DEC High Peaks Region Weekly Bulletin - 08/24/17

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Current Conditions in the High Peaks Region
Compiled on August 24, 2017

Backcountry Information for the High Peaks Region

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 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.

High Bear Activity in Eastern High Peaks and Dix Mountain Wilderness: Bears have been approaching hikers and campers in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and continue to approach campers and climbers in the Chapel Pond area. All visitors to these areas are advised to practice proper management of food, trash, and toiletries to prevent negative encounters with bears and creating nuisance bears including:

  • Store ALL food, toiletries, and garbage in bear resistant canisters 
  • Bear resistant canisters are required in the Eastern High Peaks and strongly encouraged in the Dix Mountain Wilderness
  • BEAR HANGS DO NOT WORK in this area
  • Cook and eat away from your campsite before dark
  • Do not leave food unattended
  • Know what to do in a bear encounter
  • Consider carrying bear spray for close encounters with bears

Trail Conditions: Recent rains have resulted in more mud and water on trails. 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!!!

Biting Insects: Mosquitoes, deer flies and biting midges (no-see-ums) are present throughout the Adirondacks. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: Wear light colored long sleeve shirts and long pants; Tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks; Pack a head net to wear when insects are abundant; and, Use an insect repellant with DEET, follow label directions.

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

Thunderstorm Safety: Avoid summits, water surfaces and other open areas during thunderstorms. As soon as you are first aware of an approaching thunderstorm move to lower elevations, head to shore or otherwise seek shelter. If caught outside in a thunderstorm find a low spot away from tall trees, seek an area of shorter trees and crouch down away from tree trunks.


Avalanche Lake Trail: The trail remains closed at this time but will reopen on Saturday after DEC and Student Conservation Association Adirondack Programs replace the “Hitch-up Matildas” – the bridging on the cliff face along the lake.

Mt. Adams Fire Tower: The top landing on the Mt. Adams Fire Tower has been repaired. The fire tower, including the cab, are open to public use.

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

Lake Arnold/Feldspar Brook Trail: The trail is wet and muddy, more so after heavy rains, but passable if you are willing to get your hiking boots wet and muddy.

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 the spring of 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.