DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin - March 14, 2019

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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DEC Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Bulletin


March 14, 2019

Have a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks. Properly plan and prepare for your outdoor adventure. Minimize the impact on the mountains and forests, rivers and brooks, ponds and lakes, and the wildlife of the Adirondacks.

Check the Backcountry Information for the Adirondacks web pages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions for those planning to recreate in the Adirondacks. This bulletin provides only the most recent notices.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

Check snow amounts and mountain weather conditions before heading out this weekend.

Packing the proper gear for a winter hike is very important and you should be prepared to encounter all conditions. See our recommended packing list and winter safety tips.

Watch a video about winter hiking safety tips.

View a video and read a press release about snowmobile safety.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Weather forecasts and conditions can and do change quickly. Check the current National Weather Service Forecast and be prepared for the forecasted conditions or change your plans.

  • Blowdown: Heavy winds can knock down trees, limbs and branches, known as blowdown. Expect to encounter blowdown on trails, especially lesser used trails. Plan to for hikes to take longer than usual and be prepared to turn back if blowdown is heavy.
  • High water levels and swift currents on rivers and streams. Melting snow and recent rain have raised water levels. High fast-moving waters make stream crossings on trails dangerous and even impossible. Plan hiking routes that do not require water crossings or have intact foot bridges. Do not try to cross through cold, high, fast flowing waters.
  • Snowshoes or skis are strongly recommended for use in deep snow to reduce injuries and ease travel. Their use also prevents “post-holing”—leaving deep footprints in the snow – which makes trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use. Snowshoes or skis are required in the High Peaks Wilderness and recommended wherever snow depths exceed 8”. Warm temperatures can soften even hard-packed snow.
  • Carrying crampons is advised. Due to the continuing freezing and thawing weather, portions of trails have thick, hard ice built up which may not be suitable for skis and some snowshoes. Carry trail crampons to safely traverse these sections of trails.

Practice Leave No Trace

Follow proper trail etiquette to maintain minimal impact on the environment and the natural resources of the Adirondacks as well as ensuring an enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors by following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare (Principle #2)
    • Check the current weather forecasts and maps for Flood Warnings.
    • Check for road closures due to flooding
    • Be prepared for the variety of conditions you may encounter on the trails this weekend. Waterproof boots, snowshoes, and trail crampons should be packed and worn as warranted.
    •  Water levels will be high. Plan to hike routes without water crossings or have intact foot bridges to use to cross the water.

General Conditions/Notices

Learn the conditions you will encounter from Adirondack Backcountry Information.


  • FLOOD WATCH: The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Northern New York in effect from 8 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Saturday.
    • The Flood Watch covers all of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and St. Lawrence County.
    • Temperatures rising well into the 50s Thursday and Friday will lead to a rapid loss of snowpack, especially in valley locations. 
    • The runoff will contribute to river ice breakup, likely beginning during the day Friday and extending through Saturday. 
    • Due to thick river ice, in excess of one foot in many areas, the potential exists for localized ice jams and associated flooding as river ice breakup occurs.
    • Be alert to sudden changes in river levels and localized flooding.
    • A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.
    • Monitor NWS forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings.
  • Travel: Check NY511 for road closures and conditions.
  • Variable Weather: 
    • Temperatures in the 50s and rain will proceed the weekend when temperatures  drop below freezing.
    • Saturday will have daytime high temperatures in the low to mid 30s with snow showers.
    • Sunday will have daytime high temperatures in the mid-20s to low 30s with partly cloudy skies. 
    • Nighttime low temperatures will range from the single digits to the teens.
    • This is a general forecast and may change. Check the National Weather Service ( for current forecasts for the location where you plan to recreate.
  • Snow Cover: Snow depths range from 1 to 3 feet across the vast majority of the Adirondacks.
    • Snow depths range from 6 to 12 inches in the northeastern and very eastern parts of the Adirondacks.
    • Snow depths are only 2 to 6 inches in the southeastern corner east of Lake George. 
    • Snow is deeper in the higher elevations; snow is 6 to 8 feet deep above 3,000 feet in the High Peaks region.
    • Snow depths will decrease due to warm temperatures and rain leading into the weekend but most of the Adirondacks will still have plenty of snow this weekend.  
    • The National Weather Service NERFC Snow Page provides maps depicting current snow depths and forecasts.
  • Mountain Summits: Temperatures will be much colder, winds will be stronger, ice will be present, and snow will be deeper. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.
  • Ice on Waterbodies
    • Water and slush will be present on the surface of ice on most waterbodies. 
    • Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
    • Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlets and near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices. 
    • Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.
    • Be safe on the ice.
  • Streams and Rivers: Water levels will be high due to melting snow and rain. Use caution along rivers and streams and at water crossings.


  • General Information: 
  • Trail Conditions: 
    • High fast-moving waters will make stream crossings on trails dangerous and even impossible. 
      • Plan hiking routes that do not require water crossings or have intact foot bridges.
      • Do not try to cross through cold, high, fast flowing waters.
    • Trail conditions will be mixed except in the highest elevations.
      • Trails will be a mix of water, slush, snow, and ice. The amount of each will depend on latitude, altitude, aspect to the sun, and tree cover.
        • Northern, higher elevation trails on north-facing slopes with evergreen trees will have plenty of snow and ice.  
        • Southern, lower elevation trails on south facing slopes without trees will be wetter and possibly have no snow. 
    • Trails will harden and freeze as the weekend progresses.
    • Carry snowshoes, trail crampons, and steel-tipped hiking poles on all hikes and use when warranted.
  • Designated Snowmobile Trails:
    • Watch and listen for snowmobiles when skiing or snowshoeing on designated snowmobile trails. 
    • Move off the trail to allow snowmobiles to safely pass.


  • General Information: Snowmobiling 
  • Trails: Trail conditions will vary depending on latitude, altitude and tree coverage.
    • Weather forecasts indicate it is a great weekend to get out for a ride.
    • Check with local snowmobile clubs to determine status and condition of trails. 
    • New York State Snowmobile Association Interactive Trail Map 
  • Safety: 
    • Watch for skiers and snowshoers using snowmobile trails - slow down to safely pass.

Ice Anglers

Recent Notices

Notices below reflect recent changes in conditions and recreation infrastructure work completed by DEC and its partners. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information web pages for ongoing issues and more detailed information.

  • Camp Santanoni Historic Area: The last of the 2019 Camp Santanoni Winter Weekends hosted by DEC and the Friends of Camp Santanoni will be held this weekend.  
    • Some loss of snow may occur with the warm weather and forecast leading up to the weekend.
    • However, there is currently more than two feet of snow on the ground, so there will be plenty of snow remaining when the temperatures return to below freezing.
    • The forecast for the weekend looks to provide great winter conditions:
      • Low 30s and snow showers on Saturday
      • Mid 20s and partly sunny on Sunday.
    • Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will have access to the historic camp properties to rest, tour the buildings, and view interpretative displays.
    • Snow conditions for skiing are excellent and snowshoes are available to borrow.
    • Don’t miss the last Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend of the year!
  • Lake George Wild Forest: The Town of Fort Ann has closed Shelving Rock Road for mud season. Parking along Shelving Rock Road and at the gate is prohibited. Sleeping Beauty, Shelving Rock, and the Buck Mountain East Trailhead are not accessible while the road is closed. 
  • High Peaks Wilderness: 
    • Lake Colden Caretaker Report
      • 67 inches (170 cm) of snow at the stake at 2,750 feet (838 m) elevation.
      • 7 to 8 feet (215 to 245 cm) of snow above 3,000 feet (914 m) elevation.
      • The use of snowshoes or skis is required on all trails.
      • South Meadow Lane, Marcy Truck Trail, and the ski trails are in good condition for skiing despite the loss of some snow depth prior to the weekend.   
      • Rain and melting snow will likely blow out drainages, exposing rock and soil.
      • Wet areas and melting snow will refreeze with the return of cold weather.
      • Trail crampons and steel tipped hiking poles should be carried on all hikes and used when warranted.
      • Snow cover on foot bridges may be above the handrails. Use caution when crossing. 
  • Santa Clara Conservation Easement Tract: The S82 Snowmobile Trail between Meacham Lake Campground and the Red Tavern Road is closed due to unsafe conditions created by current and previous logging operations on private lands west of State Route 30.

Highlighted XC Ski: Santanoni Winter Weekends, Newcomb, NY

Camp Santanoni provides a 9.8-mile round trip cross-country ski excursion. The trail traverses from the Gate Lodge Complex (map PDF), past the Farm Complex (map PDF), to the remote lakeside Main Camp Complex (map PDF), providing a moderate ski and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. For those who don't have their own skis or snowshoes, the Adirondack Interpretive Center provide snowshoes free of charge to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

Trailhead: Camp Santanoni Historic Area is accessed from the Gate Lodge Parking Area, located on Newcomb Lake Road, off NY Route 28N. (43.9737°N, 74.1650°W) Google Map.

Skiers and snowshoers are welcome to recreate on the trail and surrounding lands on any day during the winter. However, during the Winter Weekend events which includes this weekend, March 16 & 17, cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit both the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge of Camp Santanoni, view displays about the great camp and take interpretive tours with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) staff. This is the last Winter Weekend of 2019.

The Artist's Studio, a stone building near the main lodge on the shores of Newcomb Lake, is open as a warming hut during Winter Weekend events. Visitors can warm themselves by the woodstove and enjoy coffee, tea or hot chocolate - you are encouraged to bring your own cup.

In addition to the popular 9.8-mile round trip from the Gate Lodge to the Main Lodge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are encouraged to take the half mile-trail that connects Camp Santanoni to the nearby Adirondack Interpretive Center's 3.6-mile trail system. The Center's buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Winter Weekends.

Reservations are not required but for more information, contact AARCH at (518) 834-9328

For more information on Camp Santanoni Historic Area 

View Map of Camp Santanoni Historic Area (PDF).