Friday, August 11, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (8/11): High-water and muddy trails advisory in effect in ADKs

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.


  • Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest – Cheney Road in North Hudson will be closed 8/14 and 8/15 to prep for road work. The road will close again the following week (dates TBA) to finish construction.


  • High Peaks Wilderness – Starting Thursday, July 27, Marcy Brook Lean-to will be unavailable for use. The lean-to is being repaired over several weekends by the Adirondack 46ers Volunteers. Campers can utilize existing tent sites across the hiking trail from the lean-to or camp at nearby lean-tos.

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 8/10):

  • 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 hover in the high-70’s throughout the weekend. Nighttime lows will remain in the 50’s. Chance of heavy thunderstorms accompanied by high winds. This will also likely affect the already saturated trails, resulting in further flooding and high water.

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.

Incident – Lightning Strike: On Aug. 4 at 1 p.m., while patrolling the Follensby Clear Pond boat launch, Forest Ranger Adams heard sirens approaching and saw a Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department Truck pull into the boat launch. A 34-year-old from Pennsylvania and a 44-year-old from Syracuse were camping in a tent at the base of a tree struck by lightning; the lightning hit the pair, as well. Ranger Adams rode with Tupper Lake EMS to the island. Ranger Praczkajlo and Saranac Rescue also responded. Both subjects were able to stand and get onto the boat. The visitors were taken back to the boat launch before being transported to the hospital. One subject is on crutches with swelling to his ankle. The other is experiencing hearing issues.

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 = 5:52 a.m.; Sunset = 8:07 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 – August 117am-3pmHigh Peaks Rest Area – Route 87 Northbound

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Saturday – August 127am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Garden Trailhead – Keene Valley

Sunday – August 137am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass

Garden Trailhead – Keene Valley

Monday – August 147am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass

Cascade 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 – Muddy Trails and High-Water Advisory for Adirondacks Continues

Hikers Advised to Temporarily Avoid All High-Elevation Trails and Trails that Cross Rivers and Streams

High-elevation trails feature thin soils that erode easily with heavy rains. Hikers are advised to avoid high-elevation trails for the duration of the advisory because sliding boots destroy trail tread, can damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soils causing washouts. Current trail conditions across the Adirondack Park are extremely wet and can pose risks to hikers such as falling, due to unstable trail tread and slippery rocks, as well as hypothermia.

high-water advisory is also in effect. All waterbodies rose considerably after recent storms. Streams and rivers are running high and fast with strong currents. Hikers should avoid trails that include stream crossings and use all high-water routes if provided. Do not attempt to cross swift-moving streams and rivers. Turn back and return another day.

Thunderstorms are predicted to continue throughout the coming week and will likely bring more heavy downpours and high-water events. Check the weather for the day of, night of, and day after your trip in case of an unexpected overnight. Storms can emerge suddenly and quickly in high elevations. Water levels rise rapidly in heavy rains and can become impassable within minutes. Avoid getting caught on the wrong side of a stream and turn back at any signs of changing weather conditions.

Hypothermia can occur even in the summer months and especially during times where very wet conditions are present. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Stay warm and dry by packing extra layers in a waterproof bag within your pack. Pack extra socks to keep your feet dry and change them often. Carry plenty of food and water. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.

Leave No Trace™ – Be Prepared- it could save your life!

Preparedness Saves Lives

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM 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!

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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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