Friday, November 18, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (11/18): Longway Trail in Shelving Rock impassable due to blowdown, Pharaoh Lake Trail bridge is out

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


Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road is closed to motor vehicle traffic for the winter season starting at the Blue Ridge Parking Area. The Blue Ridge Parking Area will remain open – plowing of the lot is subject to the Town’s plowing schedule.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: A bridge on the Pharaoh Lake Trail is out. Crossing may not be possible during high water – users should be prepared to turn back if conditions are unsafe. The bridge is at a curve in the trail, with steep approaches from both directions. Winter users should be prepared to stop completely at this location to assess conditions before crossing.

Lake George Wild Forest:

  • The first bridge on the Shelving Rock Brook Trail (closest to the road) is unsafe for equestrian use. Equestrian users should ford the stream at this location.
  • The Longway Trail in Shelving Rock is impassable due to extensive blowdown.



Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway: The parkway closed for the 2022 season at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11. For more information about visiting the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway Day Use Area, go to DEC’s website.

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General Notices

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

Know Before You Go (11/17):

  • Temperatures: Cold weather has arrived in the Adirondacks. Temperatures in the region call for highs in the high-20’s to low-30’s. Nighttime lows are estimated to hover in the teens. These temperatures are estimates for base elevations. Always anticipate more extreme conditions at high elevations. Isolated snow showers are expected throughout the weekend. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Carry extra layers, cold weather gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Microspikes or crampons are recommended for anyone planning on hiking this weekend and are necessary at high elevations. As snow continues to fall, snowshoes may be necessary on some high elevation trails.
  • 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 = 6:56 a.m.; Sunset = 4:24 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: 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 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.

Seasonal Roads: Due to recent snow, some seasonal access roads are beginning to close. Check the Recent Notices for closure announcements and be prepared to turn around and take an alternate route.

Fire Danger: As of 11/17, 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 range from 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. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended.

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.

Winter Hike Smart NY Poster

Safety & Education

Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, or out 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.

What to Wear When the Seasons Change

This time of year can be challenging to dress for. Snow is falling and temperatures have dropped, but you may find yourself warming up as you exert energy. Maintaining a consistent body temperature is important for avoiding hypothermia. Follow these tips for managing your temperature in cold weather.

Stay Dry – Keeping dry is the number one priority for staying warm in cold weather. Wool or synthetic base layers work well for drawing moisture and sweat away from your skin, keeping you warmer and dryer. Avoid cotton as it holds moisture.

Wear Layers – Dressing in layers will allow you to increase or decrease insulation as needed. Try the three-layer approach: one for wicking moisture, one for insulation, and one for keeping the wind, snow, and weather out.

Pack Extras – Carry more than you think you’ll need. Extra gloves, socks, hats, and an insulated jacket can come in handy if yours become wet, the weather worsens, or in the event of an emergency.

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Leave No Trace

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!

When in Doubt, Pack it Out

Properly disposing of our trash and human waste is always important, but it can get tricky in the winter months. If you’re unsure of how to deal with waste, remember: when in doubt, pack it out.

Trash, food scraps, and human waste take longer to decompose in cold conditions, increasing the odds that it will impact wildlife, other users, and the environment around us.

Remember the following when traveling in the backcountry this winter:

  • Be a good steward of the land. Pick up all food scraps, wax shavings, and pieces of litter, and help pick up those left by others.
  • Pack out solid human waste. Getting through the snow to the frozen ground below and digging a cathole can be difficult. If you must bury your waste, get as deep as you can and make sure you’re at least 200 feet (70 big steps) from any waterways.
  • Use toilet paper or wipes sparingly, and pack them out.

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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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