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This weekend in the High Peaks

Blue Line Bulletin

This weekend in the High Peaks

Alpine landscape near summit on a climb of Gothics Mountain, an Adirondack 46er. (Shutterstock)
Alpine landscape near summit on a climb of Gothics Mountain, an Adirondack 46er. (Shutterstock)

Compiled Friday, Jan. 11 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Possible Flooding: Rain and above freezing temperatures are forecast through Friday evening. This may result in significant snow melt and flooding of some streams & rivers and low areas.

Winter Storm Watch: The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Watch from 7 pm Friday through 7 pm Saturday that includes all of the High Peaks Region. NWS states there is a potential to receive 4 to 8 inches of snow with localized amounts up to 10 inches. Before the snow a light coating of ice will be possible. This may impact travel and cause power outages. Check 511NY for current travel notices and advisories.

Mixed Conditions: Above freezing temperatures and rain will be present at all elevations through Friday evening. This will be followed by below freezing temperatures through the remainder of the holiday weekend, including below zero temperatures Saturday and Sunday night.

Be prepared for cold weather and avoid hypothermia, wear:

  • Insulated, water and resistant upper and lower outer shell 
  • Layers of synthetic or wool winter clothing
  • Warm socks and winter boots
  • Hat and gloves or mittens

Learn how to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor winter experience.

Snow and Ice: While snow depths currently range from 12 to 15 inches in the lower elevations, they have decreased by 6 inches or more in the past 24 hours. Additional depth will be lost as snows compact and melt in the warm temperatures and rain. Prior to the melt there was:

  • Nearly 3 ft. (90 cm) of snow at the stake on the shores of Lake Colden (Elevation 2,750 ft./838 m) 
  • 4 to 5 ft. (122 to 152cm) in the higher elevations 

Snow is forecast for Friday night and Saturday with accumulations of 6 to 12 inches. See the NERFC Snow Page  for more information. 

Trail Conditions: Snow and ice of varying depths will be present on all trails and at all elevations.

  • Trails in the lower elevations, along water, and in low spots will have water and slush below the new snow.
  • In the middle to higher elevations a crusty layer of snow may be present under the new snow.
  • Carry snowshoes on all hikes and use as warranted throughout the region.
  • The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness when snow depths exceed 8 inches.
  • Crampons should be carried and used on icy summits and other areas of heavy ice build-up.

Summits: Temperatures will be colder, winds will be stronger, wind chill temperatures will be lower, snow will be deeper, and ice will be present. Be prepared for these conditions. Check the National Weather Service Mountain Point Forecasts for selected summits.

Short Days: Carry a headlamp or flashlight on all hikes.

  • Be sure to have fresh batteries and carry extras.
  • Do not depend on your cell phone as a flashlight; the batteries will drain quickly and you will be unable to call for help.

Ice on Water: Ice had formed on all water bodies including slow moving sections of rivers and streams. Due to warm temperatures and rain, ice over moving water may be thin. Some locations may have no ice. Water and slush will be present on top of the ice but may be covered in snow. Be safe on ice.

  • Always check the thickness of ice before traveling across it.
  • Avoid ice:
    • Over running water,
    • Near inlets & outlet 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 or snowmobile.

Practice Leave No Trace: Please abide by the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace  when recreating in the High Peaks Region. Vegetation is still vulnerable even on icy and snow covered trails and summits. Protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks that awe and inspire.


Lake Colden Caretaker Report (NOTE: The conditions below were reported on Wednesday (1/10) and will have changed before the weekend. Snow depths may be less and conditions for skiing may not be ideal. A layer of crusty snow may be present under new snow. Water and slush may be present below the snow on the lakes.)

  • Nearly 3 ft. (90 cm) of snow at the Lake Colden snow stake (Elevation 2,750 ft./838 m).
  • 4 to 5 ft. (122 to 152cm) in the higher elevations.
  • Snowshoes needed on all trails.
  • All trails are in good or excellent condition for skiing.
  • Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are iced over and being crossed by skiers and snowshoers

Elk Lake Trails: The two trails through the Elk Lake Easement lands connecting to the High Peaks Wilderness and the Dix Mountain Wilderness, are open once again. However, the Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road will remain closed through the spring mud season. This will add four miles to a roundtrip hike, plan accordingly.

Corey’s Road: The gate will remain open until March 1, however the road and parking areas may not be plowed. If you don’t’ have a four-wheel drive vehicle and there is snow on the road, consider parking along the plowed section of road and walking. DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC. Have a shovel in your vehicle in case you need to dig out after a snowstorm.

South Meadow Lane: The lane is closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the end of the spring mud season. Vehicles can park at the barrier just off the Adirondac Loj Road. Do not block the opening as it used for emergency access.

Mr. Van Lean-to: A large tree has fallen on the lean-to on the Mr. Van Ski Trail causing severe damage and rendering the lean-to unsafe and unusable. DEC is working with partners to evaluate the extent of the damage and the requirements and timing of repairs.

Phelps Trail: Several sections of the trail in the Upper Johns Brook Valley contain extensive amount of blowdown (fallen trees, limbs, and branches). Please use caution when hiking in and around this area.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Trail between Indian Pass and Lake Colden is no longer a designated trail and is not maintained. It has not been a designated trail since Tropical Storm Irene devastated the trail in 2011.

Bradley Pond Trail: A new section of this trail to Santanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section leaves the old trail just as the trail leaves the gravel road and crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge, and then joins the old trail a short distance later.

Owls Head: The trail across private lands to the summit is closed to public access and use on weekends, but remains available for public use on weekdays. Please stay on the trail and avoid trespassing on private lands.