There's nothing like the beauty of Mother Nature in Upstate New York during the winter season. However, the unpredictable weather and recent storms in the backcountry have created some dangerous conditions.

If you're planning to hike the Adirondack or Catskill Mountains, you should be prepared to ensure a safe winter experience.

“Winter conditions in New York’s backcountry areas include beautiful, unpredictable, and sometimes treacherous weather,” Commissioner Seggos said. “While DEC encourages recreation year-round on State Forest Preserve lands, visitors are advised to pay careful attention to forecasted conditions when adventuring outdoors."

Credit -Chris Turgeon/Unsplash
Credit -Chris Turgeon/Unsplash

Snowshoes, Poles & Axes

Snow, ice, and slush are creating potential icy trail conditions exists. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recommends hikers carry snowshoes and trekking poles for safer travel on the trails.

Ice axes may be necessary in the High Peaks.

winter hiking tips
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Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Winter hiking can take more energy and time when you're traveling through the snow. Plan trips accordingly and pack the essentials before heading out.

  • Check the weather before entering the woods
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times
  • Layer clothing - wool, fleece, materials that wick moisture
  • Wear a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outerwear, and winter boots
  • Pack an ice axe, food, and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sunglasses, sunblock protection, bivy sack or space blankets

Remember to eat, drink, and rest often. You're more susceptible to hypothermia when you're tired, hungry, or dehydrated. And NEVER travel alone.

hiking safety tips, winter hiking tips
Credit - Michael Bennett/Unsplash

Snowmobiles & ATVs

Some seasonal access roads remain road open. Four-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles are highly recommended. Check the NYSSA Snowmobile Web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

In an emergency call 911. If you need help from Forest Ranger, call 1-833-NYS-RANGERS.

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