For the last month, ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew has been hard at work rerouting a popular hiking trail: the connector trail between Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden. This 0.3 mile section of trail is often visited by hikers looking to hike the Algonquin or Mt. Colden loop trails and backpackers planning to overnight at Lake Colden. However, due to its current proximity to the stream outlet from Avalanche Lake, the trail floods every spring which creates conditions that are unsafe for hikers, accelerate soil erosion, and impact the adjacent ecosystem.

A rock path known as a turnpike

Turnpiking

In order to address these issues, ADK’s professional trail crew is in the process of rerouting the trail onto a parallel route that will be raised above areas of flooding and hardened to handle heavy foot traffic. This will not only improve safety for hikers and backpackers, but also minimize impacts to surrounding vegetation, as hikers will no longer go off trail to avoid flooded sections of trail.

A woman cuts a root

Grubbing

To achieve this, the professional trail crew is building turnpikes, which are raised trail beds that feature a rock border around a bottom layer of crushed rock and a top layer of mineral soil. These features cause water to drain off the trail—as opposed to pooling in the middle of it—and provide a more durable surface for hikers to travel on. Thus far, the trail crew has completed several hundred feet of turnpiking on the northern end, and are now in the process of defining the rest of the trail, a process known as “grubbing”. As further sections of turnpiking are completed, the old trail will be brushed in and hikers will be diverted onto the new, more sustainable trail.

This trail project was made possible by a grant from the Adirondack 46ers. As part of a three-year commitment from the organization to support ADK’s stewardship efforts in the High Peaks Wilderness, the Adirondack 46ers pledged $41,000 towards the professional trail crew in December 2019, which will also fund a project on Haystack next month.

Interested in supporting ADK’s professional trail crew and the trails they maintain? You can do so by donating here.

A side by side collage of a rock being crushed