Mount Marcy

Mount Marcy

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has released its weekly report on interior conditions of the High Peaks. You can check out the report below. And you can check out conditions in other Adirondack regions on the DEC website.


Wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Weather forecasts and conditions 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. Always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.

Winter Conditions: Winter conditions are present throughout the area. Snow, ice and cold temperatures are present at all elevations. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers as needed to keep comfortable. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries just in case.

Skis, Snowshoes & Traction Devices: Snowshoes or skis are required all trails in the High Peaks and should be worn on all backcountry trails. The use of snowshoes or skis avoids “post-holing”, eases travel, and prevents injuries. Traction devices, such as crampons, should be carried and worn when warranted – open summits, etc.

Trail Conditions: Trails remain in great condition with another foot snowfall this week. The snow depth at Marcy Dam (2,350 ft. elevation) is 31 inches, Lake Colden (2,750 ft. elevation) has 37 inches of snow and the depths increase with increase in elevation. Some lesser used secondary trails may not be “broken” yet. See Snow Information on next page.

Ice on Water:
Avoid ice over or near running water, near inlets & outlets and near boathouses & docks – especially those with bubblers or other ice prevention devices.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger and snow will be deeper – especially where drifts form. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits or in heavy falling and/or blowing snow.

Avoid Hypothermia: Stay dry and warm. Drink plenty of water, eat food and rest often.

Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails.

Hunting Seasons:
Small game hunting seasons and some waterfowl hunting seasons remain 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. There is no record of a hunting related shooting incident in New York State involving a hiker.


Snow Information

  • The High Peaks Region has received 10 to 14 inches of new snow from last storm that occurred 2/7– 9. This storm produced varied snow types, with a very light, low density snow at the start of the storm, gradually changing over to a heavier more dense snow and finally some liquid precipitation toward the end, creating a thin ice crust.
  • Winds were also present during this storm, so expect higher snow depths in the leeward slopes and in likely deposition zones, in addition to further wind slab formation. Strong winds are again predicted for this weekend as well, so look for additional snow loading and transport, even without new precipitation.
  • As of 2/10 snow stake at the Marcy Dam is currently recording 31 inches and the state at Lake Colden is 37 inches. Snow depths at 3500’ elevation are 36” to 40” and between 4000’ – 5000’ elevation snow depths are 40” to 50”.
  • An Alberta Clipper is forecasted for this Thursday and Friday of this week, bringing 2-4 inches of snow, with higher amounts possible in heavier snow bands. Cold temperatures again dominate the current weather pattern, extreme temperatures forecast for this weekend will reinforce the temperature gradient in the snowpack.
  • Soft slab formation has been witnessed along with faceted snow crystals above and below the crust formed after the December thaw. In addition to the continued facet growth, it has been reported that “whumping” has been observed in varied locations in the backcountry and a fracture/settling event occurred from a skier in the Johns Brook Valley.
  • If you are plan to travel in avalanche terrain be sure to
    • Carry essential equipment: Avalanche transceiver/beacon, Shovel, & Collapsible or ski-pole probe
    • Dig test pits
    • Remember the red flags
    • Travel safely
    • Have a self-rescue plan and the tools to accomplish it.
  • Just because you see a ski or boot track on an avalanche slope doesn’t mean one cannot occur. Make your own decisions.

Avalanche Pass Slide:
The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type through the winter.

Lake Colden & Avalanche Lake:
Avoid the area immediately around inlets and outlets.

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.

Marshall Herd Paths: The herd paths on Marshall do not lead to the summit. Those climbing these peaks should navigate with a map and compass rather than follow the paths created by others.

Clear Pond Gate:
The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This will add 4 miles roundtrip for any excursions from the trailhead, plan accordingly.

South Meadow Road: The Town of North Elba has closed and barricaded South Meadow Road off the Adirondak Loj Road. The road will remain closed through the spring mud season.

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.