With the long weekend ahead of us, it’s the perfect time to head out for a mid-winter adventure. But if you’re headed someplace like the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, you’d better know what’s in store for you before you hit the trail.
Yesterday, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation 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.
Backcountry Snow Report: 6 inches of low density snow has fallen over the last 72 hours. There are 16 inches of snow on the ground at 2,300 feet and 22 inches at 3,000 feet. Strong temperature gradient still exists – keep “thins” in mind.
Skis, Snowshoes & Traction Devices: Snowshoes or skis are required all trails in the High Peaks – and should be worn on all backcountry trails – where snow depths exceed 8 inches. 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.
Trail Conditions: Trails are skiable but cover is thin. Drainages may be gullied with little snow cover.
Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails, especially lesser used secondary trails.
Ice on Water: Check the thickness of ice before traveling across it – ice that holds snow may not bear the weight of a person. 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.
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.
Lake Colden & Avalanche Lake: Avoid the area immediately around inlets and outlets. Tracks indicate that many people on snowshoes continue to break through the ice at Avalanche Lake outlet.
Adk Loj to Lake Colden Trail Conditions: Snowshoes are required beyond Algonquin Junction (2,250 ft.). The trail is skiable but thin from Adk Loj Trailhead to Marcy Dam. After the trail is in good condition to the high point of Avalanche Pass. Drainages between the top of Avalanche Pass and Lake Colden are gullied.
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.
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.
Elk Lake Trails and Clear Pond Gate: The two trails that pass through the Elk Lake property to Panther Gorge in the High Peaks Wilderness and the southern approaches to Dix Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open for public use. 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 to roundtrip, plan accordingly.
Avalanche Pass Slide: The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type through the winter.
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.