Saturday, May 28, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (5/28): 10 Hiking Essentials

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


Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The lock between Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes will be open for public use during the holiday weekend. It will close again on Tuesday, May 31, for additional work. Canoes and kayaks can carry around the locks. DEC will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is now open for the 2022 season. Shuttles to the summit are available. Call (518) 668-5198 for current accessibility information.

Terry Mountain State Forest: The gate on Redd Road is now open.

Moose River Plains Complex:

  • Both entrance gates (Cedar River Entrance and Limekiln Lake Entrance) to Moose River Plains Camping Area are now open for the season. Roads are passable, but road shoulders may be soft in areas.
  • Rock Dam Road remains closed until further notice.
  • Indian Lake Road is gated shut at the Otter Brook Bridge until further notice.

Tioga Point Campground: On April 20, DEC announced the closure of Tioga Point Campground out of an abundance of caution to protect public safety due to safety issues related to cables running under Raquette Lake. DEC worked with National Grid and the Public Service Commission to expedite the repair work. National Grid replaced the cable running beneath Raquette Lake, eliminating the public safety concerns that led to the initial closure of Tioga Point Campground. DEC’s contractor, Reserve America, reached out on May 17 to all customers with canceled reservations for Tioga Point. Customers were given until close of business on May 23 to reinstate their reservations. All unreserved campsites are now available for booking to the general public. Tioga Point Campground opened for overnight camping today, May 27.

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 (05/27): Scattered thunderstorms are predicted for part of the weekend, and pop-up storms are always possible. Be prepared, plan around bad weather, and know what to do if you get caught in a storm. DEC’s Muddy Trails Advisory encourages visitors to continue avoiding all trails above 2,500 feet, including all High Peaks, to help prevent trail damage and erosion as those trails continue to dry and harden. With many people traveling for the holiday weekend, the trailhead parking will likely fill up early. Be prepared with multiple backup plans in case you can’t find parking at your desired destination.

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.

Muddy Trails: Walk straight through mud rather than 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.

Fire Danger: Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region range from below average to average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended to be worn.

Hiking with Dogs: Dogs hiking in warm temperatures are at risk of experiencing heat exhaustion and death. If your dog does collapse, quickly move to create shade for the dog and cool their feet and stomach – this is the most effective way to help an overheated dog. The best way to protect your pet is to leave them at home.

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.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking reservations will be required May 1 through Oct. 31 for single-day and overnight access to the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned, 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the High Peaks region. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit AMR’s website.

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.

Hiking – 10 Essentials

For many, Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer hiking season. Before you start tackling your hiking to-do list, take a moment to review the 10 Hiking Essentials. Make sure you have this gear and that it is still in good, working condition!

  • Navigation – A map and compass. If you use a GPS, bring extra batteries.
  • Insulation & Rain – Always be prepared for a change in weather or temperature, even if rain isn’t in the forecast.
  • Light – A headlamp, flashlight, and extra batteries are a necessity. Even if you plan to be done before dark, bring a light just in case.
  • First Aid – Buy a pre-made kit or build your own from supplies you have at home.
  • Emergency Kit – A whistle, duct tape, and multi-tool are all handy in case of an emergency.
  • Fire – Bring a fire starter, matches, and lighter and store them in a waterproof container.
  • Nutrition – Bring both high protein and calorie-dense foods, and always pack extra.
  • Water – Pack at least 2 liters per person. For longer hikes in the backcountry, bring a means of water filtration or purification.
  • Sun & Insect Protection – Hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen can protect you from the sun, while bug repellant and bug nets can keep biting insects at bay.
  • Emergency Shelter – In the event of an unexpected overnight or severe weather, a tent, tarp, or space blanket can provide protection from the elements.

Leave No TraceTM

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks. Use proper trail etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for yourself and others and tread lightly!

Take 70 Big Steps Before You Go

When you have to go to the bathroom outdoors, start by taking 70 big steps away from the trail, campsites, roads, bodies of water, and waterways. Not only does this provide you with privacy, but it also minimizes your impact on other visitors and the environment. Doing your business away from where others recreate reduces the chance of someone else encountering your waste. Going away from waterbodies and waterways helps keep drinking sources clean for both people and animals. Make sure you pack out toilet paper to reduce litter and dig a cat hole for your number twos.

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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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