severe erosion.
Southside Trail: DEC has closed the Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John's Brook Outpost and is not maintaining it at this time.
Cold Brook Trail: DEC has closed the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass and is not maintaining it at this time.