RAY BROOK - Here is the latest trail information for the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park, released Thursday, Dec. 5 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Weather conditions may change at any time. All users should plan accordingly, including bringing flashlight, first aid equipment, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Weather conditions may alter your plans; always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Bald Eagle (Photo by Lou Reuter)
Cold weather: The short current recent warm spell will be followed by a return to below freezing temperatures. Day time highs are forecasted to be in the 20s with night time lows in the single digits. Cold weather outer garments, extra layers of non-cotton clothing and a winter hat and gloves are necessary for any outdoor recreation activities.
Snow and ice: Last week's storm did not result in the snow depths that were forecasted. Much of the snow present is melting during the current warm spell. As temperatures fall below the freezing mark snow will harden. Snowshoes are not required at this time, but boots and traction devices are recommended. Crampons may be warranted on summits and bedrock slopes.
Trail conditions: In the lower elevations, trails should harden up by the weekend and may be icy in certain areas. Hard snow and ice can be expected in the higher elevations.
Shorter days: Days are shorter. Clocks have been set back an hour as we return to Eastern Standard Time; darkness arrives very early. Plan accordingly and always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra fresh batteries.
Summits: Conditions on and near summits are more extreme with stronger winds, colder temperatures, ice and snow.
Ice on water: Ice has formed on most waters. Waters may have opened up during the warm spell and refroze with the return of the cold weather. No ice is safe at this time. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a person at this time of year.
Cold Water: Water temperatures are mostly in the 30s. PFDs must be worn by all people at all times in boats less than 21 feet in length until May 1.
Hunting Seasons: Autumn hunting seasons for small game, waterfowl and big game are open. 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. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.
Blowdown: Blowdown may be present on trails. Plan accordingly.
Corey's Road: Due to planned logging operations at Ampersand Park the Raquette River Trailhead gate will be closed this winter. Public motorized access will be prohibited beyond there. It is nearly 3 miles from the gate to the Truck Trail Trailhead, plan trips accordingly.
East River Trail is Open: The new bridge on the East River Trail over the Hudson River is complete and the trail has reopened.
Elk Lake Trails: The trails through the Elk Lake Easement Lands are closed until the end of the big game hunting season in early December.
Duck Hole-Henderson Lake Trail: A new bridge has been constructed over Roaring Brook near Duck Hole.
Bradley Pond Trail: The first foot bridge on the Bradley Pond Trail has been dropped and is unusable. The stream can be forded /rock hopped most of time on the downstream side of the bridge site.
Klondike Trail: The bridge over South Meadow Brook on the Klondike Trail has been replaced. The trail can now be accessed directly from the end of South Meadow Road.
Hurricane Mountain Trails: A portion of the Hurricane Road on the Elizabethtown (east) side of the Hurricane Mountain is washed out. The Hurricane Mountain Trailhead at the end of the road cannot be reached. The trail from Route 9N is flooded by beaver activity and rains. It is passable if you are willing to wade. Currently the only easily accessible trail to the summit of Hurricane Mountain is from The Crows Trailhead on the O'Toole Road off East Hill Road on the Keene (west) side of the mountain.
Marshall and Other Trail-less Peaks: Many of the herd paths found on Marshall and some of the other trail-less peaks meander around the slopes of the mountain without reaching the peak. Those climbing these peaks should navigate with a map and compass rather than follow the paths created by others.
Northville-Placid Trail: The trail contains a large area of blowdown near the Seward Lean-to. A detour around the blowdown has been marked with pink flagging.
Marcy Brook Foot Bridge: A new bridge has been constructed over Marcy Brook. It is located approximately 200 feet below Marcy Dam, upstream from the low water crossing that had been in use since Hurricane Irene washed away the old bridge over Marcy Dam.
East River Trail: The bridge over the Hudson River is out, use the nearby flagged ford (low water crossing). Crossing when water levels are high or when water temperatures are cold can be risky.
Southside Trail: DEC has closed the Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John's Brook Outpost and is not maintaining it at this time.
Cold Brook Trail: DEC has closed the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass and is not maintaining it at this time.
Trap Dike: Fixed ropes, harnesses and other equipment are often abandoned in the Trap Dike. Due to the age, weatherizing and wearing of these materials they are unsafe and should never be used.
Deer Brook Trail: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on this trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.
Calkins Creek Horse Trail: Two bridges are out - the trail is impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.
For more information, visit the DEC's High Peaks Trail Information web page at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9198.html.