Spring Hiking Notices for the Adirondacks

Winter has come to a close, signaling a new season of outdoor recreation, and many outdoor enthusiasts are eager to hit the hiking trails. While spring has definitely arrived, it’s important to remember that April-June, often referred to as Mud Season, can be unpredictable in the Adirondacks with heavy rainfall, large temperature swings, high water levels, and widely variable trail conditions depending on elevation.

To ensure a safe outdoor experience, always check conditions and be aware of spring hiking notices before heading out.

Spring Hiking Notices: Know Before You Go

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issues seasonal notices for the Adirondack hiking trails, including expected temperatures, trail conditions, closures, water crossings, and more. If you’re planning a spring hike, it’s important to keep these notices in mind.


Temperatures in May are typically in the mid-40s to upper 60s at elevation. However, hikers should anticipate losing 5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Snow and ice can remain and continue to accumulate in the High Peaks, and hypothermia is always a risk in wet conditions, even if the air temperature is warm. Be prepared with extra dry layers, and pack appropriate clothing and gear in the event your hike takes longer than expected, or an unplanned overnight occurs.


Expect trails to be variable with muddy conditions and, even in May, hikers can encounter unstable snowpack and slowly melting ice and snow in higher elevations. Although it may feel like spring at the trailhead, there are still winter conditions on some of the summits in the High Peaks Wilderness. It’s best to avoid trails above 2,500 feet until pathways have dried and hardened. Steep slopes may be slippery and dangerous. Bring traction devices/snowshoes when heading into the backcountry or above tree line at high elevations.


Many seasonal access roads remain closed while they dry out and spring maintenance is completed. Some parking lots and trailheads may be closed until after muddy season, as well. Extensive flooding may make some trails impassable, and footbridges may be temporarily washed out. Blowdown and overgrowth can make some trails difficult to navigate. Before heading out, check trail conditions posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Water Crossings

Fast-moving waters make stream crossings on trails dangerous during the spring, and water temps are only between 40 and 60 degrees. Banks along rivers and streams can be slippery and rocks may be icy from spray. Keep a safe distance to avoid falling in the water. Wear waterproof footwear or gaiters, and be prepared to walk through, not around, mud and water on trails to avoid disturbing vegetation and re-routing or widening trails.

While these spring hiking notices are typical for May, the DEC issues updated notices on a regular basis. For the most recent information, check the Adirondack Backcountry Seasonal Notices.

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