Fall is our favorite color

Fall is a favorite season for many people. Summer adventures carry over into the new season with a different splash of color adorning the mountains, shorelines, and trailsides that we all love to explore. But, with the fresh, new colors on the trees comes a new set of things to consider, especially when it comes to hiking. Before you hit the trails this fall, remember to plan ahead and gather those hiking essentials! Also be aware that you are not the only one who might be out to leaf peep. Trails and roadside pull-offs may become crowded, so having alternative plans can help ensure you have the experience you planned for!

All the leaves

The thing about fall is that it … falls. Once the leaves are done with photosynthesis for the year, they drop to the ground. While this can create some beautiful scenery, it can present a problem for hikers. Some trails may be harder to follow once covered in leaf litter. Take care to note trail markers on trees so that you stay on course. Fallen leaves can also conceal rocks, roots, and stumps, creating potential hazards on the trail. Don’t worry, it’s still safe to hike in autumn; just be aware of your surroundings and keep the hazards in mind.

Winter weather in fall

Yes, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Fall is a short season here in the Adirondacks, and a very unpredictable one at that. With so many hiking trails that reach the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, it’s possible to experience a few seasons in one day! It’s not unheard of to start a hike in town in 70-degree weather, and then encounter snow and ice in the High Peaks. Factoring in wind chill, it’s possible to have a temperature difference well over 20-degrees from trailhead to summit. Always be sure to pack extra layers and a warm coat even if it’s warm and sunny at the trailhead. Avoid cotton for base layers and stick to synthetic fabric or wool -- their breathability will do a much better job at keeping you warm and dry. Be sure to pack those microspikes, too, in case icy conditions pop up!

Where did the sun go?

The best part about summer is that the days are longer, meaning we have more time to explore! In fall, the days become shorter. All hikes should be planned with that in mind. Although you should always carry a headlamp, the chances of needing it increase in fall. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries, too! When the sun goes down, the nights are also cooler. You won’t regret bringing those extra layers.

Orange you glad you’re prepared?

Without a doubt, hunting is popular in the Adirondacks. With so much space and game, there are opportunities everywhere. But that also means you have a chance of sharing the woods with a hunter. It’s okay! You don’t have to worry. There are certain steps you can take to make sure everyone is safe in the woods. First off, wear brightly colored clothing. You’ll want to stand out! Same goes for your pets. Second, know when hunting season is. Be aware of who might share the woods with you. Last but not least, the best thing you can do is stay on the trails. Hunters tend to venture deep in the woods, away from all the footsteps and noise. If you’re still cautious about hiking during hunting season, stick to privately owned land, like community parks, where hunting is not allowed.

Find out current conditions

If in doubt, give the High Peaks Information Center a call and they can let you know if current conditions and what to expect.