Friday, August 5, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (8/5): Hikers should be aware of open water crossing on Pharaoh Lake Trail

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.


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.


Santa Clara Conservation Easement: The southern spur off the CP3 route loop is currently closed to motorized users. Due to a logging operation on the property users accessing the easement should reduce speed and exercise caution both on the Brown Track Road and on the easement roads in that area. Anglers are advised not to use the northern of the 2 fishing sites on the CP3 route as trucks will be crossing that bridge regularly.

Adirondack Rock Climbing: DEC closes certain rock climbing routes in the Adirondacks to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Once peregrine nest sites are determined, climbing routes that will not disturb nesting are reopened. Routes that remain closed reopen after the young have fledged. As of 07/19/22, all rock climbing routes are open. Thank you for your cooperation.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: The bog bridging across the outlet of Middle Settlement Lake (on the Middle Settlement Lake Trail, west of the Lean-to) is in disrepair. All users should either exercise caution when passing through or cross at an alternate location.

Fire Danger Reminder: Practice the utmost safety when building campfires this summer. Dry weather throughout June and July has increased the risk of fires. The majority of the state remains at a moderate risk for fires, meaning that any outdoor fire can spread quickly, especially if the wind picks up. Follow DEC fire safety recommendations for reducing the risk of wildfires.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (08/04):

  • Temperatures: It’s getting hot, hot, hot! Friday through Sunday it is expected to reach the mid-80s with lows in the mid-60s. Be prepared as thundershowers are anticipated this weekend. Weather can change suddenly even on sunny days, so bring extra layers as well as rain and wind gear.
  • Water crossings: Water levels may be elevated in some areas. Do not attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or storms.
  • Biting insects: Black flies, mosquitos, and deer flies – oh my! Pack bug spray, bug nets, and other methods of protecting from bites.
  • Heat safety: Heat will be a significant safety concern this weekend. Consider postponing challenging hikes. Wear sunscreen and other sun protection. 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. 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. For their safety, leave pets at home.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:47am; Sunset = 8:13pm. 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 backup plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Check @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time updates on parking lot status.

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 Trace™. 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.
  • Additional stations this weekend:
    • Friday – Sunday at the Garden Trailhead, Keene Valley, starting at 7 a.m.
    • Friday – Sunday at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid, starting at 7 a.m.
    • Friday – Sunday at Lake Placid Visitors Bureau, Lake Placid, starting at 7 a.m.

Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: The Route 73 hiker shuttle from Marcy Field has resumed for the summer season. The free shuttle will operate 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays through October 10, 2022. The shuttle stops at Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, and Roaring Brook Falls trailheads. A full schedule and route map are available at the DEC website. All passengers are required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

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 08/04, fire danger is moderate in the Adirondacks. Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region have a wide range from below average to above 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 (AMR): 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.

Hiking With Your Dog (And When You Shouldn’t)

Everyone loves spending a day on the trail with their friends, and our canine companions are no exception. With the dog days of summer wearing on, however, it’s crucial to make sure we’re taking care of our dogs on the trail and leaving them at home when we can’t.

Hot Weather

For many trails, dogs are allowed at any time, provided they are on a leash. This doesn’t mean that it’s always a good idea to bring them along for the hike.

Hot weather can lead to serious health complications for your pets, and it is not recommended to bring a dog along on strenuous hikes in warmer temperatures. Dogs regulate their body temperature through their paws, so hot, exposed, and rocky ridges can inhibit their ability to cool themselves. Heat tolerance varies significantly between breeds. Make sure you know how your dog reacts to exercise in warm weather.

If you’re at all unsure about your dog’s ability to complete a hike, it’s better to start them off on an easier trail. No matter the distance or difficulty, always bring plenty of water and food to keep your pet fueled while hiking.

Busy Trails

Before taking your dog out on the trail, consider its experience level hiking, the popularity of your destination, and how they act around other animals.

Much like the number of people you see while hiking, the number of dogs out is unpredictable and varies widely. It’s important to always maintain control of your pet. Even if they feel comfortable around people and other animals, those people and other animals may not.
If your dog has little experience hiking, this added exercise, stress, and stimulus can affect the way they react around new faces. Be sure to ease them into their newfound hobby. Nobody wants to do too much too fast.

When can you bring your dog?

There’s no problem in taking your dog for a hike. If you feel confident in your ability to control them at all times and the weather suits their breed and fitness level, then your dog is welcome anywhere that pets are allowed on trail. Be sure to take care of them along the way, and don’t be afraid to turn around if it appears that they’re struggling. Rangers often lack the resources to perform canine rescues, so it is your responsibility to get your dog out safely.

If your dog does experience a heat-related event, move to or create shade and continuously cool its stomach and paws.

These hot August days are a great time to explore the Adirondack wilderness, but they might be overwhelming for our furry friends. Consider these tips before making your decision. Happy hiking!

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!

Bathing in the Backcountry

Have you ever wondered how to bathe in the backcountry? If you plan to be out in the wilderness for multiple days, you might want to clean up at some point along the way. Luckily, Leave No Trace offers handy guidance on how to bathe sustainably in the backcountry.

  • Collect water in a container. Take it and your bathing kit at least 150 feet away from your campsite, trail, and water sources. Do not bathe directly in streams, lakes, or other water sources.
  • If you would like to bathe with warm water, heat water in your cooking pot.
  • Use only unscented soap to avoid attracting wildlife and use as little as possible. Or, use no soap at all; water alone may be sufficient.
  • Rinse using minimal water, then dry with a quick-dry towel or air dry.
  • You can also put water in your hydration reservoir, hang it and use it like a shower!

This may seem like a lot of work compared to taking a quick dip or splashing off in a backcountry lake or stream, but it is well worth it to avoid potentially serious impacts. When you bathe directly in water sources, any lotion, sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, and residue from other personal hygiene products you use will run off and contaminate the water. Not only does this affect the organisms living in the water, but it also impacts the wildlife and people that rely on those water sources for drinking. So please, freshen up on your adventure while practicing Leave No Trace!


Join Our Ranks

Uniformed ECOs and Rangers

Like the outdoors? Take the Environmental Conservation Police Officer and Forest Ranger Civil Service exams. The deadline to apply has been extended to August 10 so sign up today! Check out the YouTube video on these exciting careers.

Related Stories

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

2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

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

    Why not close the trail when some think like this happens. Can’t hikers just do their part not to ruin the wilderness area? The same thing in the spring – Why can’t they stay off trails during mud season?

    We can close but not a trail?

  2. Paul says:


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox