Friday, August 12, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (8/12): Limited water sources for High Peaks hikers due to heat, low rainfall

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.


High Peaks Wilderness: Due to heat and low rainfall across the High Peaks, hikers and backpackers should not assume all water sources are available for obtaining drinking water from, including those on the Great Range trail, water along the Giant/ Rocky Peak traverse, and along the Sun Mountain loop.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The 35ft bridge over the Botheration Pond outlet on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail has been replaced with a brand new bridge.

Lake George Wild Forest: Palmer Pond trailhead parking lot will be closed Monday, August 8 – Tuesday, August 16 for a culvert replacement. To allow space for equipment and materials, please do not park in the parking lot or along the access road.


Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: A bridge on the Pharaoh Lake Trail from the Pharaoh Lake Road trailhead is out. Hikers should be prepared for an open water crossing.

General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources.

Know Before You Go (08/11):

  • Temperatures: Forecasts are calling for a beautiful weekend in the Adirondacks. Friday through Sunday it is expected to reach the low 70s during the day and drop to the low to mid-50s at night in the High Peaks region. Weather can change suddenly even on sunny days, so bring extra layers as well as rain and wind gear.
  • Water crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or storms.
  • Biting insects: While the worst of bug season is behind us, there are still many mosquitos, gnats, and flies. Pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protecting from bites.
  • Heat safety: Bring plenty of water, take breaks in the shade, and eat salty foods to help with water retention and electrolyte balance. Start hydrating before your activity begins. Wear sunscreen and other sun protection. Know the signs of heat illness and, if you begin to experience them or see them in a member of your party, take immediate action. Learn more on DEC’s Hike Smart NY webpage. Bring plenty of water for pets as well.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:57 a.m.; Sunset = 8:02 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: Expect trails to be busy. Plan on arriving at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Check @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time updates on parking lot status. Consider taking a shuttle (more information below).

Hiker Information Stations: Stop by a Hiker Information Station for information about parking, alternative hiking locations, local land use rules and regulations, safety and preparedness, and Leave No TraceTM. Please visit us at the following locations this weekend:

  • Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday:
    • High Peaks Rest Area, Northbound on Route 87, starting at 7 a.m.
    • High Peaks Rest Area, Southbound on Route 87, starting at 7 a.m.
  • Additional stations this weekend:
    • Friday – Sunday at Frontier Town Gateway, North Hudson, starting at 7 a.m.

High Peaks Hiker Shuttles: The following shuttles provide safe, free transportation to popular trailheads in the Adirondack High Peaks region.

  • Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: Runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays through Columbus Day from Marcy Field in the town of Keene to the Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, and Roaring Brook Falls trailheads. The shuttle is free and available on a first come, first serve basis. Masks are required. Only certified service animals are permitted. Check the map and schedule.
  • August Thru-Hike Shuttle: Provides riders an opportunity to thru-hike the High Peaks Wilderness. The shuttle departs at 2 p.m. on August 8 and 15 from the Frontier Town Gateway in North Hudson and drops off at the Adirondak Loj in North. The shuttle picks up participating riders from the Tahawus Upper Works trailhead at 2 p.m. daily on the following Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, returning riders to the Frontier Town Gateway. The shuttle accommodates up to 20 people and pre-registration is required. Dogs are not permitted on the shuttle and masks are required.
  • October Foliage Shuttle: Runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2 and again over Indigenous Peoples’/Columbus Day weekend on Oct. 8, 9, and 10. The shuttle departs from the Frontier Town Gateway, dropping off and picking up at the Giant Mountain, Roaring Brook Falls, and Rooster Comb trailheads and the Marcy Field Parking Area. Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis. Dogs are not permitted and masks are required.
  • Garden Shuttle: The Town of Keene shuttle from Marcy Field to the Garden Trailhead operates Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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.

Fire Danger: As of 08/011, fire danger is moderate in the Adirondacks. Check the fire rating map.

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

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 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

Hike Smart NY Poster Summer

Summer is here! 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.

Emergency Planning

There is always risk when you go for a hike. Even when you pack all the essentials, create and share an itinerary, check the weather, practice with your gear, and learn your route like the back of your hand, things can still go wrong.

As is the case with any outdoor activity, accidents can happen, and emergency situations may arise. To minimize the occurrence of emergency situations, it is important to do everything possible to properly plan for your trip. However, if things do go wrong, you also need to be prepared to take action so you can minimize the severity of your emergency and get yourself out of the woods safely. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for emergencies:

  • Take basic first aid and CPR training. If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a course, consider a refresher. Such courses usually take no more than a few hours and can save your life.
  • Develop emergency action plans for different situations so you can keep a level head and jump into action more effectively if something happens.
  • If you go for long hikes or into the backcountry, consider carrying an emergency communication device.
  • Know what your resources are before you head into the woods. Save emergency dispatch phone numbers in case you have service and can call for help.
  • Practice emergency response. When an emergency arises, your body might go into fight or flight mode. If you have practiced your plan, you will be better able to keep calm and go through the motions.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace 2021 Partner Logo

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!

Minimizing Campfire Impacts

Many of us have fond memories of summer campfires; sitting around with friends and family, sharing laughs, and telling stories. While campfires often accompany great experiences outdoors, they also pose one of the greatest risks to our wild lands. By carefully following Leave No Trace and DEC safety tips, we can keep having memorable experiences without harming trees, plants, and animal life in the places we care about.

Before you have a fire on your next camping trip, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I safely have a fire? Check the local guidelines and regulations where you plan to camp to see if campfires are permitted. Avoid building fires under overhanging branches, on steep slopes, or in dry grass/leaves.
  • What can I burn in my fire? Never transport firewood more than 50 miles from its source. This helps prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals. If you must collect wood in the backcountry, follow the “Four D’s.” Only collect wood that is:
    • Dead;
    • Down on the ground;
    • Dinky (usually smaller than the diameter of your wrist); and
    • Distant from camp to reduce the impact and footprint of your site.
  • Will I and everyone in my group be responsible for the fire? Never leave the campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could cause it to re-light and spread.
  • How do I put my fire out? Before you light a fire, know how to put a campfire out. Drown the fire with water. Make sure that all coals are cold to the touch. Make sure to stir the wet coals to reveal any embers hiding below.

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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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