Friday, October 21, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (10/21): Cascade Pond outlet bridge damaged and unstable

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


Boreas Ponds Tract: A temporary bridge was installed over the LaBier Flow Dam on Gulf Brook Road in the Boreas Ponds Tract, restoring access to the Four Corners Parking Area at the terminus of Gulf Brook Road for pedestrians and motorists.

High Peaks Wilderness: Per the conservation easement agreement with Elk Lake Lodge, the Gate at Clear Pond is closed to Public Motor Vehicles and will not open until after mud season in May of 2023. Hikers will need to park at the Upper Elk Lake Road Parking Lot on the west side of the Elk Lake Road approximately 2.3 miles south of the Elk Lake Parking Lot and Trailhead. From the evening of October 21 until the morning of December 5, no hikers may enter the Elk Lake Conservation Easement.

Blue Ridge Wilderness: The bridge that crosses the Cascade Pond outlet is damaged and unstable. Hikers should be prepared to ford the outlet or cross elsewhere.


Watson’s East Triangle (Croghan and Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tracts):

  • The northern portion of the Main Haul Road (Croghan Tract) will be closed to snowmobiles this winter due to logging. The East Side Trail will serve as an alternative trail – please follow directional signage.
  • The Steam Sleigh Snowmobile Trail will not be groomed this year (Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest). The Casey Rumble Trail (Oswegatchie Conservation Easement) will be groomed to serve as an alternative.

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts): Consistent with the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement, the Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Trail is currently closed. The trail will reopen on December 21.

Blue Mountain Wild Forest & Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Camp Road Six is now open to motor vehicle access for the duration of the big game hunting season.

Grass River Wild Forest: Access to Pleasant Lake on the Grass River Conservation Easement closed October 10.

Raquette Boreal Complex: Access to the Five Mile Conservation Easement closed for the season on September 30.

Pine Lake Primitive Area: The gate at the former Outer Gooley Club on Chain of Lakes Rd., Town of Indian Lake, has opened for the fall hunting season.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (10/20):

  • Temperatures: Expect a cool weekend in the High Peaks. Forecast temperatures in the region call for daytime ranging from the low 50’s to mid 60’s with nighttime lows in the mid 30’s at base elevations. Anticipate winter conditions at high elevations. Summit forecasts call for temperatures at least 10 degrees colder than at the trailhead. Weather changes quickly in the mountains, even when sunny skies are expected. Carry extra layers, rain gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Traction devices are recommended for anyone planning on hiking at elevation this season.
  • Water crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or storms. If there is rain forecast during the day, be mindful of how water crossings might swell between your first crossing and your return trip.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 7:16 a.m.; Sunset = 6:03 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.

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 10/20, fire danger is low in the Adirondacks. Please use caution, follow local guidelines, and avoid open fires if possible. Check the fire rating map.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are 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.

Hiker Information Stations & Hiker Shuttles: Hiker Information Stations and Hiker Shuttle Systems have concluded operations for the 2022 season. Thank you to all who visited a station or took a shuttle to your trailhead destination.

No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: Please note that overnight camping is not permitted at trailheads or other roadside locations where a camping disc is not present. This includes individuals sleeping in cars, vans and campers. Campers should seek out designated roadside campsites marked with a camp here disc or campgrounds.

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

Fall 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.

Get a Grip on Traction Devices and Winter Conditions

As the fall season continues, winter conditions are beginning to appear near Adirondack summits. Higher elevations are generally the first to experience low temperatures, snow, and icy conditions. When planning a hike to those summits, it’s important to have the proper equipment to stay safe even if winter conditions are not present at the trailhead.
Traction devices are crucial pieces of equipment when traveling at elevation. Traction devices like microspikes or crampons attach directly to the soles of your hiking boot. Their sharp points dig into snow and ice, allowing you to walk securely when trail conditions are slick.

As usual, when hiking in the backcountry, be sure to pack the 10 Essentials and turn back should the weather conditions worsen.

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!

Good Campsites are Found Not Made

Altering a campsite should not be necessary. Make sure to choose a site that is large enough for your group. Leave your campsite as natural as possible.

If possible, camp in a designated tent site or camping area. If not using a designated primitive site, your tent must be at least 150 feet from a water body, road, or trail. Do not camp in areas posted with “Camping Prohibited” markers.

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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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