Friday, July 21, 2023

Outdoor conditions: Muddy trail advisory still in effect

outdoor conditions logoA high-water and muddy trails advisory is in effect until further notice: Recent heavy rains have washed out numerous roads, bridges, and trails. The extent of damage is still being assessed. More thunderstorms bringing potential heavy rain are forecast throughout the remainder of the week. Users are advised to:

  • avoid recreating near and in streams and rivers due to fast-moving currents and floating debris.
  • avoid high-elevation trails to protect the thin soils and fragile habitats until things dry out and harden.

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 833-NYS-RANGERS.

Welcome to the Adirondacks. The Welcome to the Adirondacks webpage provides information about the Forest Preserve, conservation easement lands, outdoor recreation, and Leave No Trace™.

Love Our New York Lands: All New Yorkers and visitors should be able to access, enjoy, and feel welcome on state lands. While enjoying these shared spaces, be respectful of other visitors. Share trails, treat people with kindness, and leave things as you found them for others to enjoy. All of us have a responsibility to protect state lands for future generations. Learn more about how you can Love Our New York Lands.

Recent Notices

The 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.


Advisory: Severe weather alert for tonight, 7/20. Potential of heavy downpours which may result in further flooding. Rivers and streams in the Adirondacks are extremely hazardous right now following the recent heavy rains. Water levels are high with fast-moving currents and debris from washouts and downed trees. Avoid all waterways until water levels recede.

  • Ironman Lake Placid is taking place on Sunday, July 23. Expect delays in the Lake Placid, Keene, Jay, and Wilmington areas. View traffic impacts.
  • Township 19 Conservation Easement – Barker Pond Road, off of O’Neil Flow Road, is closed due to a washout.
  • Sable Highlands Conservation Easement – Piney Ridge Road is closed until further notice due to multiple severe washouts.
  • Pharoah Lake Wilderness – The trails in the southern half of Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area are flooded. Visitors should expect to encounter water at least shin-deep. Some bridges may still fail before the flooding abates.
  • The D&H Railbed between the Gate Road (Hunters Home Road) and the private property line is unpassable.

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 7/20):

  • Adirondack Park – Low
  • Champlain Region – Low
  • Southern Tier – Low
  • Check the fire rating map for daily updates.

Temperatures & Conditions: These are forecast temperatures for base elevations throughout the region.

Temperatures in the region will reach highs in the 80’s with lows in the low-60’s at night throughout the weekend. Chance of heavy thunderstorms Thursday night into Friday may result in further flooding.

Pack the appropriate layers and gear in case your trip goes longer than planned or an unexpected overnight occurs. Remember – hypothermia is always a risk in wet conditions, even when it’s warm outside. Be prepared with extra dry layers and keep an eye on the weather.

Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms can pop up even if they are not forecast. Watch for darkening skies, increased winds, lightning flashes, and the rumble of thunder. Avoid summits and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations and seek shelter. If caught outside in a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees, and crouch down away from tree trunks. Make yourself as short as possible by:

  • Sitting on your pack or sleeping pad with your knees flexed; and
  • Hugging your knees to keep your feet together to minimize the ground effect of a nearby lightning strike.

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke occur when your body’s cooling mechanisms are overcome by heat, causing a dangerously high body temperature.

  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Slow your pace.
  • Drink water and rest more often.
  • Seek shade and avoid long periods in direct sunlight.
  • Do not hike in extremely hot weather

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 5:29 a.m.; Sunset = 8:32 p.m. Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack at least one headlamp (two headlamps recommended) even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.

Mount Colden Trapdike: The trapdike is considered a technical climb and not a hike. Climbers should be prepared with helmets, ropes, and climbing gear to ascend this route. Hikers looking to summit Mount Colden should do so via the hiking routes. Attempting to climb the trapdike unprepared can result in a rescue operation, serious injury, or death.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking reservations will be required May 1 through Oct. 31 for single-day and overnight access to the parking lot, trailheads, and trails located on the privately owned, 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the High Peaks region. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit AMR’s website.

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.

General Notices

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

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.

No Overnight Camping at Trailheads: 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. When camping, always carry out what you carry in and dispose of trash properly. Use designated bathroom facilities, pack out human and pet waste, or dig a cat hole.

Hiker Information Stations: Environmental Educators will be stationed at the following locations this weekend to assist with planning, preparation, and answering questions.

Friday – July 217am-3pmHigh Peaks Rest Area – Route 87 Northbound

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Saturday – July 227am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Garden Trailhead – Keene Valley

Sunday – July 237am-3pmGarden Trailhead – Keene Valley
Monday – July 247am-3pmCascade Mountain Trailhead

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 recent notices for road closure announcements.

Water Crossings: Water levels are HIGH for this time of year in the Adirondack region. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for stream flow of selected waters. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs aka lifejackets) are strongly recommended.

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.

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.

Navigating Adirondack Terrain:


Rocks & roots: trails in the Adirondacks are mostly rocks and roots. Most high-elevation trails have larger boulders, slabs, and large roots to scramble. Expect these features to be very slippery in times of wet weather.

Ladders, bridges & cables: ladders and cables are put in place on some high-elevation trails to assist hikers with ascending difficult sections of trail. Bridges over streams are present on most trails. Hikers should look for high-water bridge signs in times of wet weather.

Stream crossings: Many Adirondack trails, especially in the high peaks, cross over streams, sometimes multiple times. Bridges are not built over every stream crossing and hikers may need to scramble on boulders, wade through water, or navigate difficult terrain to cross.

Muddy trails: In times of wet weather, trails will be very wet and muddy. Hikers should always hike through the mud as much as possible to avoid trampling sensitive trailside vegetation and trail widening. Hikers should bring extra socks to keep their feet dry.

Summits: Many summits are open and exposed. Summiting a bald and exposed high peak often includes long steep climbs on rock slabs and boulders to reach the top. Hikers will be very exposed to the elements and should be prepared with the proper sun, wind, or rain protection.

Tips for success:

  • Slow and steady – hike within your ability to keep your heart rate low.
  • Hydrate often – bring plenty of water and electrolytes and drink often to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Pack on the calories – Eat, eat, eat! Nutrient-dense foods help sustain your energy.
  • Wear sturdy boots – sturdy hiking boots protect your feet, toes, and ankles from boulders and roots. They also allow you to walk through muddy trails and navigate stream crossings.
  • Turn around! – It is always ok to turn around. Your health and safety are the number one priority. Pushing too hard can put your life and the life of those who need to rescue you at risk. Turn around if the weather changes and thunderstorms are approaching.

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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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