Compiled on Thursday November 25, 2015
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.
Shorter Days: The length of day continues to shorten and sunset arrives much earlier now that we have returned to Standard Time. Sunset will occur around 4:25 pm and it will be dark by 4:55 pm. Forest Rangers have responded to numerous incidents of hikers in the dark without a flashlight this month. Plan trips to be out of the backcountry before dark. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries just in case you are caught after dark.
Colder Temperatures: While day time temperatures are forecast to be in the 40s on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, temperatures will be below freezing throughout the weekend. Showers are likely Friday and a mix of rain & snow are forecast for Friday night. Wear appropriate footwear, a waterproof outer layer, a hat and layers of non-cotton clothing. Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing. Put on and take off layers as needed to keep comfortable. Stay warm & dry to prevent hypothermia.
Trail Conditions: Trails will be a mixture of mud, water, ice and frozen mud in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. Wet and muddy conditions will likely be present in the lower elevations on Friday. Ice and snow will likely present at all elevations during the weekend. Wet and frozen leaves can make for slippery footing; especially on steep grades. Summit bedrock, rocks, logs, bog bridging and bridges may be icy – pack footwear traction devices and use when warranted. Higher elevations will have some snow by the weekend. Wear appropriate footwear.
Blowdown: Windy conditions which may produce blowdown (fallen trees, limbs and branches) on trails are forecast through Sunday. Be aware of trees, limbs and branches hanging above trails.
Summits: Temperatures will be cooler, winds will be stronger and snow & ice will be present. Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits.
Ice on Water: Ice has begun to form on the surface of ponds and lakes, especially in higher elevations. No ice is safe to cross at this time. Ice that holds snow cannot hold the weight of a person.
Hunting Seasons: Hunting seasons for big game, small game and waterfowl are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or other hunting implements 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. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.
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).
Elk Lake Trails: The trails to Mt. Marcy and Dix Mountain that pass through the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Land are closed through the regular big game hunting season. The trails will reopen on Monday, December 7.
Table Top Mountain Herd Path: The start of the Tabletop Mountain Herd Path on the Van Hovenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy has been moved 150 feet closer to Indian Falls. Signs have been erected at the new junction and flagging has been placed along the new section until the tread is clearly visible. The old section of trail is brushed in.
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.
Whiteface Mountain: Hikers climbing Whiteface Mountain should not depend on obtaining water at the summit. Be sure to carry enough water to reach the summit and return to the trailhead to stay comfortable and not suffer from dehydration.
Lake Arnold Trail: The trail between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to is muddy where the bog bridging is not present. Use Avalanche Pass/Lake Colden Trail or Mt. Colden Trail to travel between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to if you want to avoid this trail.
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.
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 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