The Basics of Spring Hiking in the ADKs
In the Springtime the DEC suggests hiking trails in the ADKs under 2,500 ft. (Or additional approved trails) Warmer weather, brings melting snow/ice which makes mud. And with mud comes the potential for a mud slide and more erosive soil. Soil is unstable can lead to injury or human damage to vegetation, natural resources and also is a common time for trail widening due to hikers walking around areas of mud.
This time of year tends to yield a lot of rainfall, Here are some hiking necessities that you should have with you when hitting the trail.
Leg gaiters for trekking through mud puddles, rain puddles so that you don't widen the trail - and are able to stay dry on your hike.OVERVIEW
Always pack proper rain gear (nothing worse than being wet/cold/cranky when hiking)- this includes a proper rain jacket: GORETEX is a great material to invest in, to be sure dryness, extra socks, waterproof boots, waterproof pants or at least gaiters for water/mud protection on your legs.
Waterproof rain cover for your backpack, if you need/want gloves - look for neoprene material, it’s not waterproof but neoprene insulates to keep your hands toasty during your hike.
Rainy Conditions mean you should look out for - slippery surfaces, muddy slopes, fast moving creeks, and flash floods so it’s important to be conscious of these more hazardous conditions & plan your trek accordingly.
It’s easier to stay dry than to dry off after getting wet while hiking. Don’t wait until a down pour to throw your coat on, when it starts to feel like rain or you see a storm cloud coming in, throw the rain coat on preemptively to avoid getting wet.
Keep an eye out for lightning. If it starts lightning: 1) seek shelter, if unavailable.. 2) look for a valley/depression in the terrain. Avoid isolated trees/tall objects. If you have metal hiking poles, keep them 100 ft from you 3) crouch on the ground with your weight on the balls of your feet, head lowered and ears covered, never lie flat on the ground.
Keep an eye on changes in the weather. If you start to feel heavy winds, dark clouds in the sky .. it’s better to turn around and call it a day. Don’t try to summit a mountain in a heavy storm. It’s dangerous and definitely won’t be worth it. There’s always another day!
WHERE TO HIKE
Need some Spring time hiking inspiration? Below is a list of approved hiking regions and some fun firetower hikes within the elevation limit!
Debar Mountain Wild Forest: Azure Mountain, Giant Mt. Wilderness: Giant's Washbowl and Roaring Brook Falls, High Peaks Wilderness: Ampersand Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Big Slide, the Brothers, and Porter Mountain from Cascade Mountain - avoid all other approaches, Hurricane Primitive Area: The Crows and Hurricane Mountain from Route 9N, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area: Pharaoh Mountain, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Baker Mountain, Panther Mountain, and Scarface Mountain
1. Azure Mountain (2323 ft) 2 mile hike, 900 ft climb
2. Mount Arab (2500 ft) 2 mile hike, 740 ft climb
3. Bald Mountain (2300 ft) 2 mile hike, 430 ft climb
4. Woodhull Mountain (2350 ft) 14.5 mile hike, 1200 ft climb
5. Kane Mountain (2100 ft) 2 miles, 620 ft climb
6. Belfry Mountain (1850 ft) 1 mile, 125 ft climb
7. Poke-O-Moonshine (2200 ft) 4 miles, 1300 ft climb
8. Spruce Mountain (2000 ft) 3 miles, 1020 ft climb
9. Stillwater Mountain (2200 ft) 2 miles, 540 ft climb
Can also check out Lake George 12ster hikes, Tupper Lake Triad, Fulton Chain Trifecta for some fun lower elevation alternatives. Stay safe and do your part to help preserve our soils & trails! And we’ll see ya in the higher elevation peaks come June.