Friday, January 6, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (1/6): Fluctuating temps, mix of rain and snow predicted for High Peaks

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


High Peaks Wilderness: Snow Report (01/05): The following report describes conditions as of Thursday, 01/05. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 24cm of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. Snow levels vary at higher elevations. Conditions now require snowshoes to be worn in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness where snow depths exceed 8 inches. Microspikes and crampons are needed. Ski trails have deteriorating conditions. Lake and river crossings are unsafe due to thin ice and open areas.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement: The Barnes Pond Road gate has been closed for the season.

Grass River Wild Forest: There are active harvests on the Seveys Conservation Easement. While there are still trails closed, once conditions allow, the Bog Road (C7A) will open.


High Peaks Wilderness: Use caution at stream crossings. Due to recent flooding and subsequent cold temperatures, streams may have a deceptively thin covering of ice on top of deep water.

Clinton & Franklin County Snowmobile Trails: Snowmobile trail gates throughout the counties are open. Conditions will be variable.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (01/05):

  • Temperatures & Conditions: Base temperatures in the High Peaks region are forecast to fluctuate from lows in the mid-teens to upper-20s to highs in the low to upper-30s throughout the weekend. Mixtures of rain and snow on Friday are expected to give way to some snow showers on Saturday. Cool or cold, wet conditions bring a high danger of hypothermia. Snow and ice conditions have been heavily affected by recent rain and warm temperatures, but winter conditions persist at higher elevations. Remember that conditions will be more severe on summits and at higher elevations. Carry extra layers, cold weather gear, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Bring microspikes or crampons and snowshoes. If you find yourself unprepared for the conditions, or weather worsens, turn back to the trailhead.
  • Water crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially following rain or significant snowmelt. If there is precipitation forecast during the day, be mindful of how water crossings might swell between your first crossing and your return trip. Do not trust ice to hold your weight, especially over moving water.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 7:29 a.m.; Sunset = 4:33 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. Some seasonal roads may be closed for the winter season and not all parking areas are plowed. Check recent notices for road closure announcements.

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: Many seasonal access roads are closed for the winter. Check the Recent Notices for specific closure announcements and be prepared to turn around and take an alternate route.

Snowmobiles: Visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and State webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are above average to high 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.

Safety & Education

Winter Hike Smart NY Poster

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.

Recognize the Signs of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a serious risk in any cold, wet weather. It occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Help protect yourself and your hiking partners by knowing the signs of hypothermia.

Signs of hypothermia:

  • Feeling cold. This might be accompanied by shivering.
  • The “Umbles”
    • The stumbles: slow, stiff, uncontrolled movements.
    • The mumbles: slurred, slowed, or incoherent speech; sleepiness or confusion.
    • The fumbles: slow reaction time, dropping objects, or poor coordination.
    • The grumbles: a change in behavior or attitude (often apathetic or negative).
  • After the “umbles” things get worse. You will notice uncontrollable shivering, a worsening of the “umbles,” and an altered mental state.
  • Once a person has reached severe hypothermia their shivering will actually stop and their muscles will get rigid. The person might become unresponsive and their pulse and breathing may slow.

What to do:

If you or any member of your party begins to show signs of hypothermia, act fast. Get the person to shelter, rewarm them, make sure they’re in dry clothing, and let them rest. Encourage them to eat and drink warm beverages. Once the person is feeling better, it’s probably best to head back to the trailhead. If a person has reached severe hypothermia, seek immediate and professional help.

Learn more about recognizing and avoiding hypothermia in DEC’s How to: Recognize and Avoid Hypothermia video.

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!

Resolve to Leave No Trace in 2023

From your neighborhood park to your favorite local trail to the furthest reaches of the Adirondack backcountry, you can help preserve outdoor spaces for yourself, other users, and future generations by doing your best to leave no trace. As we kick off 2023, resolve to reduce your impacts while recreating during the coming year. Start by reviewing the Leave No Trace Seven Principles, or take your resolution one step further by taking an online Leave No Trace Awareness Course.

If you have young adventurers, get them thinking about Leave No Trace with fun activities in Bigfoot’s Playbook. There are lots of ways to get involved, including volunteering, attending a local event, or becoming a member. Whether you’re new to Leave No Trace or have been doing it for years, try to take your efforts one step further this year.

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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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