Compiled on Thursday April 30, 2015
Please be advised of the following conditions and prepare for them to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience.
This information focuses on the High Peaks Region, for more information or for information on other areas in the Adirondacks visit the DEC trail information web pages (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html)
Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check current weather conditions and short-term forecast before entering the backcountry at the National Weather Service – 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.
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. 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.
Spring Conditions: Daytime high temperatures are forecast to be in the 60s & 70s. Nighttime temperatures will be above freezing in the lower elevations, but may drop below freezing in the higher elevations. Wear a water & wind resistant outer layer. Snow is still present above 2,500 feet.
Trail Conditions: Trails are muddy and wet in the lower elevations. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails to avoid further eroding trails. Middle elevations are a transition zone of water, mud, and snow. Snow remains present above 2,500 feet. Snow is a foot deep at 3,000 feet and 2 feet or more at higher elevations! Snow is present at lower elevations and deeper on north and east facing slopes and other shaded areas. Snow on trails in the higher elevations will be hard in the morning and soft when it warms.
Snowshoes & Traction Devices: Carry both snowshoes and traction devices. Snowshoes may needed above 3,000 feet, especially in the afternoon when snow is soft. The use of snowshoes avoids “post-holing”, eases travel, and prevents injuries. Some areas of the trail may be icy especially in the morning in the higher elevations. The use traction devices will ease travel and prevent slips, falls and injuries.
Ice on Water: Low to mid elevation waters will be open or significantly open by the weekend. Ice on high elevation ponds and lakes is thinning. No ice should be considered safe at this time.
Rivers, Streams and Drainages: Water levels are running at or below normal spring flows. Currents are swift and water temps are cold. A person in the water will quickly lose the ability to keep their head above water without a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). While not required PFDs should be worn by all paddlers and boaters in small boats. Check levels and flows of selected waters at the USGS Current Water Data for New York.
Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger and snow is present and deep! Sight distance will be limited, sometimes significantly, when clouds cover the summits.
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.
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).
The Garden Trailhead: The road to the trailhead is open and the Town of Keene is collecting parking fees.
Garden Parking and Hiker Shuttle Schedule
Corey’s Road: The gate on Corey’s Road remains closed to motor vehicles until the end of the spring mud season. Those seeking to access the Calkins Brook and Ward Brook Trails must park at the Raquette Falls Trailhead and traverse the 3 miles to the summer parking lot.
Clear Pond Gate: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road remains closed to motor vehicles 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 road remains closed and barricaded to motor vehicles by the Town of North Elba until the end of the spring mud season.
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.
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.
Courtesy of DEC Region 5