NEW YORK – The State Department of Environmental Conservation is offering the following tips for hikers this fall:
Temperatures: The forecast calls for moderate temperatures in the mid-60s to low 70s during the day, cooling significantly into the low 40s and 50s at night in the High Peaks region. Showers are expected to move into the area as early as Saturday evening. The weather changes quickly in the mountains, especially as the fall season approaches. Pack extra layers, rain gear and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions.
Water crossings: Never attempt to cross high, fast-moving water, especially after rain or storms.
Biting Insects: While the worst of insect season is behind us, there are still plenty of mosquitoes, gnats and flies. Carry insect repellent, insect nets and other methods of protection against bites.
Heat Safety: Bring plenty of water, take shade breaks, and eat salty foods to help with fluid retention and electrolyte balance. Start hydrating before you start your activity. Wear sunscreen and other sun protection. Know the signs of heat illness, and if you start to feel or see them in someone in your group, act immediately.
Bring plenty of water for pets and consider leaving pets at home on hot days. Sunset = 7:05 p.m. Make a schedule and stick to it. Pack a headlamp even if you plan to finish your activity before sunset.
Travel: Expect the trails to be busy. Plan to arrive at your destination early and have several back-up plans in place in case parking at your desired location is full. Check @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter for real-time parking status updates. Consider taking a shuttle.
Hiker Information Stations: Stop at a Hiker Information Station for information on parking, alternative hiking locations, local land use rules and regulations, safety and preparation, and Leave No TraceTM. Please visit us at the following locations:
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: High Peaks Rest Area, northbound on Hwy 87, starting at 7:00 a.m.
Other stations this weekend: King Phillips Parking Area, Route 73, starting at 7 a.m.
Route 73 Hiker Shuttle: operates 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays through Columbus Day, from Marcy Field in the town of Keene to the Rooster Comb, Giant Mountain Ridge Trail, and trailheads of Roaring Brook Falls. The shuttle is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Masks are mandatory. Only certified service animals are allowed.
October Foliage Shuttle: Runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on October 1 and 2 and again during Columbus Day weekend on October 8, 9 and 10. Shuttle departs from Frontier Town Gateway, drop-off and pick-up at Giant Mountain, Roaring Brook Falls, Rooster Comb trailheads, and Marcy Field parking area. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Dogs are not allowed and masks are mandatory.
Garden Shuttle: The Town of Keene shuttle from Marcy Field to the Garden Trailhead operates Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Check the weather: Check the forecast for your destination, pack your bags and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point forecast for some peak forecasts. Check day and night temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you go up in altitude.
Fire danger: As of September 15, fire danger is low in the Adirondacks. Please exercise extreme caution, follow local guidelines and avoid open fires if possible. Consult the fire rating map.
Water Conditions: Water levels throughout the Adirondacks region range from below average to high for this time of year, depending on the body of water. See current USGS water data for New York for the flow rate of selected waters. Life jackets are highly recommended.
Hiking with Dogs: Dogs that hike in hot temperatures are at risk of heat exhaustion and death. If your dog collapses, move quickly to create shade for the dog and cool his feet and stomach – this is the most effective way to help an overheated dog. The best way to protect your pet is to leave it at home.
Ticks: Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to easily spot ticks. Wear closed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck the pant legs into the socks or boots and the shirt into the pants. Frequently check clothing and any exposed skin for ticks when outdoors. Consider using insect repellent. Stay on clear, well traveled trails and walk in the center of the trails. Avoid dense woods and brushy areas.
Bear Canisters Required: NYSDEC requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Desert between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear-resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack backcountry.
Bear boxes should be used to store all food, food scraps, toiletries and other scented items. Canisters should be stored at least 100 feet from tents, lean-tos and cooking sites, and should be kept closed whenever they are not accessible. Learn more about bear canisters and how to avoid human-bear conflicts at www.dec.ny.gov/animals.
Adirondack Mountain Reserve: Parking reservations will be required from May 1 through October 31 for day and night access to parking, trailheads, and trails located on the private 7,000-acre AMR property in the town of Keene in the Upper Peaks Region. For a list of frequently asked questions and to register, visit www.hikeamr.org.