Friday, September 8, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (9/8): Saranac Lake Upper Locks closure/rehab work begins Sept. 18

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.


  • Upper Locks Closure Begins Sept. 18 – Rehabilitation work will begin Sept. 18 and will close the Upper Locks between Upper Saranac and Middle Saranac Lakes. The project is expected to be complete in 2024.
  • Grass River Wild Forest – There is an exclusive rights period on the Cranberry Forest Conservation Easement until December 16th. The only public uses allowed during this time is the year-round use of the Windfall Road and Buckhorn Road for the sole purpose of accessing the river corridor, and the year-round use of the Dillon Pond Public Use Area.

  • Sept. 1 – Dec. 31 River Creel Survey  Anglers at points along the Saranac and Bouquet rivers can help fisheries biologists learn more about angler use, catch, harvest and expectations by participating in a voluntary pilot survey conducted by on-site staff.
  • Chimney Mountain Trailhead Closure – This is a reminder that the trailhead at Kings Flow with trails leading to the DEC trail system for access to Chimney Mountain, Puffer Pond from the north and along Kings Flow from the north is on private land and is closed to the public at this time. There is no easement for public use.


  • No New Updates

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 9/7):

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

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

While this week included heat advisories throughout the region, the weekend forecast shows somewhat cooler and wetter weather. Daytime temperatures in the region will range from the low-70’s to mid-80’s throughout the weekend with nighttime lows in the low-60’s to mid-50’s. Showers are likely, with thunderstorms possible. Even with sunny skies, inclement weather is always a possibility and can change very quickly. 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.

Sunrise/Sunset: Sunrise = 6:27 a.m.; Sunset = 7:20 p.m. The days are getting shorter as we move into fall. 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. Phone batteries drain quickly and are discouraged.

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 87am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Garden Trailhead, Keene Valley

Saturday – September 97am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Marcy Field Shuttle Stop – Keene Valley

Sunday – September 107am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Marcy Field Shuttle Stop – Keene Valley

Monday – September 117am-3pmMt. Van Hoevenberg Mountain Pass Lodge

Garden Trailhead, Keene Valley

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 generally normal 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: We do have ticks in the Adirondacks! 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 – Getting Caught in the Dark

image of dark woods at dusk

As we move into fall, the days are getting shorter. We will lose about an hour of daylight over the month of September. While you might think it won’t happen to you, it can be very easy to lose track of time on an outdoor adventure and you might end up getting caught in the dark.

Being out on a trail at dusk or into the night can be an enjoyable experience if it is something you planned for, but if you’re unprepared it can feel scary and disorienting. Sore muscles, getting a late start, taking longer than you planned to enjoy that mountain view – there are a lot of reasons why you might get caught in the dark. Hikers and outdoor recreators should always be prepared to be out at night, and there are some basic, easy precautions you can take to avoid an unintended night hike or to ensure a safe conclusion to your day even if you’re out there later than you want to be.

Know the trail and your group’s ability level and have a hard and fast turnaround time. If it’s getting darker, don’t panic. Take a pause and have some of that extra food and water you brought, put on a warm layer, and make sure you and everyone in your group is calm and comfortable as you continue heading back to the trailhead. Check your map and compass to ensure you’re on the right route – trail markers aren’t always as visible at dusk. Always bring a working headlamp and flashlight – don’t rely on a cell phone flashlight. If you have cell service, text or call the person you left your trip plans with to let them know you’ll be delayed.

The bottom line is preparing well will make every trip more enjoyable. Take along the Hike Smart NY 10 Essentials for safer and happier hiking this season.

Leave No Trace™ – Wildlife Changes

Fall in the Adirondacks is a time of change for all of us, including our local wildlife. Some animals are getting ready for winter, while others are fattening up for a long migration journey.

black bear

Respect Wildlife this fall by following these tips:

  1. Keep your food to yourself. Feeding wildlife does not help them prepare for the long winter and does much more harm than good. Proper food and trash storage is the best way to help!
  2. Keep your distance. You can enjoy viewing wildlife from a respectful distance by following the rule of thumb. Extend your arm, make a thumbs-up, close one eye, and see if you can hide the animal with your thumb.
  3. Keep your Pets Close. Yep, we recycled tip #3 from last week. That’s because keeping your pets on leash and under control helps prevent disturbances to wildlife (and it keeps your pet safer, too).

Follow Leave No TraceTM Principle 6: Respect Wildlife and help keep our wildlife wild!

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks. Learn how to follow the rule of thumb.

Share Your Ideas: Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act

$4 billion for the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act

This spring and summer, the public and potential funding applicants had the opportunity to learn more about the Bond Act at a series of educational listening sessions.

Missed out on attending a session? Check out the virtual session recordings.

Share your ideas for how the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act could help your community and environment. Complete a short survey to collect project ideas and other feedback. This survey will provide stakeholders and members of the public a place to share these ideas.

We need your input to help the New York State team select projects and deliver funds while also ensuring a transparent and collaborative process that benefits all New Yorkers.

The deadline for ideas and comments is September 15.

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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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