Outside Circumstances (12/9): Minimal snow protection in Excessive Peaks, microspikes advisable –

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The following are just the most recent notices regarding public lands in the Adirondacks. Visit the Adirondack Backcountry websites for a complete listing of the notices, including seasonal road conditions, vie ferrate closures, specific trail conditions and other pertinent information

NEW THIS WEEK

High Peaks Wilderness Snow Report (12/08): There is minimal snow at Colden Caretaker Cabin. Higher peaks also have minimal snow cover – snowshoes may not be required but micro spikes are highly recommended. The trails are currently not in good condition. Because of the thin ice cover, trails are generally messy and slippery. Lakes have thin ice and are currently impassable.

Pine Lake Primal Area: Season gates on Chain of Lakes Rd. are closed for the season

O’Neil Flow Easement: 19th Township Street is closed for the season
Speculator Tree Farm Perkins Clearing: All conservation roads are very icy. Please use a 4WD vehicle and be careful.

Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Gates on Chain Lakes Road South are now closed for the winter season.

LAST WEEK

William C. Whitney Wilderness: Public vehicle access to Lake Lila is closed during the winter season.

Moose River Plains Complex: The gates to the Moose River Plains Recreation Area will be closed to public motor traffic for the winter season on Monday, December 5th.

General information

For more trip planning resources, visit the Adirondack Backcountry main page.

What you need to know (12/08):

  • Temperatures: Temperatures in the High Peaks region call for highs in the low 30s and overnight lows in the high teens to low 20s all weekend. These temperatures are estimates for base elevations. Always expect more extreme conditions at high altitudes. A few snow showers are expected over the weekend. The weather changes quickly in the mountains. Carry extra layers, cold-weather gear and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Microspikes or crampons are recommended for anyone planning to hike this weekend and are required at high altitudes. Snowshoes may be required on some trails as snow continues to fall.
  • water transitions: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially after a rain or storm. If rain is forecast during the day, keep in mind how water crossings can swell between your first crossing and your return.
  • Sunrise sunset: sunrise = 7:20 am; Sunset = 4:16 PM Make a timeline and stick to it. Pack a headlamp, even if you expect to finish your activity before sunset.
  • Travel: Plan to arrive at your destination early and have several backup plans in case the parking lot fills up at your desired location.

Check out the weather: Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for select peak forecasts. Check both day and night temperatures, and remember that temperatures drop as altitude increases.

Season roads: Due to recent snow, some seasonal access roads are beginning to close. Check the latest notices for any closure announcements and be prepared to turn back and take an alternate route.

Snowmobiles: Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and check local club, county, and state websites and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map (for up-to-date snowmobile trail information).

Water conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondack region are well above average for this time of year. Check the USGS Current Water Data for New York for current flow of selected bodies of water. Personal flotation devices (PFDs, also known as life jackets) are highly recommended.

Security & Education

Winter Hike Smart NY Poster

Whether you’re hiking, skiing or fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, clothing guides and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.

How to use Mountain Point forecasts

Before venturing into the backcountry, it’s important to check the weather and how conditions can change as you climb peaks. Most weather services can give you a reasonable forecast for the baseline elevations in the nearest town or trailhead. But how do you find out what’s happening at the summit?

The National Weather Service’s Mountain Point Forecasts provide just that. Taking into account elevation, orientation, and location, Mountain Point Forecasts provide hourly estimates for temperature, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, precipitation, and more on select peaks. Mountain Point Forecasts are available for a number of Adirondack peaks and provide a more accurate representation of high altitude weather. If your destination isn’t listed, look at the nearest predicted mountain or a nearby peak of a similar elevation.

The forecasts begin with a brief summary of what to expect at various times, followed by graphs of the temperature before and after wind chill, the likelihood of precipitation, including snowfall, and the wind speed at the summit. With these data points you can plan your activity around the weather. However, remember that even the best weather can change quickly, so always pack the 10 essentials and be ready to change plans if conditions take a turn for the worse.

Leave no trace

Leave No Trace 2021 partner logo

Follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace to minimize your impact on the Adirondacks’ environment and natural resources. Use proper trail etiquette to ensure an enjoyable experience for yourself and others, and tread lightly!

freezing and thawing

Early in winter, conditions can vary drastically. Rapid freeze-thaw cycles, rain and snow, and the occasional sunny day can leave marks and leave the plants around them in a fragile state. During this time it is important to be mindful of where we step and do our best to travel on durable surfaces.

Trailside plants and small trees are particularly susceptible to erosion caused by social pathways that form as hikers try to avoid mud, snow, or other obstacles in the trail. Avoiding trail conditions also results in trail widening, which increases our impact on the ecosystems in which we recover.

To protect trailside vegetation and avoid trail widening, prepare to have gear that allows you to stay on the trail despite seasonal conditions. Waterproof boots, gaiters, traction equipment, and snowshoes may be essential depending on the location and elevation of your hike. Check local trail conditions and weather before heading out to maximize your planning.

For information on Adirondack Trails, visit the Adirondack Backcountry Page.