Friday, April 8, 2022

Outdoor conditions (4/8): Muddy trails but still snowy on mountain tops

outdoor conditions logoThe 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.

Muddy Trails Advisory: DEC today issued a muddy trail advisory for Adirondack trails, especially those over 2,500 feet in elevation. Please avoid the following high elevation trails until trails conditions have dried and hardened:

  • High Peaks Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet specifically Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam – Avalanche – Lake Colden, which is extremely wet, Phelps Trail above Johns Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright, all “trail-less” peaks, and all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond in the former Dix Mountain Area;
  • Giant Mountain Wilderness – all trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owl Head Lookout;
  • McKenzie Mountain Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet, specifically Whiteface, Esther, Moose and McKenzie mountains;
  • Sentinel Range Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet, specifically Pitchoff Mountain; and
  • Jay Mountain Wilderness – specifically Jay Mountain.

High Peaks Wilderness: Snow Conditions, 04/05: Snow depths in the High Peaks range from 3 to 4 feet about 2,700 feet. Snowshoes are still required at high elevations. Crampons and gaiters should be carried and worn when needed. Weekend rain will melt snow and impact stream crossings, even at low elevations. Plan accordingly.


General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Know Before You Go (04/07): Be prepared for a mix of winter and spring conditions. Snow and ice are still present at high elevations, while warmer temps have brought high waters and mud to low elevations. Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Be prepared with warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, and, depending on the elevation of your hike, proper gear for snow and ice, including snowshoes, microspikes and crampons. Remember that conditions will change as you gain elevation. Cool, wet weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia, so learn how to recognize and avoid it. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in. Avoid late season ice on bodies of water and water crossings.

Check the Weather: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for select summit forecasts. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you gain elevation. Check wind chill temperatures and prepare for colder, windier summits.

Muddy Trails: Walk straight through mud instead of around it to prevent trail widening and vegetation damage. Opt for low elevation trails until high elevations have time to dry and harden. Follow the muddy trails advisory.

Monorails: Monorails are thin strips of hardpacked snow and ice in the center of trails, surrounded by minimal or no snow on the sides. Monorails can create difficult walking conditions. Microspikes and trekking poles can assist with traction and balance.

Seasonal Roads: Most seasonal access roads are closed for spring mud season. Where seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicles, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended.

Fire Danger: Check the fire rating map.

  • Adirondack Park – Low
  • Champlain Region – Low

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from slightly below average to slightly above average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Water temperatures will be very cold. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are required to be worn until May 1. Where bridges are not available, do not attempt stream crossings during periods of high, fast-moving water.

Ticks: Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants. Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors. Consider using insect repellent. Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails and walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas. Additional tips for tick prevention.

Bear Canisters Required: NYSDEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack backcountry. Bear canisters should be used to store all food, food garbage, toiletries, and other items with a scent. Canisters should be stored a minimum of 100ft from tents, lean-tos and cooking sites and kept closed whenever they are not being accessed. Learn more about bear canisters and avoiding human-bear conflicts.

Adirondack Rock Climbing Closures: DEC closes certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. For a full list of closures, visit Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures. Once peregrine nest sites are determined, climbing routes that will not disturb nesting will be reopened. Routes that remain closed will reopen after the young have fledged. Thank you for your cooperation. For more information please contact the Bureau of Wildlife at (518) 623-1240.


Safety & Education

Spring is in full swing. Whether you’re going for a hike, a bike, a paddle, or fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.

How To: Stay Safe on Ice

It can be tempting to stretch winter fun as far into spring as possible. However, when it comes to ice, safety needs to come first. While it’s best to avoid early and late season ice altogether, it’s also important to understand the risks of ice now and all season long. Check out DEC’s recent How To: Stay Safe on Ice video for tips and tricks for recognizing ice risks and staying safe on ice during winter and spring recreation.

 

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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.




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