The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today urged hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes 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 slowly melting 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. Sensitive alpine vegetation is also easily damaged by hikers attempting to avoid the mud and ice.
Avoiding these trails during the Muddy Trail Advisory helps to alleviate impacts to the trail tread and adjacent areas. Saturated, thin soils and steep grades combined with hikers trying to get traction lead to increased impacts to the trail corridors during the shoulder seasons. Snow and ice “monorails” are difficult to hike on, resulting in users widening trails.
DEC encourages hikers to help avoid damage to hiking trails and sensitive high elevation vegetation by avoiding trails above 2,500 feet, particularly high elevation trails in the Dix, Giant, and High Peaks Wilderness areas in the northern Adirondacks. Please 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.
DEC is urging hikers to postpone hikes in the higher elevations to protect New York’s trail system and help DEC manage the largest wilderness in the Northeast.
Visit the DEC website for a list of hikes in the Adirondacks below 2,500 feet.