The rains from Irene washed away the bridge over Marcy Dam, one of the most well-traveled crossings in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
DEC spokesman David Winchell said the crossing is now impassable. He does not know when the bridge will be replaced.
The bridge is used by hikers who access the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, from Adirondak Loj via the highly popular Van Hoevenberg Trail. It crosses Marcy Brook as it spills out of Marcy Dam Pond.
The Van Hoevenberg Trail reaches Marcy Dam after 2.3 miles. Hikers can still get to the other side of Marcy Brook by taking the Marcy Dam Truck Trail to Marcy Dam, but this approach is considerably longer.
Winchell said DEC is encouraging people to stay out of the backcountry as the department evaluates the damage to trails and other facilities.
“We are just beginning assessments,” he said. “It is too earlier to say anything about when work will get done. I can tell you that we are receiving reports that there are number of bridges washed away and trails severely eroded in the eastern High Peaks and Dix and Giant Wilderness Areas.”
He expects to have more information later today.