Friday, November 4, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (11/4): First phase of Adirondack Rail Trail construction has begun, will pause in early December

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


Adirondack Rail Trail: Construction has begun on the first phase of the future Adirondack Rail Trail. The first segment of the trail between Station Street in Lake Placid and the intersection of Cedar Street and Route 86 in Saranac Lake will be closed to public access during active construction. Construction will pause in early December, allowing for winter recreation. Details will be provided on the rail trail webpage as they become available. Please respect posted signage and barricades in work areas and email with questions.

High Peaks Wilderness: Significant ice has accumulated on some high-elevation trails. Be prepared with appropriate traction devices, including micro spikes for use on thin ice over flat trails and crampons for thick ice and ice on steeper slopes.


Moose River Plains Wild Forest:

  • Wilson Ridge Trail – The Little Moose Lake Outlet crossing is difficult to cross due to beaver activity.
  • Otter Brook Trail – Fording the Otter Brook may be difficult during periods of high water. The trail east of Otter Brook is overgrown and blown down trees may impede travel.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (11/03):

  • Temperatures: It’s shaping up to be a mild fall weekend in the Adirondacks. Temperatures in the region call for daytime temperatures in the high-60’s and nighttime lows in the mid to high-50’s. As always, these temperatures are estimates for base elevations. Always anticipate colder or wintery conditions at high elevations. Rain is anticipated on Sunday. 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: This weekend is the end of Daylight Savings. Don’t forget to account for the time change when making your timeline and plans. Saturday Sunrise = 7:38 a.m.; Saturday Sunset = 5:39 p.m. Sunday Sunrise = 6:39 a.m.; Sunday Sunset = 4:38 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 11/3, fire danger is MODERATE 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 below 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.

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.

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.

Staying Safe this Hunting Season

The fall season offers opportunities for many different kinds of outdoor recreation, and the Adirondacks are popular among a wide variety of users, including hunters. Everyone loves these public lands for similar reasons, and, this season, it’s more important than ever to respect fellow user groups.

Our wilderness areas and public lands are open to all. To ensure the safety of every recreator, DEC encourages everyone to abide by basic hunter safety practices.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Wear bright orange – Ensure that every member of your group has an article of bright orange clothing before heading into the woods, including pets.
  • Keep dogs on leash – To keep you and your dog safe, keep them on a leash and close by.
  • Keep it quiet – Respect the wildlife and other users in the backcountry by keeping conversations and other noises to a reasonable volume.
  • Practice firearm safety – Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and be aware of your target and surroundings before touching the trigger.

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!

Trash your Trash (and your Food Scraps)

Put litter – even crumbs, peels, and fruit cores – in garbage bags. Carry them home or throw them in a trash receptacle, but never leave trash or food out in the wild. Extra food, even apple cores, can be harmful to wildlife.

Not only does human food lack the proper nutrients for wildlife, but it also habituates them to an unnatural food source. This can cause animals to associate humans with food and even become dependent on people as a food source, increasing the likelihood of negative interactions.

Food habituation can happen with all wildlife, large or small. Whether you’re in bear country or dealing with the Red Squirrels of the Adirondacks, be sure to properly store your food and respect the wildlife.

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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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