Friday, August 18, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (8/18): Section of Adirondack Rail Trail to be paved, unsafe for use during construction

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.


  • Adirondack Rail Trail – The section of the trail in Saranac Lake, stretching from Route 86 to North Country Community College is undergoing paving beginning 8/18. During this time, it will be unsafe for recreational use. The public should refrain from using this section of the trail during the construction period. Pavement will be used on this short section of high-use trail in order to provide a consistent surface throughout the village.

  • Moose River Plains – West Mountain Trail (southern access from Uncas Road) – Flooding near Beaver Brook has been bridged and the trail connection restored.
  • Independence River Wild Forest:
    • Bailey Road is closed at the bridge across the Independence River. Until the bridge is reopened, there is no trail within the Otter Creek system crossing the river.
    • Eatonville Trail has reopened while work on the power lines has stopped.
    • Big Otter Lake Road has washed out west of the Tommy Roaring Brook and is temporarily closed starting at the damage.
  • Saranac Lakes Wild Forest – The trail from Echo Pond to Cobble Hill and the Purple Trail is flooded by beaver activity. Sections of these trails are very muddy. Hikers and bikers should avoid using the Purple Trail or the trail up the east side of Cobble Hill.


  • Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest – Cheney Road in North Hudson will be closed 8/14 and 8/17 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 8/17):

  • 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 range in the 70’s throughout the weekend. Nighttime lows will remain in the mid to high-50’s. Rain and pop up storms are likely. This will further affect the 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 = 6:03 a.m.; Sunset = 7:54 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 187am-3pmHigh Peaks Rest Area – Route 87 Northbound

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Saturday – August 197am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Garden Trailhead – Keene Valley

Sunday – August 207am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass

Garden Trailhead – Keene Valley

Monday – August 217am-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 VERY 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 – The Lightning Position

Hike Smart NY Poster Summer

No one wants to be caught out in the storm, but sometimes in the backcountry, things happen. Do you know what to do if a thunderstorm moves in unexpectedly?

To start, it’s important to already be prepared. Thunderstorms can pop up even when they aren’t forecasted. Bring rain layers and keep an eye on the weather.

As soon as you’re aware of bad weather approaching, move to lower elevations and seek shelter. It can be hard to resist that final push to the summit, but the mountain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re caught outside, find a low spot away from tall trees, crouch down to make yourself as short as possible, and keep your feet together to minimize the effect of any nearby strikes.

Tip: Sitting on your pack or a sleeping pad can also insulate you from the ground effect of a lightning strike.

Leave No Trace™ – Good Campsites are Found, Not Made

LNT Tech Tip 18

Altering a campsite should not be necessary. Make sure to choose a site that is large enough for your group. Leave your campsite as natural as possible.

In the Adirondacks, many tent sites and lean-tos are first-come-first-serve. Be sure you’re within the group size limit, and be courteous to other campers who may show up after you.

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.

One Response


    it would be nice and helpful if more info on the rail trail from Lake Placid to tupper was available or at least a web site to get updated and acuate info on it’s progress. Perhaps one is available thar i just don’t know about. Thanks

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