The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued its annual muddy trail advisory for the High Peaks today.
Hikers are being asked to avoid hiking on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. Snow and ice are currently melting on high elevation trails and steep trails with thin soils are dangerous for hiking and susceptible to erosion, and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged.
Backcountry trails in the highest elevations are still covered in ice and snow. Steep trails with thin soils can become a mix of ice and mud as the ice melts and frost leaves the ground, making the trails slippery and vulnerable to erosion by hikers, according to the DEC. Sensitive alpine vegetation is also easily damaged by hikers attempting to avoid the mud and ice.
Avoiding these trails during mud season helps to alleviate impacts to the trail and adjacent areas.
DEC asks that hikers avoid the following trails until trail conditions improve:
- High Peaks Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically: Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam – Avalanche – Lake Colden, which is extremely wet, Phelps Trail above Johns Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright, all “trail-less” peaks, and all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond in the former Dix Mountain Wilderness.
- Giant Mountain Wilderness – all trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owl Head Lookout.
- McKenzie Mountain Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically Whiteface, Esther, Moose and McKenzie Mountains.
- Sentinel Range Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically Pitchoff Mountain.
Visit the DEC website for a list of hikes in the Adirondacks below 2,500 feet.