Friday, October 30, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (10/30): Winter is coming…

Travel: Check 511NY for road closures and travel conditions. If you plan on hiking in the High Peaks, use 511NY to check the status of parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. Have back-up plans in place and, if the parking lot at your desired destination is full, move on to your back-up plan.

Weather: Check the National Weather Service or NY Mesonow for current conditions and forecasts for the locations where you plan to recreate. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Fire Danger: Low. Check the DEC Fire Danger Map for updated conditions. Never leave campfires unattended. Fully extinguish your campfire before leaving your campsite. Ashes should be cool to the touch. Learn more about campfire safety.

Water Conditions: Water temperatures are very cool. Water levels are at average throughout most of the Adirondacks with select waterways below average. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters.

Hunting Seasons: Many small game and big game hunting seasons are open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment 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 wear bright colors as an extra precaution if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Seasonal Access Roads: Seasonal access roads are dirt and gravel which can be rough. Four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended for driving on these roads. Roads may be narrow – use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles. Seasonal access roads typically remain open to public motor vehicle traffic through the end of the regular Northern Zone big game hunting season unless weather conditions require an earlier closing. In the winter, many of these roads are snowmobile trails.

Ticks: Ticks will remain active until temperatures stay consistently below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect against ticks and tick-borne illnesses by dressing properly, using repellants when necessary, and checking yourself for ticks frequently during and after outdoor recreation. Additional tips for tick prevention.

Hiking Resources

Early Season Winter Conditions

Be prepared, bring the right gear, and wear the right clothes and shoes to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike. Review Hike Smart NY’s list of 10 essentials, and bring those items on every hike. Prepare for your hike by doing the following:

New: Bring Winter Gear: Winter conditions including snow and ice have been reported on summits in the Adirondacks. Bring traction devices such as microspikes or crampons on all hikes. Wear warm, waterproof boots and waterproof outer layers. Moving through snow and ice takes longer than walking on dry ground – account for extra time on your hike.

Research Your Hike: Research a variety of hikes and pick one that is appropriate for the physical abilities and experience of every person in your group. Estimate how long the hike will take, and make a realistic timeline. Using reliable sources, research the route and familiarize yourself with trail junctions and other significant landmarks. Double check your route on a map, and bring a paper map with you. Research trailhead parking. Share your plans with a reliable friend or family member who will notice if you do not return on time.

Have a Back-up Plan: The Adirondacks is a popular destination with limited parking in most places. Well-known trails get crowded and parking spots fill up quickly and early. Have several backup plans in case you arrive at your desired location and cannot find parking. Do not park illegally. Instead, move on to a back-up location until you find a place with safe, legal parking.

Check the Weather: Check the weather for the place you will be visiting, not where you are coming from. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures. Seasonal temperatures are dropping and will be even lower on high summits. Exposed summits will be windy. If conditions become unfavorable, turn around. You can always complete your hike another day.

  • High Peaks Region Daytime Highs ~ High 30s to High 40s
  • High Peaks Region Nighttime Lows ~ Low 10s to Low 20s

Layer Up: Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Stay safe and warm by wearing non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers and wearing or bringing additional warm, waterproof, and windproof layers, a hat, mittens, and extra socks. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in. Add or remove layers as needed to keep you warm without sweating through clothes. As sweaty clothes cool, they create ideal conditions for hypothermia.

Manage Time Wisely: Be mindful of sunrise and sunset times, and plan accordingly. Start long hikes early to maximize sunlight hours and always bring a headlamp. Note: Daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 1 at 2 a.m. This means sunrise and sunset will be an hour earlier on Sunday.

  • Approximate Time of Sunrise: 7:30 a.m. Friday & Saturday, 6:30 a.m. Sunday
  • Approximate Time of Sunset: 5:45 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 4:45 p.m. Sunday

Pack a Light: Bring a headlamp or flashlight on every hike, no matter how long the trail is or what time of day you are hiking. Bring extra batteries and a back-up source of light. You are more likely to get lost or injured hiking in the dark. Even if you plan to be done before sunset, bring a headlamp in case of emergencies or unexpected delays. Don’t rely on your phone’s flashlight. Using your phone’s flashlight will drain the battery quickly.

Keep Our Environment Clean: Help preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks and protect our local wildlife by putting garbage in designated trash cans or taking it home with you. Please do not leave trash, gear, or food scraps behind. Use designated toilets when available, and visit to learn how you can Leave No Trace when going to the bathroom in the woods. Do not graffiti or carve rocks, trees, or backcountry structures like lean-tos or fire towers.

Stick to Designated Trails: Trails will be wet and muddy at low elevations and might be snowy and icy at higher elevations. Wear waterproof shoes and walk through mud, not around it, to protect trail edges. Use traction devices when you encounter ice.

Review Regulations: Review the rules and regulations for the area you will be visiting. Each state land management unit has rules in place to help protect users and the natural resources. Hikers headed to the High Peaks should review the rules and regulations for the High Peaks Wilderness.

Use Caution: Many Adirondack trails encounter water crossings and not all of them have bridges. Use caution at crossings and on trails along fast flowing brooks and rivers.

Recent Notices

The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

High Peaks Wilderness: The two trails on the Elk Lake Conservation Easement Tract which provide access to the Dix Mountain, Marcy Mountain, and the Colvin Range, will close to public use on October 16 and will remain closed through Northern Zone Big Game Hunting Season.

Independence River Wild Forest: Water and restrooms at the Otter Creek Horse Trails have been shut down for the season. Camping is still permitted at the assembly area.

Road Access

  • Boreas Ponds Tract: Boreas Road cannot be accessed during this year’s hunting season due to the damage and closure of the Gulf Brook Road.
  • Essex Chain Lakes Complex
    • Camp Six Road is open until the end of the Northern Zone big game hunting season but may close sooner if conditions warrant. The road is in rough shape and has not been brushed out. Use caution.
    • Chain Lakes Road South is open for hunting season for 1.5 miles north of the Outer Gooley Parking Area. High clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.
  • Sable Highlands Conservation Easement: Barnes Pond Road is open to public motor vehicle use. The road will remain open until the end of the Northern Zone big game hunting season but may close sooner if conditions warrant.
  • Tooley Pond Conservation Easement Tract: The landowner is conducting a timber harvest and logging equipment is crossing Spruce Mountain Road which is used to access the South Branch of the Grass River. Drivers must use caution and stay alert.

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

Hike Smart by packing the proper gear. See our recommended packing list and safety tips.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

2 Responses

  1. sandor says:

    Nys is driving heavy duty equipment up Gulf Brook Rd over “temporarily fixed ” washouts but Hunters who don’t hunt for free are blocked out!! Please charge for hiking permits and realize Its time…

    • Boreas says:

      It doesn’t seem to make much sense. I suppose much of it is liability, but part of it is if someone is parked at the end of the road 7 miles in and the state decides to dig up a culvert near the entrance, the hunter/hiker/paddler will not be able to leave until it is properly replaced. The road isn’t wide enough to do one side at a time like a normal road. Some of the equipment may take up the entire road and you may not be able to squeeze by without major disruption.I am not making excuses for them, but it certainly makes their job easier. Why it has taken a year is another issue…

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