This past fall, ground was broken on the future Adirondack Rail Trail, a 34-mile multi-use recreation trail that will stretch from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, connecting communities of the North Country and providing a world-class outdoor destination to locals and visitors alike. In December, construction on the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of trail paused for the season, allowing for interim winter recreation until construction resumes in the spring. This provides an exceptional winter recreation opportunity for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, birders and other winter users, and a glimpse at what the rail trail will offer year-round once it is fully completed in 2025.
Until the trail is fully constructed, interim use of the corridor requires additional caution. Always heed posted signage and be aware that trail conditions and surfaces may vary. Many “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” signs have been installed where the trail intersects with roads, but not all crosswalks and intersections along the trail itself have been marked. Slow down, look both ways, and use caution at intersections. In areas where construction is not complete, small metal fragments—the remnants of rail ties from the former track—may be present. Be sure there is adequate snow cover to safely and responsibly recreate. As always, fat tire bikers should bring the necessary equipment needed to address a flat tire or other mechanical problem in the backcountry.
Follow these tips for safe, respectful winter recreation as you enjoy the trail this winter and the communities it takes you to:
- Practice winter trail safety and etiquette. Snowmobiles should travel along the right side of the trail in a single file, using the left side to pass. Look both ways before changing your position on the trail and yield to those passing from behind. Slow down when passing pedestrian users. Yield to groomers. Keep speed and noise down in populated areas, including staging areas and road intersections.
- When stopping, pull off as far as possible on the trail edge.
- Follow Leave No Trace™ principles and Love Our NY Lands. Carry out what you carry in, dispose of trash properly, and be respectful of local wildlife and other users.
- Come prepared. While the trail connects vibrant communities, it passes through long stretches of forest preserve. Dress for the weather, bring food and water, and be prepared to handle emergencies until first responders can arrive.
- The rail trail travels through varied habitat, from boreal and alpine woodland to bogs and other wetlands. Respect posted signage and barriers and stick to the trail to minimize impacts on surrounding landscapes.
- Snowmobilers are reminded to always ride responsibly. Never drink and ride.
Before you take to the trail, check the Adirondack Rail Trail webpage on DEC’s website for the latest trail conditions, construction updates, and guidance for interim recreation.
Check out a related story by Adirondack Explorer reporter, Gwendolyn Craig, at the link here.