The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet in the Adirondacks until higher elevation trails have dried and hardened.
“Backcountry trails in the highest elevations are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow,” DEC announcement says. “Steep trails with thin soils can become a mix of ice and mud as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground, making the trails slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers.”
DEC asks hikers to help avoid damage to hiking trails and sensitive high elevation vegetation by avoiding trails above 2,500 feet, particularly high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, and High Peaks Wilderness Areas, especially the following trails:
- 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 these trails 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
- Mt. VanHoevenberg
- Mt. Jo
- Giant Mt. Wilderness:
- Giant’s Washbowl
- Roaring Brook Falls
- Owl’s Head Lookout
- Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
- The Crows
- Hurricane Mountain from Rt 9N
- Jay Mountain Wilderness
- Jay Mountain
- McKenzie Mt. Wilderness:
- Baker Mountain
- Haystack Mountain
- McKenzie Mountain
- Saranac Lakes Wild Forest:
- Panther Mountain
- Scarface Mountain
- Floodwood Mountain
In keeping with the Leave No Trace principle of traveling and camping on durable surfaces, the Adirondack Mountain Club has been asking members to avoid hiking during mud season for several weeks. The Adirondack 46ers bylaws require members to follow DEC recommendations.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.
Photo courtesy Adirondack Mountain Club.