DEC Advises High Peaks Hikers To Pack Extra Clothes

The ridge between Algonquin Peak and Iroquois Peak.  Photo by Phil Brown.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation reminds High Peaks visitors that summer is coming to an end: days are shorter and weather cooler. Be sure to pack extra clothes if you’re going on a hike. Following is the department’s High Peaks Bulletin for this weekend:

Please be advised of the following conditions and prepare for them to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience.

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check the current National Weather Service Forecast and be prepared for the forecasted conditions. Carry extra clothing, equipment, and supplies in case of an unanticipated overnight stay.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace when recreating in the High Peaks Region. Protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks that awe and inspire.

Late Summer: Temperatures are cooling, days are shortening, and the sun sets earlier each day. Plan accordingly, wear or carry extra layers of non-cotton clothing and carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes. Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.

Fall Foliage: Leaves are changing colors in the Adirondacks. Expect to encounter many people on trails and waters every weekend through the Columbus Day Holiday Weekend. Boat launches, trailhead parking lots, and interior campsites will fill early, especially if the weather is nice. There are many beautiful places to view the fall foliage in the Adirondacks; seek out backcountry recreation opportunities in some of the lesser used areas. Hikes Outside the High Peaks describes alternative day hikes.

Stevens Search: DEC Forest Rangers and others are searching for Alex Stevens in Indian Pass. The search efforts include ground and helicopter activities. Hikers are asked to avoid all search operation activity.

Hunting Season: Early Bear Hunting Season opens Saturday. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Please recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on the Forest Preserve. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare.

Trail Conditions: Trails remain wet and muddy, especially along waterways, in low areas, and above 3,000 feet. Walk through mud and water – not around – to protect trailside vegetation and prevent further erosion of trails. It’s not hiking (or fun) if your hiking shoes don’t get muddy!!!

Summits: Temperatures will be cooler and winds will be stronger. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.


Volunteer to Work on Panther Peak: DEC is seeking 13 volunteers to work with the High Peaks Land Manager on the summit of Panther Peak from 10 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday, September 23. Work will include carrying and placing rocks on the summit as well as carrying some tools, signs and small materials to the summit of the mountain and off the mountain at the end of the day. If you are interested, contact us by email.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Trail between Indian Pass and Lake Colden is no longer a designated trail and is not maintained. It has not been a designated trail since Tropical Storm Irene.

Owls Head: The trail across private lands to the summit is closed to public access and use on weekends, but is still available for public use on weekdays. Please stay on the trail and avoid trespassing on private lands.

Marcy Dam: A crew of Student Conservation Backcountry Stewards and the DEC High Peaks Trail Crew are working on dismantling Marcy Dam into mid-September. This is the third year of a five-year project to dismantle the dam in a manner that minimizes the movement of sediments into Marcy Brook. The public is asked to stay out of the designated work areas and to not disturb equipment whether crews are there working or not.

Avalanche Lake Trail: DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Programs have replaced the “Hitch-up Matildas” – the bridging on the cliff face along the lake – and Avalanche Lake Trail is open.

Lake Arnold/Feldspar Brook Trail: The trail is wet and muddy but passable.

Calamity Brook Trail: The high water bridge on the Calamity Trail is unsafe and unusable, and should not be crossed. Crossing Calamity Brook without using the bridge will be difficult – especially with high water levels. After rain, water levels in the brook will be higher. The East River Trail (aka the Opalescent River/Hanging Spear Falls Trail) can be used to access the Flowed Lands and Lake Colden. It is an additional 3.7 miles one-way to reach the Flowed Lands using this route. DEC will work to stabilize and repair the high water bridge later this season.

Blueberry Horse Trail: The trail between the Calkins Creek Horse Trail and Ward Brook Horse Trail in the Western High Peaks contains extensive blowdown, is grown in with vegetation and is poorly marked. The trail is impassable to horses, making it impossible to complete the Cold River Horse Trail Loop. DEC worked in the fall of 2016 to open up about 75% of the trail.  During 2017, work will continue to open the trail back up.

Phelps Trail: The high water bridge over Slide Mountain Brook between the Garden Trailhead Parking Area and Johns Brook Lodge broke in spring of 2016 and the remains were removed.  Materials were flown to the site so a new bridge can be built in 2017.

Bradley Pond Trail: The first and second foot bridges on the Bradley Pond Trail are damaged and unusable. The stream can be forded/rock hopped on the downstream side of the bridge sites.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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