The Adirondack High Peaks seen from St. Regis Mountain. (Wikimedia Photo)

The Adirondack High Peaks seen from St. Regis Mountain. (Wikimedia Photo)

Spring is known for bringing April showers and May flowers. In New York, it also brings an annual request from officials asking hikers to avoid muddy high elevation trails in the Adirondacks.

Today, officials with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation made their annual plea to hikers, asking them to temporarily avoid high elevation trails in the Adirondacks because of muddy trail conditions.

DEC officials ask hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet – particularly in the Dix, Giant and High Peaks Wilderness Areas of the northern Adirondacks – until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. They say spring conditions arrived early and are present throughout New York and the lower elevations of the Adirondacks. However, backcountry trails in the higher elevations are still covered in slowly melting ice. Officials say these often steep trails become a mix of ice and mud making them slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground.

DEC asks hikers to avoid the following trails until trail conditions improve:

  • High Peaks Wilderness Area – all trails above 2,500 feet; where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically: Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam – Avalanche – Lake Colden which is extremely wet, Phelps Trail above John Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright and all “trail-less” peaks.
  • Dix Mountain Wilderness Area – all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond
  • Giant Mountain Wilderness Area – all trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owls Head.

Hikers are advised to only use trails at lower elevations, as they usually dry soon after snowmelt, and traverse deeper, less erosive soils. DEC suggests the following alternative trails for hiking, subject to weather conditions:

  • High Peaks Wilderness:
    • Ampersand Mountain
    • Owls Head
    • Mt. VanHoevenberg
    • Mt. Jo
  • Giant Mt. Wilderness:
    • Giant’s Washbow
    • Roaring Brook Falls
    • Owl’s Head Lookout
  • Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
    • The Crows
    • Hurricane Mtn from Rt 9N
  • Jay Mountain Wilderness
    • Jay Mtn
  • McKenzie Mt. Wilderness:
    • Baker Mountain
    • Haystack Mountain
    • McKenzie Mountain
  • Saranac Lakes Wild Forest:
    • Panther Mountain
    • Scarface Mountain
    • Floodwood Mountain

A full list of recommended mud season hikes can be found on DEC’s website. DEC’s website also contains information on trail conditions in the Adirondacks.