Friday, October 27, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (10/27): High Peaks hikers should prepare for variable temps

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 This Week


  • Daniels Road State Forest – Work on the right of way and parking area begins next week. The road will be closed Monday, 10/23 – Tuesday, 10/24. Contractors are repairing the mile stretch of road and parking area along with putting down new stone

Know Before You Go:

Know Before You Go Graphic

Fire Danger (as of 10/26):

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

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

Cloudy skies and showers are expected throughout the weekend. Forecasted highs are expected to drop over the course of the weekend, beginning in the high-60’s and reaching the mid-40’s by Sunday. Nighttime lows are expected to follow the same trend, starting in the low-60’s and falling to the low-40’s by the end of the weekend. Reminder: These forecasts are for low elevations. Anticipate losing 5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. There is already snow and ice son some peaks above 4,000 feet.

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 = 7:26 a.m.; Sunset = 5:51 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.

Watch for Moose: Motorist should be aware that moose are rutting at this time of year. Moose will be wandering around looking for mates and walking into roads without paying attention to vehicles. Take precautions to avoid colliding with moose.

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.

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. Expect water levels to rise with new rainfall. 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.

Share the Woods: Both Hunters and Hikers Recreate on Public Lands


With hunting seasons underway and fall hiking still at its peak, DEC is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to follow safety precautions while recreating this fall and winter. Whether you are a hiker, a nature photographer, a leaf peeper, or a mountain biker, following a few simple safety measures can make your experience as safe as possible while hunters and trappers are afield.

Tips for both hikers and hunters afield this fall:

  1. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’re planning to return. If your plans change, notify them.
  2. Dress for the weather; account for both location and elevation changes.
  3. Become familiar with the trail you plan on hiking or the area you plan on hunting.
  4. Wear bright clothing; blaze orange or blaze pink. Bright colors allow others to see you more easily and from farther away.
  5. Make sure you pack your bag with the 10 Essentials, especially, a light source, map, and first aid kit.

For more tips on sharing the woods this fall, check out the recent video by DEC.

Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Hunters are fellow outdoor recreationists and hunting is permitted on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.

If you decide to adventure with your pet, make sure to keep them on a leash. Loose pets can cause problems with other recreators and can get into trouble with wild animals. Also, to make pets more identifiable in the woods, give them a brightly colored collar, leash or other covering. DEC maintains hiking trails and permits hunting in many areas of forest preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, as well as in state forests, wildlife management areas, and unique areas. Find a place near you by visiting our website, checking out DECinfo Locator, or downloading the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App. Many trails are also accessible to people with disabilities.

Safety & Education – Temperature Change with Elevation

Winter Hike Smart NY Poster

Most of us that spend time in the mountains know the feeling: you start down the trail, sweating and taking in the sunshine, only to reach the summit, frantically searching for a warm layer to shield you from the cold.

How much colder is it?

A good rule of thumb is to plan for the temperature to drop 5 degrees Fahrenheit per 1,000 feet of elevation gain. That’s just under 3 degrees Celsius for every 300 meters of elevation gain.

That means if you’re ascending an Adirondack High Peak, with 3,000 of vertical gain from the trailhead to the summit, it will be 15 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius) colder at the summit. Remember this rule is an estimate for sunny conditions, and you should always account for the added exposure to wind and weather.

Always check the weather forecast and daylight hours before you head into the backcountry, and keep an eye out for signs that the weather may be changing. For forecasts on mountains in the Adirondacks and Catskills, be sure to check the National Weather Service’s Mountain Point Forecasts.

Leave No Trace™ – What’s Considered a Durable Surface in the Backcountry?


When travelling in the backcountry, we should always set out with the goal of minimizing the impact of our travels. When hiking, skiing, or approaching a climb, this means aiming to travel on the most durable surface available.

What makes a surface durable?

Durable surfaces can withstand the traffic of backcountry users better than sensitive surfaces such as vegetation, meadows, and informal trails like herd paths (social trails). These include established trails, rocks, roots, and man-made objects such as bridges and stairs.

Is mud a durable surface?

If you’re hiking along an established trail and encounter a wet or muddy section, then yes! Since this is part of the intended trail, it’s better to continue straight through the mud than it is to trample vegetation or widen the trail by going around it.

What about snow?

Snow is considered a durable surface if it is at least six inches deep. At this depth, proper travel with snowshoes or skis is unlikely to affect the plants and dirt that lay beneath.

In the spring, or during low snow conditions, try to stay in the middle of the trail and on the snow as much as possible. This avoids travelling on surfaces that are currently more susceptible to erosion.

Follow the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks.

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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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