Friday, March 10, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (3/10): Clear, calm weather predicted for Adirondacks this weekend

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 (03/09): The following report describes conditions as of Thursday, 03/09. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 46.5 inches (3.9 feet) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin and likely deeper accumulations at higher elevations. Snowshoes are required to be worn in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness when snow accumulations reach 8 inches. Microspikes and crampons are needed for traction on ice. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen but use caution in areas of moving water such as inlets, outlets, and streams.


Town of Long Lake: Ice conditions in the Town of Long Lake (Long Lake, Forked Lake) continue to be variable and unreliable. Snowmobilers are advised to stay off the ice. More snowmobiles have broken through the ice in recent days and weeks.

General Notices

Know Before You Go Graphic

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

Know Before You Go (03/09):

  • Temperatures & Conditions: A largely clear, calm weekend is forecast for the Adirondacks this weekend. Highs in the High Peaks region are forecast for the mid-30s throughout the weekend with cloudy skies. Lows are estimated to range from the mid-teens to low 20s. These are forecast temperatures for base elevations – conditions will be more severe (colder, windier) 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 & Ice 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. While many bodies of water are frozen over, not all are safe to travel on. Use extreme caution in areas of moving water, such as inlets, outlets, and streams. Follow ice safety guidelines.
  • Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:15 a.m.; Sunset = 5:57 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.

Be Safe in Avalanche Terrain: Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and all outdoor adventurers who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions. If you are planning a trip to avalanche-prone territory, research the route ahead of time and contact a local DEC Forest Ranger for specific safety and conditions information, or contact a local guide. Before going into the backcountry, be equipped with avalanche safety tools and knowledge, such as participation in an avalanche safety course. Learn more about avalanche danger, preparedness, and safety precautions.

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 range from average to 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.

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.

Practice with Gear

Have you taken up a new winter activity recently? Finding new ways of getting outdoors is fantastic. Spending time outside is good for our physical and mental health. It allows us to disconnect from our devices, get closer to nature, and provides an opportunity to spend time with friends and family. With all these benefits come some risks. Doing your research and bringing the right gear will set you up for success, but in order to stay safe you need to know how to use that gear.

Snowshoes, microspikes, crampons, and skis. Avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels. Bivvys, space blankets, and first aid kits. Layers, headlamps, and backpacks. All of this gear can help keep you safe on the trail, but only if you know how to use it. If you are new to a winter activity, getting new gear can be a fun and exciting process. Before you take it on the trail or into the backcountry, practice using it in a safe and familiar location.

Test out your layering system by going for a walk in your neighborhood or a nearby park. Practice putting on and taking off traction devices and spend time walking in them – it will feel different than walking in bare boots and may affect your balance. If you buy a pre-made first aid kit, go through it and make sure you know what everything is and how to use it in an emergency. Taking classes or watching instructional videos can also be very helpful. While it’s tempting to hit the trail as soon as you get new gear, take the time to get comfortable with it first before you need to rely on it on the trail.

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!

Be Prepared for Changing Weather

In like a lion and out like a lamb–weather in March can be unpredictable and change suddenly. When you’re planning your outdoor recreation this month, expect and plan for changing weather. Before you go, check the forecast for the day of your trip, that night, and the next day in case of an unexpected overnight emergency. Dress in layers and remove or add layers as needed to keep yourself warm without overheating. Check out DEC’s How to Layer For a Cold Weather Hike video on YouTube.

Keep in mind that temperatures often drop between the base of a mountain and the top, and summit conditions can also change rapidly. Have an alternate plan in case weather changes at the last minute, and never hesitate to turn back if conditions deteriorate. Watch for rising waterways on wet and rainy days. Streams that are easy to cross in the morning may be impassable only a short time later.

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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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