Compiled on Thursday February 11, 2016
Please be advised of the following conditions and prepare for them to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience.
Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check current weather conditions and short-term forecast before entering the backcountry at: NWS Forecast Office BTV.
Plan ahead – bring flashlight, first aid equipment, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. 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 can expire. Plan and prepare before entering the backcountry and carry a map & compass for navigation or at least as backup.
Extreme Cold and Wind Chill Forecasted: The National Weather Service forecast predicts the following conditions in the High Peaks region:
- Saturday – High temperature: -7 F (-22 C);Winds 23 to 30 mph;Wind Chill -33 F(-36 C)
- Saturday Night – Low temperature: -24 F (-31); Winds 18 to 23 mph (45 mph gusts); wind Chill -55 F (-48 C) (-65 F in gusts (-54 C))
- Sunday – High temperature: -3 F (-19 C); Winds 17 to 21 mph; Wind Chill -29 F (-34 C)
- Sunday Night – High temperature: -10 F (-23 C); Winds 10 to 16 mph; Wind Chill -32 F (-36 C)
Exposed skin may experience frostbite in 10 minutes on Saturday night and in 30 minutes during the rest this period. Minimize skin exposure: wear appropriate footwear, a waterproof outer layer, a hat, gloves or mittens and layers of non-cotton clothing. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers to keep comfortable. Avoid hypothermia by staying warm & dry, and resting, eating and hydrating often.
Summit Information: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, bedrock and other exposed areas will be icy, and snow will be deeper.
Ice on Water: The return of below freezing temperatures (and the extreme cold this weekend) has and will be making ice. Ice may be thin in some locations where there had been open water just days ago such as: along shorelines, over running water, near inlets & outlets, and near boathouses & docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Ice with snow on the surface, may not hold a person’s weight. Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
Snow Information: Snow depths range between 6 and 20 inches in the backcountry. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 15 inches of snow at the stake (elevation ~2750 feet), with deeper snows higher up. There was 5 inches of new snow in the past two days and an additional 4 to 6 inches of snow is forecast through Friday night. National Weather Service NERFC Snow Information has current snow depths, daily snowfall amounts, snow forecasts and information about the snowpack. has current snow depths, daily snowfall amounts, snow forecasts and information about the snowpack.
Trail Conditions: Trails are mainly ice under light snow. Summit bedrock and other open areas may also be icy. The use of crampons or spikes is necessary. Cross-country skiing conditions have improved on South Meadow Lane and the Marcy Truck Trail and other lower elevation, flatter trails. Conditions are poor elsewhere. Snowshoes should be carried for hikes in the higher elevations and worn when snow depths on trails are greater than 8 inches to prevent post-holing.
NOTE: Fires are prohibited in Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone
NOTE: Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.
Be Prepared Before Entering the Back Country:
Check (before entering the backcountry)
- Local Forest Ranger for current information.
- Current weather conditions and short-term forecast
- Appropriate outer wear and foot wear
- Layers of non-cotton clothes
- Map and compass and know how to use them and use them!
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Plenty of food and water
- Extra clothes and socks
- Rain gear
- Ensolite pad to rest on and insulate your body from cold surfaces
- Bivy sack or space blankets for extra warmth
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).
Corey’s Road: The last 3 miles of the road are closed to public motor vehicle traffic for the winter and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. The gate at the Raquette Falls Trailhead is closed. The town of Harrietstown plows the road to the bridge over Stoney Creek, it prohibits parking in the area around the bridge and the half mile of road prior to the bridge. Skiers and snowshoers should park at the first pull-off after the end of the pavement and hike the remainder of the plowed road on foot. Skiers and snowshoers will need to travel road three miles to reach the Seward Trailhead. Logging operations will continue through the winter at Ampersand Park. Watch and listen for logging trucks, move to the side to allow trucks to pass safely.
Elk Lake Trails: The trails to Mt. Marcy and Dix Mountain that pass through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Land are open. However the gate at Clear Pond is closed until after the spring mud season. This will add four miles of travel round trip, plan accordingly.
South Meadow Lane: The Town of North Elba has closed South Meadow Lane for the winter. Barriers have been placed across the road near the entrance at the Loj Road. Vehicles may park there for access to the Mt. VanHovenberg Trail, the Marcy Truck Trail and the Klondike Trail. Do not block the gap in the barrier, it is used by emergency vehicles.
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 most of time 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.
Courtesy of DEC Region 5