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Current Interior Conditions in the Adirondack High Peaks Region

January 23rd, 2014 · Comments Off on Current Interior Conditions in the Adirondack High Peaks Region ·

Compiled on Thursday December 14, 2017

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, visit the DEC Adirondack Trail Information web pages.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly.

  • Check the current National Weather Service Forecast and be prepared for the forecasted conditions.
  • NYS Mesonet has two dozen stations in and around the of Adirondacks that provide real time weather data and forecasts.
  • Carry extra clothing, equipment, and supplies in case of an unanticipated overnight stay.


Backcountry Conditions

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.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace when recreating in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks.

Late Fall/Early Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present at all elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for more information. Be prepared for conditions:

  • Avoid hypothermia, stay warm and dry.
  • Be prepared for cold, wet, and snow with:
    • Waterproof outer layer
    • Wear layers of non-cotton clothing
    • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing.
    • Hat and gloves or mittens.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight; the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Trail Conditions: Snow and ice are present on trails at all elevations. The recent snow storm brought nearly 10” to the High Peaks. The use of snowshoes is now required in the High Peaks Wilderness. Water and mud may also still be present on some lower elevation trails.

  • Wear proper footwear including traction devices – especially on steep sections of trail and at water crossings where rocks may be covered with a layer of ice.
  • Snowshoes or skis are strongly encouraged wherever snow depths exceed 8”.
  • Due to previous high winds, expect to encounter blow down (fallen or hanging trees, limbs and branches) on trails.

Ice on Water: Ice has or is beginning to form on many waters. Ice will not bear the weight of person at this time. Ice may be covered in snow and still will not hold the weight of a person.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, snow will be deeper, and ice will be present.

  • Wear a jacket or coat (outer shell) that blocks wind when on summits or other exposed locations.
  • Carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing to wear on the summits.
  • Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

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.

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 two trails through the Elk Lake Easement lands connecting to the High Peaks Wilderness and the Dix Mountain Wilderness, are open once again. However, the Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road will remain closed through the spring mud season. This will add four miles to a roundtrip hike, plan accordingly.

Corey’s Road: The gate will remain open until March 1, however the road and parking areas may not be plowed. If you don’t’ have a four-wheel drive vehicle and there is snow on the road, consider parking along the plowed section of road and walking. DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC. Have a shovel in your vehicle in case you need to dig out after a snowstorm.

South Meadow Lane: The lane is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Vehicles can park at the barrier just off the Adirondac Loj Road. Do not block the opening – it is used for emergency access.

Mr. Van Lean-to: A large tree has fallen on the lean-to on the Mr. Van Ski Trail causing severe damage and rendering the lean-to unsafe and unusable. DEC is working with partners to evaluate the extent of the damage and the requirements and timing of repairs.

Phelps Trail: Several sections of the trail in the Upper Johns Brook Valley contain extensive amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches). Please use caution when hiking in and around this area.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Trail between Indian Pass and Lake Colden is no longer a designated trail and is not maintained. It has not been a designated trail since Tropical Storm Irene devastated the trail in 2011.

Bradley Pond Trail: A new section of this trail to Santanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section leaves the old trail just as the trail leaves the gravel road and crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge, and then joins the old trail a short distance later.

Owls Head: The trail across private lands to the summit is closed to public access and use on weekends, but remains available for public use on weekdays. Please stay on the trail and avoid trespassing on private lands.

Courtesy of DEC Region 5


High Peaks Wilderness Hiking and Camping Rules

Leave No Trace in the Adirondack Forest Preserve

Adirondack Snow Conditions and Resources

NYSDEC Hiking, Camping and Paddling Resources

Garden Parking and Hiker Shuttle Schedule

ADKHighPeaks and Adirondack Forum

Aspiring Adirondack 46ers Hiking Discussion

Detailed Weather Forecast – Plattsburgh, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Old Forge, Lake George

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