NEW YORK (WWTI) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is urging hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened.
According to the DEC, north-facing trails have retained snow and ice late into the season this year. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails pose a danger to hikers, thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged.
Despite recent warm weather, high-elevation backcountry trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery and will not reliably support weight.
Avoiding high-elevation trails during the Muddy Trail Advisory helps to alleviate impacts to the trail tread and adjacent areas and minimizes trail widening.
DEC encourages hikers to help minimize damage to hiking trails and alpine vegetation by avoiding trails above 2,500 feet, particularly high elevation trails, including the following:
- 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 Area.
- 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, and snowy conditions still prevail, specifically Whiteface, Esther, Moose and McKenzie Mountains.
- Sentinel Range Wilderness – all trails above 2,500 feet where wet, muddy, snowy conditions still prevail, specifically Pitchoff Mountain.
Until conditions improve, DEC is encouraging hikers to explore lower elevation trails close to home and enjoy other forms of recreation. If hikers do encounter mud on trails, they should hike through mud instead of around it to help reduce trail widening and minimize damage to trailside vegetation.
A full list of hikes in the Adirondacks below 2,500 feet is available here.
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