DEC Issues A Muddy Trail Advisory
Hikers are advised to avoid high-elevation trails, especially in the high peaks.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging hikers to avoid the trails above 2,500 feet until they have dried and hardened.
Despite recent warm weather, North-facing hiking trails are still covered in snow and ice. They are slowly melting and conditions are a mix of ice and mud in the high elevations. Hiking on the steep trails would not only be dangerous, but also contribute to erosion, and damage the sensitive alpine vegetation.
The DEC says these conditions, known as "monorails," are difficult to hike, and adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.
Hikers can severely damage trail treads as they struggle to gain traction on loose, saturated soils. Hiking off the compacted snow impacts vulnerable trailside soils and easily damages sensitive alpine vegetation. 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]
Hikers are asked to avoid the following areas of particular concern:
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.
Hikers still have access to the lower elevation trails, but if you encounter mud, the DEC says to hike through it instead of around it to help reduce trail widening.