Thursday, December 20, 2018

Current Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (Dec 20)

CompassThis weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled each Thursday afternoon and fully updated by Friday afternoon.

Contribute Your Knowledge: Add a comment below, or send your observations, corrections, updates, and suggestions to adkalmanack@gmail.com.

Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter. Take the free online Leave No Trace course here.

BE PREPARED! Start slow, gain experience. Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, flashlights, space blanket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, fire making tools, extra clothing layers and socks, and a map and compass – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods in freezing temperatures. Just before entering the backcountry or launching a boat check the National Weather Service watches, warnings, and advisories here. Follow Adirondack weather forecasts at Burlington and Albany and consult the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

December 20th, 2018 – SPECIAL NOTICES

FLOOD WATCH: A Flood Watch continues for all of Northern New York from late Thursday night through Saturday afternoon. Periods of light to moderate rainfall are expected to move into the region later Thursday night and continue through Saturday afternoon. Total rainfall will average 0.75 to 1.50 inches with locally higher amounts. Very mild temperatures are also expected during this period which will lead to considerable snow melt of 1-3 inches. The combination of rain and snow melt will foster modest to sharp rises on area streams and rivers across the area, a few of which may exceed flood stage. While most rivers retain open channels through existing ice cover, considerable ice movement is likely by later Friday into Friday night. This may lead to the formation of ice jams in a few spots which would be more prone to flooding including along the Ausable, which may approach or exceed flood stage late Friday into
Friday night. A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

WIND ADVISORY: A Wind Advisory is in effect from 5 AM to 1 PM EST Friday for the northwestern slopes of the Adirondack Mountains. Winds Southeast 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected. Strong and gusty southeast winds will arrive in the pre-dawn hours on Friday and peak by late morning before abating Friday afternoon. Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are expected. A Wind Advisory means that wind gusts from 46 to 57 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

WINTER CONDITIONS: Prepare for winter conditions, high water, cold temperatures, ice, and deep snow in the backcountry. A storm over the Southeast will move north through the East Coast tonight into Friday. This storm will bring significant rainfall to the Adirondacks mainly early Friday, with another round again Friday evening. A FLOOD WATCH is in effect and river flooding and ice jams are possible (see above); A WIND ADVISORY has been issued for the northwestern slopes of the Adirondack Mountains (see above). Saturday will see a return of cold air and brisk winds. Lingering mountain snow showers will continue through the evening hours with a dusting to perhaps another inch possible on the westerns slopes above 2,000 feet. Before entering the back-country check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

SUMMIT CONDITIONS: Heavy rain and temperatures in the 50s on summits on Friday will raise the levels of rivers and streams, and make stream crossings difficult. A FLOOD WATCH and WIND ADVISORY are in effect (see above). Winds to 60 mph on Friday morning will remain 35-45 Saturday, and 20-25 mph on Sunday. Light snow or snow showers are expected Friday night as temperatures begin to fall headed to the teens on summits on Saturday. Windchills Saturday and Sunday on summits will be in the single digits below zero. Snowshoes or skis may be necessary for travel. Ice crampons and traction devices should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails including summits and other exposed areas. Before entering the back-country check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

GENERAL TRAIL CONDITIONS: Warm temperatures and rain in the forecast Friday will melt snow and cause high water levels in streams and rivers. Trails along rivers may be covered with water. Stream crossings may be treacherous or impassable. Low elevation trails may be wet and muddy. Moderate elevation trails will have wet snow and slush. Trails will begin icing up and hardening when temperatures drop below freezing Saturday night. Traction devices should be carried everywhere and snowshoes carried over about 2,500 feet.

SNOWSHOES OR SKIS REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS: Snowshoes or skis are required in the High Peaks Wilderness and recommended wherever snow depths exceed 10 inches – which is currently above Avalanche Camp (2,600 feet). Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing,” which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries.

WEEKLY SNOW, SKI AND SNOWMOBILE REPORT (12/20)

SNOW COVER: On Thursday afternoon, snow depths range from about 2 to 6 inches in the Southeastern Adirondacks, and at the periphery of the Adirondack Park. There is very little snow in the Hudson River Valley below and East of Warrensburg, and in the Champlain Valley. There remains about 8 to 12 inches elsewhere in the Adirondack Park. In the High Peaks and other higher elevation areas snow is deeper. There is about 24 inches at Lake Colden (2,750 feet), and 3-4 feet above about 3,000 feet.

Warm air into the 50s, dewpoints in the 40s, and rain Friday into Friday evening will lead to quick snow melt of 1-3 inches as the snowpack melts faster than is typical for this time of year.

Saturday will see a return of cold air and brisk winds. Afternoon mountain snow showers will linger through the
evening hours with a dusting to perhaps another inch possible on the westerns slopes above about 2,000 feet.

The most recent snow depths in inches reported in around the Adirondacks can be found here.

DOWNHILL FACILITIES: Conditions remain generally good, for now. We have a good base, temperatures have been cold and snow-making has been going full blast at downhill ski facilities. However, heavy rain is expected Friday that could limit operations at facilities relying on natural snow, which is not in the forecast through next weekend.

Expect some areas to be icy as temperatures return below freezing Saturday with brisk winds. Lingering mountain snow showers will continue through the evening hours with a dusting to perhaps another inch possible on the westerns slopes above 2,000 feet.

Whiteface and Gore mountains should have about half their terrain open for all levels, though no glades or slides this weekend. Titus Mountain will also have about half their terrain open, and West Mountain remains open 3 to 9 pm, and 1-3 pm Dec 23-25. Oak Mountain will open Saturday and Sunday with limited terrain. McCauley is open with 2 lifts servicing limited terrain, now operating six days a week, closed Tuesdays. Mt. Pisgah will open Friday, December 21, 10 am to 4 pm, then 12/22-23 from 10-4; 12/24 from 10-3. Closed on Christmas.

Big Tupper and Hickory near Warrensburg remain closed.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: After the rain Friday, all nordic facilities around the region should be open this weekend with generally good conditions, though fast and more limited terrain than they’ve had. The best bet this weekend would be to stick to the groomed facilities. See cross-country facility reports below, by region.

BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT: The Jackrabbit Trail is skiable. Many early season backcountry routes remain skiable although early season warnings apply, and conditions will be hard and fast after the Rain Friday and cold Saturday. Most popular trails have been broken out; trails which see a lot of hikers are now post-holed and not generally recommended. The best bet is smoother terrain less travelled routes Gulf Brook and the Newcomb Lake Road.

Lake Lila will is being plowed this season. Whiteface Highway is still being plowed. The Marcy Dam Truck trail is skiable, but no longer recommended due to post-holing. The hiking trail to Marcy Dam from Adirondac Loj is not recommended for skiing. There is now enough snow to ski from Marcy Dam through the pass to Avalache Lake and Lake Colden, which is being crossed but will be wet (beware at inlets and outlets). Marcy and Wright Peak are yet not recommended due to thin approaches.

An update with more detailed conditions in the Tri-Lakes and High Peaks area can be found here, courtesy the Adirondack Ski Touring Council / Barkeater Trails Alliance.

SNOWMOBILE REPORT: Lakes are unsafe for snowmobiles! Excepting Warren, Eastern Hamilton and Eastern Essex Counties, which remain closed, most snowmobile trails are open and in MARGINAL to GOOD early season conditions, including some icy areas, wet areas and blowdown remaining to be cleared on less popular trails. Conditions are best in Herkimer and Hamilton counties.

The C7 Snowmobile Trail (the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor) is available throughout the Adirondacks, but may not be rideable due to the lack of snow. Local clubs have permission to open the trail. On Friday, December 21, the route was still closed south of Sabattis Road and north of Beaver River.

See additional local snowmobile reports below, by region.

LAKES, RIVERS AND STREAMS

THIN ICE: Many waters have unsafe ice, and some waters have good ice but will be wet and slushy this weekend after temperatures in the 50s and heavy rain. Use extreme caution on ice – ice that holds snow, may not hold the weight of a person.

RIVERS AND STREAMS: A Flood Watch has been issued and waters around the Adirondacks will be rising, some only modestly, others sharply, with heavy rain and temperatures in the 50s expected Friday, especially in the High Peaks and along the Ausable River. Some crossings may be difficult or impassable this weekend; low water crossing will likely be impassible.

FLOOD WATCH: A FLOOD WATCH continues for all of Northern New York from late Thursday night through Saturday afternoon. Periods of light to moderate rainfall are expected to move into the region later Thursday night and continue through Saturday afternoon. Total rainfall will average 0.75 to 1.50 inches with locally higher amounts. Very mild temperatures are also expected during this period which will lead to considerable snow melt. The combination of rain and snow melt will foster modest to sharp rises on area streams and rivers across the area, a few of which may exceed flood stage. While most rivers retain open channels through existing ice cover, considerable ice movement is likely by later Friday into Friday night. This may lead to the formation of ice jams in a few spots which would be more prone to flooding. A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

STREAM GAGES: Stream gages may be affected by snow and ice. The following streamgage readings were observed on Thursday afternoon, these are expected to rise through the weekend as a FLOOD WATCH is underway (see above). Follow the latest river forecasts here and USGS streamgages here.

Moose River at McKeever – 3.69 ft (12/20): 3.12 ft (12/13)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 6.02 ft (12/20): 6.49 ft (12/13)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 1.91 ft (12/20): 1.92 ft (12/13)
Hudson River at North Creek – 3.94 ft (12/20): 4.13 ft (12/13)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 3.11 ft (12/20): 3.56 ft (12/13)
Lake Champlain at Whitehall – 96.07 ft (12/20): 96.35 ft (12/13)

SEASONAL AND SAFETY NOTICES

SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 7:28 am and sunset at 4:20 pm, providing 8 hours 52 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 4:35 pm Saturday afternoon, and set at 8:12 am, Sunday morning. It will be about 99% illuminated.

DO NOT RELY ON 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 expire quickly in cold temperatures. Plan and prepare carefully before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass – and know how to use them.

AVOID MINES AND CAVES WHERE BATS ARE PRESENT: DEC has urged outdoor adventurers to suspend exploration of cave and mine sites that may serve as seasonal homes for hibernating bats. Human disturbances are especially harmful to the State’s bat population since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than 90 percent of bats at hibernation sites in New York. All posted notices restricting the use of caves and mines should be followed. If you encounter hibernating bats while underground, DEC encourages you to leave the area as quickly and quietly as possible. Anyone entering a northern long-eared bat hibernation site from October 1 through April 30, the typical period of hibernation for bats, may be subject to prosecution. Learn more here.

KEEP PETS LEASHED: Keep your pet under control. Restrain your pet on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and camp sites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources. Dogs must be leashed in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. Dogs should be kept leashed everywhere in the Adirondack Park for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and rare plants, and out of courtesy to fellow recreationists.

GROUP SIZE RESTRICTIONS: Large groups have significantly more impact on the trails, natural resources and other users. DEC regulation restricts group size in the High Peaks Wilderness (which now includes the former Dix Mountain Wilderness) to no more than 15 hikers (day users) or 8 campers (overnight users) and encourages this practice to be followed in other areas. Outside the High Peaks Wilderness, DEC regulation requires a temporary permit be issued to authorize organized events of more than twenty people; camping at the same location for more than three nights; or camping in groups of more than 10 people.

VOLUNTEER FOR TRAIL WORK: No matter what your sport, if you’re a trail user consider contributing your efforts to one of the many organizations dedicated to maintaining the region’s network of thousands of miles of trails.

RECENT CHANGES IN THE ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY

* indicates new or recent items.

HIGH PEAKS REGION
Including Dix Mountain, Giant Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, Jay Mountain, McKenzie Mountain, Sentinel Range Wildernesses, Lake Placid, and Wilmington
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

** Flood Watch – Ice Jams Possible. (12/20): A FLOOD WATCH continues for all of Northern New York (see above). Very mild temperatures are also expected during this period which will lead to considerable snow melt bringing the possibility of modest to sharp rises on area rivers and streams, and some may exceed flood stage, including the Ausable River. While most rivers retain open channels through existing ice cover, considerable ice movement is likely by later Friday into Friday night. This may lead to the formation of ice jams in a few spots which would be more prone to flooding. A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. Check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

* Trail Conditions (12/20) : Warm temperatures and rain forecasted for Friday and Saturday will melt snow and cause high water levels in streams and rivers. Trails along rivers may be covered with water. Stream crossings may be treacherous or impassable. Low elevation trails may be wet and muddy. Moderate elevation trails will have wet snow and slush. Trails will begin icing up and hardening when temperatures drop below freezing Saturday night. Trail crampons should be carried and used when warranted.

* Deep Snow – Snowshoes Required (12/20): Lake Colden Caretaker reports 24 inches (61 cm) of snow at the stake (2,750 feet (838 m)) with 4 feet (122 cm) of snow above 3,000 feet (914 m). Snowshoes are required above Avalanche Camp – 2,600 feet (792 m) elevation.

* Backcountry Ski Conditions (12/20): The Marcy Dam Truck trail is skiable, but no longer recommended due to post-holing. The hiking trail to Marcy Dam from Adirondac Loj is not recommended for skiing. There is now enough snow to ski from Marcy Dam through the pass to Avalache Lake and Lake Colden, which is being crossed but will be wet (beware at inlets and outlets). Marcy and Wright Peak are yet not recommended due to thin approaches.

* Whiteface (12/20): Packed powder conditions; about half of the their terrain should be open this weekend. Whiteface has a new online trail map showing which lifts and trails are open, and locations of mountain services like restaurants and ski patrol. See the Latest Whiteface Conditions Here.

* Gulf Brook Road (12/20): Gulf Brook Road is skiable, is closed to motor vehicles, and is not being plowed. Gulf Brook Road will reopen to motor vehicle at the end of mud season in spring.

* Mt. Van Hoevenberg (12/20): Mount Van Hoevenberg has almost all of their 50k of trails open, packed powder, track set, good conditions Thursday. Open from 9am to 4:30 pm. Children six and under ski free.

** Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail: The new Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail is now open to public use. The 1.7-mile trail, located in the town of North Elba, Essex County, climbs 920 feet to the 2,940-feet summit of the trail. The trailhead is located the Olympic Sports Complex, while the summit is located in the High Peaks Wilderness. (10/5)

* Mr. Van Ski Trail (12/13): The Mr. Van Ski Trail makes numerous water crossings which will remain difficult until more snow arrives.

* South Meadow Lane – Marcy Dam (12/20): Snow is thin on South Meadow Lane and the Van Hoevenberg Trail below Marcy Dam. South Meadow Lane is closed to motor vehicle use for the season. Do not block the opening when parking at the entrance. This is used by emergency response vehicles.

* Avalanche Lake / Lake Colden (12/20): Avalanche Ski Trail and Avalanche Pass Trail have good snow conditions. Ice on Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake is thin and non-existent around inlets and outlets. Skis or snowshoes should be worn by those choosing to cross the ice. Expect to encounter slush. Use caution.

Corey’s Road Closed (12/13): The gate on Corey’s Road has been closed to accommodate logging operations in Ampersand Park. Parking is available at Raquette Falls Trailhead.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract (12/20): The Clear Pond Gate is closed for the winter. The Clear Pond Parking Area is two miles from the Elk Lake Trailhead – plan your travels accordingly.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking is prohibited along the Ausable Club Road and at the trailhead.

Garden-Porter Mtn. Trail – Cascade Mtn.: The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene are closed due to the decision of a private landowner. A reroute is being planned. As this will limit access to Cascade via Porter – further crowding the Route 73 Cascade trailhead – approach Porter Mountain via the trail from Marcy Field until the reroute is complete.

Owls Head: Owls Head in Keene is open to hikers mid-week only. The public is prohibited from parking on the private road leading to the trailhead between 4 pm Friday and 7 am Monday. The trail to the summit of Owls Head is not an official DEC trail nor is there an easement for public use of the trail. Public use of the trail is at the landowner’s discretion.

* Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Bradley Pond Trail: A new section of Bradley Pond Trail to Sanatanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge and then joins the old trail a short distance later. (2018)

Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Crossing the brook is possible only during low water conditions.

WESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest, William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* S78 Snowmobile Trail (12/20): S78 Snowmobile Trail (Grass River Railroad) on the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract is closed from Intersection 2 to Conifer. DEC has moved the trail closed signs from C7A to S78 (near Intersection 2). A “No Snowmobiling on Plowed Road” sign is located at the Conifer end of the trail.

* C7 Snowmobile Trail (12/20): DOT has completed repairs to the section south of Lake Lila. The C7 Snowmobile Trail is available throughout the Adirondacks, but may not be rideable due to the lack of snow or other conditions.

Lake Lila Road: Lake Lila Road is closed for the season. The road will be plowed so trucks and other heavy equipment can access and work on the rail corridor near the Nehasane Station. The road will not be skiable until the work is complete.

* Stillwater Mountain (12/13): The Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower and the trail to it reopens to the public, Friday, December 21st.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: There is an area with significant blowdown on the Norridgewock Trail about 1.5 miles south of Beaver River Station. A rough and temporary reroute has been flagged with pink flagging. All users should exercise caution when traveling through this area (7/5).

NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, Whitehill Wild Forest, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest,
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

*Snowmobile Trail Closures (12/20): S80 Snowmobile Trail (Railroad Grade and the Lake George Haul Road) on the Tooley Pond Conservation Easement is closed from intersection 33 to the Lake George Road. Trail 710 (New Bridge Connector Road) will be shared with logging trucks between intersections 33 and 34. S80A and S80B Snowmobile Trails (Slouch Pond Road, Second Brook Road and the Ticket Trail) located on the Tooley Pond and Grass River Conservation Easement Tracts. Signs and maps have been posted at appropriate intersections.

Raquette Boreal Complex: DEC has improved access and recreational opportunities at Jamestown Falls on the Raquette River along State Route 56. Improvements include: Rehabilitated access road, A hand launch on the river, Information kiosk, and ADA compliant primitive campsite with the following accessibly designed feature: hardened tent pad, picnic table, fire ring, and privy. (8/2)

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS
Including the Saranc Lake and Paul Smith’s Area, DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Tract, Santa Clara Tract, Saranac Lakes and the St. Regis Canoe Area
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* C-7B Snowmobile Route: DEC contractors working on the Brandy Brook project in the Village of Saranac Lake still have wooden mats across a section of track between Brandy Brook Lane and North Country Community College. This section of the C7B Snowmobile Trail is not open. Check local trail conditions before heading out. (12/20)

* C-7B Snowmobile Route: Gates on the D&H rail bed (C-7B Snowmobile Route) have been opened. (12/13)

* C-7 Snowmobile Route: The C-7 Snowmobile Route has been groomed from Lake Clear to Loon Lake. (12/13)

* Santa Clara Tract/ Madawaska-Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The following gates are closed Pinnacle Road, Howe Access Road, Four Mile Road, Vanderwalker Road (East Branch St. Regis River), and Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook.

* Saranac Lakes Wild Forest (12/20): The gate on the Connery Pond Road is closed for the season, the road is not being plowed, and is skiable. Use the nearby trailhead parking area along State Route 86.

* Paul Smith’s VIC Conditions (12/20): “Wednesday and Thursday look like the best days for a ski this week, come and enjoy some fresh snow, mild temperatures, and clear skies. All trails had 2-3 inches of fresh cold snow groomed into a firm base on Tuesday and are skiing fantastically.” For more information click here.

* Mount Pisgah (12/20): Mount Pisgah Recreation Center will open Friday, December 21, 10 am to 4 pm, then 12/22-23 from 10-4; 12/24 from 10-3. Closed on Christmas.

* Dewey Mountain (12/20): Lower Mountain groomed trails have packed Powder surfaces on hard firm surfaces. Best skiing is on Keough’s K, Cookie Monster, Peanuts. Upper Mountain Groomed Trails closed until conditions improve: Thanks Coach, Timinator, Iron Bill, Wolff. Upper Mountain ungroomed trails have thin cover on hard frozen base, areas of open trail and thin cover and are not generally recommended. Hours of operations through December are 10 am-4 pm. http://www.deweymountain.com/dewey-events.html

Loon Lake Mountain Trail: Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, the private landowner of the Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, is conducting a timber harvest in the area of the Loon Lake Mountain Trail. Be prepared to encounter logging trucks and heavy equipment at any time on the trail and the easement lands in the area during this active harvest operation. Contact the DEC Ray Brook Office at 518-897-1291 for questions regarding this harvest operation. (2018)

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, Wilmington Wild Forest, Five Mile Conservation Easement Tract, Gold Mine Conservation Easement Tract
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Sable Highlands Tract: The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed until the 2019 Big Game Hunting Season. Hikers and skiers may still use the road to access the six campsites along the road. (12/6)

* Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

SOUTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including the Old Forge Area, Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, Pigeon Lake Wilderness

These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* C7 Snowmobile Trail: The C7 Snowmobile Trail (the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor) between Beaver River and County Route 10/Sabbattis Road in the Towns of Webb and Long Lake, Herkimer and Hamilton Counties is closed to snowmobile traffic while emergency work takes place to repair several sections of trail which have been washed out.

* McCauley Mountain (12/20): Running 2 Lifts servicing Challenger, Mity Mite, Rambler, Upper God’s Land, Big Jer’s Way, Bob’s Bender, Lost Trail, Sky Ride, Rambler Glades, Karl’s Cut Off, Jerry’s Chute, Lower Gods Land, Big Dipper. Downhill wood trails have thin cover, some icy areas. Ski With caution. McCauley Mountain is open from 9 am to 4:00 pm and some cross country trails. Open six days a week, closed Tuesdays. The latest conditions at McCauley can be found here.

* Webb-Inlet Snowmobile Trails Systems (12/20): The towns of Webb—Inlet Snowmobile Trail System has GOOD to VERY GOOD conditions overall with up to 6” of packed, frozen base. Pick Trail for today is #1. Interior trails are in great shape. Trail reconstruction and grooming is underway on Lower Doe Pond Trail and Trail #9 to Rondaxe. Roads have minimum coverage. Trail #4 needs snow, and #6 below Thendara is MARGINAL due to lack of snow. Please use caution: Early Season Conditions prevail.

Independence River Wild Forest: Big Otter Lake Road has been rehabilitated up to Tommy Roaring Brook. The road will be temporarily blocked beyond Tommy Roaring Brook until further rehabilitation occurs. (11/7)

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: A permanent reroute has been constructed on the Norridgewock Trail around the area of significant blowdown about 1.5 miles south of Beaver River Station. (9/27)

Black River Wild Forest: Loop Road at North Lake is open for public motor vehicle use to Campsite #18. The road remains closed beyond this point due to a major washout at Golden Stair Creek. (7/12)

Black River Wild Forest: Stone Dam Trail north of Stone Dam Lake to its intersection with the Chub Pond Trail is overgrown and can be hard to find and follow.

Independence River Wild Forest: The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. East Pond-Lost Creek Trail between East Pond and the Big Otter Lake East Trail is rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times.

WEST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
Including Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Easement, Township 20 Easement, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Raquette Lake – Long Lake Snowmobile Trails (12/20): Thursday will be the last day of early season riding until there is more snow. Melt off and some flooding of area brooks and streams is epected. All trails in Raquette Lake and Long Lake are holding Thursday with 1-2 inches snow on a 1 – 2 inch ice base/some ice in spots. Overall conditions are marginal to fair to good. Early Season conditions, but groomers have been out. There will be no grooming on Christmas Day.

* O’ Neil Flow Road: O’Neil Flow Road (aka Newcomb trail) is being plowed for the first 4 miles off Route 28/30. Tentative plan for this section is shared-use for snowmobiles and logging trucks. That would be a very tight fit and extreme caution would be necessary. The safest time to be ride would be after dark with reduced truck traffic, when snowmobilers are able to see headlights from oncoming vehicles. (12/7)

* Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road / Moose River Plains Road: The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (aka the Moose River Plains Road) and other designated snowmobile trails are open for use. (12/20)

Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Easement (112/6): Some snowmobile trails are open but trails on adjacent Forest Preserve lands are not suitable for snowmobiling at this time. The south end of Perkins Clearing Road will be plowed for logging for much of this winter. Snowmobiles will need to used the southern bypass trail.

* Long Lake – Raquette Lake Snowmobile Trails (12/20): The NYS Trail gates are now open. The Long Lake – Raquette Lake snowmobile trails have a thin base, including in most sections of trail in Long Lake. Raquette reports better conditions, 1 inch base, 2 inches snow cover. The latest Long Lake- Raquette Lake Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Newcomb Trail- C7B (12/20): 1-2 inches fresh snow cover over icy base. Fair – Marginal Early Season conditions prevail. The latest Newcomb Trail- C7B Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Tupper Trail / Kickerville – C7B (12/20): 1-2 fresh snow cover over 1 inch base. Running water/Wet in middle section near Grampus. Groomed Tues 12/18. The latest Tupper Trail / Kickerville – C7B Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Sabattis Road C7B (12/20): Marginal to Fair Shoulders widened / cut for sleds on Friday 12/14. The latest Sabattis Road C7B Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Powerline Trail S80 (formerly known as C8B) (12/20): Trail is open, but marginal to fair early season, thin base. The latest Powerline Trail S80 Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Lake Eaton S86 (12/20): Gates open, but thin and marginal conditions with some blowdown and wet areas on the backside of Lake Eaton. The latest Lake Eaton / S86 Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Train Tracks / c7 Snowmobile Trail (12/20): Open in both directions – washout now repaired.

* 7th Lake Mt. Trail (12/20): This Class II Community Connector Trail is open, but rough and marginal, 2 inches base (thin) 2 inches snow cover . The latest Seventh Lake Mountain Trail Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Uncas Road / Browns Tract / Dump Road (12/20): Open, icy base with 1-2 inches fresh snow. Grooming on-goingThe latest Uncas Road / Browns Tract / Dump Road Snowmobile Trail Conditions can be found here.

* Blue Mountain Wild Forest: The following roads are closed to public motor vehicle use: O’Neil Flow Road, Minerva Club Road, and Pickwickett Pond Road. (11/29)

* Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Four miles of the southern end of Snowmobile Route 538 between Indian Lake and Newcomb will be plowed to allow for transportation of timber by logging trucks. Snowmobilers should reduce speed and expect to encounter log trucks when traveling this route. (11/29)

* Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The road system remains open at this time but is covered in more than a foot of snow. Only four-wheel drive vehicles should be used to travel on the road. (11/21)

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Spruce Lake Lean-tos #1 and #2 were restored this season by volunteer crews from Lean2Rescue. (11/15)

Northville-Placid Trail: A broken foot bridge spanning Lamphere Brook in the West Canada Wilderness was recently replaced with a new 35-foot bridge. (10/11)

Otter Brook Truck Trail: Crews from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Corps cleaned and brushed out an approximate seven-mile section of the Otter Brook Truck Trail from the gate off the Otter Brook Road to a mile east of the intersection with the trail to Lost Pond. DEC expects to clean and brush out the remainder of the trail between the trail to Lost Pond and the Moose River Plains Road next summer. (9/27)

Moose River Plains Complex: Lean2Rescue has completed three lean-to projects on Eighth Lake. Dunning Lean-to located on the northern shore of the lake has been completely rehabilitated. Volunteers with the organization replaced the roof, the floor, and select logs that were in poor condition. They also stained the lean-to. The “Double-wide Lean-to” on the western shore of Eighth Lake has been completely rehabilitated. The four base logs, the floor, and the roof were all replaced and the lean-to was stained. Earlier this summer the lean-to located on a small island near the western shore of Eighth Lake was removed. Due to the small size of the island it cannot sustain camping. The site has been converted into a day use site (9/27)

EAST CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
Including Indian Lake, Newcomb, Camp Santanoni, Essex Chain Lakes, Hoffman Notch, Hudson Gorge, Jessup River, Siamese Ponds and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Siamese Ponds Wilderness (12/13): The former site of the 55 foot bridge over the East Branch of the Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail is now a foot crossing (rock hopping). Hikers may have trouble crossing during times of high water following heavy rain or during spring snow melt. Wear trail crampons and use hiking poles with steel or carbide tips when traversing ice covered rocks. A 30-foot bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail over a tributary to the Thirteenth Lake south of the lake has collapsed and cannot be crossed.

* Oak Mountain (12/20): Skiing Saturday and Sunday 9-4 on limited terrain, but closed Friday due to rain. Closed Mon/Tues and then open Wed 12/26-Tues 1/1. The Acorn will be open Thurs and Friday night 4-8; Sat 11-8, Sun 11-5, closed Mon/Tues, open Wed 12/26-Tues 1/1. Snowtubing will open 12/26-1/1.

* Essex Chain Lakes Complex (11/26): Due to deep snow, all gates are closed and locked, and all seasonal access roads are closed to motor vehicle use for the winter. The closed roads are: Cornell Road, Deer Pond Road, Chain Lakes Road North. Drakes Mill Road, Camp Six Road, and Chain Lake Road South.

Jessup River Wild Forest: The Oxbow Trail has reopened.

EASTERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Hammond Pond Wild Forest, North Creek, Schroon Lake, the Lake George Valley, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Lake Champlain, Split Rock Wild Forest, and Champlain Area Trails Society Trails
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Gore Mountain (12/20): Gore Mountain will have about 40 percent of their terrain open this weekend. They have been making snow on Pine Knot, Tahawus, Lower Sunway, 3b and Jamoboree.  Latest Snow Report

* Schroon Lake / North Hudson Snowmobile Trails: Schroon Lake / North Hudson snowmobile trails are not yet open for the season (12/6).

* Warren County Snowmobile Trails (12/20): Snowmobile trails in Warren County are not yet open for the season.

Garnet Lake: The water access site at Garnet Lake has been gated to prevent the launching of trailered boats. Canoes, kayaks and small boats can be easily carried over the gate and to the water’s edge for launching. The gate was installed for several reasons according to DEC: In the Adirondacks, trailered boats may only be launched at designated boat launches on lakes 1,000 acres or larger. The site on 330-acre Garnet Lake is a designated waterway access site (aka hand launch). Use of the lake by larger motorboats has increased in recent years exceeding the capacity of the small lake. Eliminating the use of trailers access to the water decreases the threat of the spread of aquatic invasive species into the lake. (8/30)

SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS
Including Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The trail to Spruce Mountain Fire Tower is open for public use. (12/6)

* Lapland Lake Ski Conditions (12/20): “Today we will have approximately 10K of XC ski trails open and freshly snowcat groomed including practice field, Lake Trail, Vasa and Sisu with Homestead Hill bypass.  Snowshoe trails open.  One junior tubing hill is open.  Note: based on forecast of rain tonight and Friday, we may close to day visitors on Friday 12/21 to minimize damage to our snow base.  We are optimistic our season will continue after this predicted weather event. Open Weekends & Holidays 9am – 4:30pm & non-holiday Mon-Fri 10am- 4:30pm. Latest conditions can be found here.

West Branch Sacandaga River: A new paddlers’ take-out site has been completed along the West Branch Sacandaga River in the Shaker Place Conservation Easement Tract, in the town of Arietta, Hamilton County. There are no public access rights beyond the Shaker Place take-out. There is also no public access on the adjacent lands. Paddlers must stay on the roadway, in the parking area, and on the path to the river. (10/5)

Northville-Placid Trail: A new lean-to was constructed by DEC staff along the trail just north of the West Stony Creek crossing. (9/27)

Northville Placid Trail: The trail is brushy between Silver Lake and Mud Lake and may be difficult to follow in areas. This section is scheduled to cleaned and brushed out in Summer 2019. (9/27)

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DEC Trail Supporter PatchBe sure to 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. Check the Adirondack Almanack Outdoor Conditions Reports each Thursday afternoon. A map of the Adirondack Park can be found here; active alerts are updated by noon Friday here.

This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled by Adirondack Almanack founder and editor John Warren for publication each Thursday afternoon. John’s condensed version for radio can be heard Friday mornings on WSLP Lake Placid, and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The NYS Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1 (866) 933-2257. Patch proceeds help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

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Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices. To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.




One Response

  1. stripperguy aka Mike T. says:

    “Lake Lila Road: Lake Lila Road is closed for the season. The road will be plowed so trucks and other heavy equipment can access and work on the rail corridor near the Nehasane Station…”

    Does anyone know the nature of this work??

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