Current Conditions in the Adirondack High Peaks Region
Compiled on: Sept 22, 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.
Adirondak Loj Trailhead: Due to expected high use on the weekends through Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend, when the parking lot is full DEC Forest Rangers will be turning around motor vehicles on the Adirondak Loj Road at South Meadow Lane.
Alternate Hikes in Autumn: Parking areas along the Route 73 corridor and trails and summits in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Dix Mountain Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and eastern High Peaks Wilderness are expected to be crowded on weekends through the Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving Day Weekend. DEC has identified a dozen nearby hikes that provide a similar experience as hiking the High Peaks with amazing scenic views of the autumn foliage, mountains and waters of the Adirondacks.
Fire Danger: MODERATE Never leave a campfire unattended. Be sure campfires are completely out and all wood, coals, embers and ash are cool.
Hot Weather Precautions: DEC Forest Rangers continue to respond to incidents of hikers in distress due to dehydration. Be prepared for hot weather. Wear loose clothing of material that wicks moisture away from your body and protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses and sun block. Drink plenty of water at home, in the car and at the trailhead. Carry at least 2 liters/quarts of water per person; rest often and drink water more often; and replace electrolytes via tablets or other means.
Shorter Days, Cooler Evenings: Autumn is approaching so days are shorter and evenings are cooler. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and a non-cotton jacket or sweater when hiking.
Hunting Seasons: Some big game, small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment 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 can wear bright colors as an extra precaution if it makes them more comfortable.
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.
Bear-Resistant Canisters & Black Bear Activity: Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks.
• In the Eastern High Peaks, campers not properly using bear-resistant canisters have lost their food to bears.
• 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 in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
• Elsewhere, ALL food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters or in a food (aka bear) hang elsewhere.
• Bears are most active in the evening, cook, eat and clean up before dusk.
• These and other practices can prevent attracting black bears to campsites in the backcountry.
Trail Conditions: Trails may be wet and muddy along water bodies, in low lying areas and during & after rain events. All hikers should wear waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remain on trails; walk through mud & water to prevent further eroding trails and damaging trailside vegetation.
Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits and other open areas and being on the water during thunderstorms. Immediately move to lower elevations, head to shore, or otherwise seek shelter at the first sound of thunder. Find a low spot away from tall trees. Seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.
Water Levels: Waters level are low. Most low water crossings and drainages can be easily crossed. Water levels can rise quickly during and immediately after rain events in drainages, streams and rivers. A chance of thunderstorms and showers are forecasted.
Biting Insects: Mosquitos and black flies are present. 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.
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).
Marcy Dam: Beginning Monday 9/12 through Wednesday 9/21, DEC and SCA Adirondack Program will be working on the removal of the dam for the second year. Please pay attention to caution flagging in this area and follow minor reroutes around the rigging equipment at the dam. Do not enter the worksite or disturb tools when workers are not present after hours and on weekends.
East River Trail: The second bridge on the trail to Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls has been replaced by DEC and SCA Adirondack Program. Please do not bounce on the bridge.
Opalescent Trail: A trail reroute has been constructed around the washout near Uphill Lean-to by members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program.
Moose Creek Suspension Bridge: This bridge on the Northville-Placid Trail between Shattuck Clearing and Cold River will be closed Monday, August 15 through Friday, August 19. DEC and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Northeast will be working to repair the bridge. Hikers can rock hop across the stream downstream from the bridge or wade on sand upstream of bridge.
Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Due to low water conditions crossing the brook is still possible.
Cold River Bridge: Some boards are broken on the suspension bridge over the Cold River on the Northville-Placid Trail. Use caution when crossing.
Blueberry Hiking Trail: The first 1,500 feet of trail has been closed. The trail now connects with the Blueberry Horse Trail approximately 0.3 mile east of the previous location (0.8 mile from the Seward Trailhead). This reroute eliminates the need to hike through a large wet area and avoids hiking (and maintaining) more than 120 feet of bog bridging.
Northville Placid Trail: The trail has rerouted around a beaver pond south of Plumley’s Point on the shores of Long Lake. The reroute passes the beaver pond higher up the slope and eliminates having to cross the beaver dam and the wet feet obtained when the water levels were high. Follow the Blue NPT trail markers.
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.
Garden Trailhead Parking Area: The town of Keene operates the Garden Parking Area and charges a $7/day fee for parking. An attendant is present 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Fridays and from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays until October 16. The rest of the week hikers are expected to pay the fee using the envelope and collection slot.
Garden Trailhead Shuttle: The town of Keene operates a shuttle between the overflow parking area at Marcy Field and the Garden Trailhead from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekends and holidays through October 16. A roundtrip costs $5.
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.
Blueberry Horse Trail: The trail between the Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the Western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation and is poorly marked. The trail is impassable to horses making it impossible to complete the Cold River Horse Trail Loop. DEC intends to work on the trail this fall.
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.