Friday, September 1, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (9/1): Hikers should prepare for wet trails, wear shoes with good tread

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.


  • No New Updates


  • 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.

  • Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest –The Croghan Tract Conservation Easement Main Haul Road is temporarily closed to public motorized use due to washouts caused by a recent rain event. The closure also impacts access to portions of Pepperbox Wilderness Area accessed through the easement property. The property remains open for public use, but visitors will need to park prior to the gate.

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 8/31):

  • 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 from the high-70’s to low-80’s throughout the weekend. Nighttime lows will start in the low-50’s, warming to the low-60’s by the end of the weekend. Sunny skies are expected all weekend, but inclement weather is always a possibility.

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.

Conditions: Trails are still very wet and muddy. Muddy conditions on steep slopes can be unstable and slippery. The consistent wet weather has made rocks, boulders, and roots extremely slippery. Hikers should use caution on wet trails.

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.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:17 a.m.; Sunset = 7:34 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 – September 17am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge
Saturday – September 27am-3pmMarcy Field Shuttle Stop
Sunday – September 37am-3pmMarcy Field Shuttle Stop
Monday – September 47am-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 above average 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 – Footwear for the Trail

Hike Smart NY Poster Summer

Trails in the Adirondacks are rocky, slick, muddy, and technical. A slip in the wrong spot could turn your pleasant hike into an unexpected rescue. A good way to prevent this is by having adequate footwear for the hike you’re attempting.

Many standard boots, sneakers, and other shoes aren’t designed for hiking on wet tree roots and logs. Boots or trail shoes with good tread and lugs that bite into the ground are ideal.

Sandals, flip flops, and other open-toed shoes are also a slippery slope. Without protection on the tops and fronts of your feet, there’s little room for error. A misstep or kicked rock or stick could result in a much more serious injury than with the protection of a covered boot. Not only is this dangerous for the person involved, but also for Forest Rangers who must stage a rescue.

Preparing well will make every trip more enjoyable. Take along the Hike Smart NY 10 Essentials for safer and happier hiking this season.

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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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