View Full Version : South Meadow Rd. - Adirondacks

03-15-2005, 05:15 PM
Hi folks:

I am wondering if this road (beginning at the junction with the road that goes to Heart Lake, and ending at the gate where people park) is plowed in winter. Is it possible to drive on this road at this time of the year with a regular sedan? Thanks.

Ottawa, Canada

03-15-2005, 07:19 PM
They keep it plowed. Sometimes though, after a thaw-freeze cycle, it can get a bit dicey. It is passable most of the winter.

03-16-2005, 12:01 PM
Hillman- watch out for criminals- We had gear stloen from us there.

03-16-2005, 05:09 PM
Were you parked right across from the gate? There is broken window glass right there. It's been there for quite awhile. I also noticed a stolen and broken open parking meter from points unkown at the first legal campsite when you turn on the road. I"ve left my car there for 4 days while backpacking and have not had a problem yet, but stories like that worry me.

03-17-2005, 10:49 AM
There were problems on South Meadow Rd a few years ago in the summer months with cars getting broken into. I believe the perps were caught though.

Woodstrider -- was that recently you had gear stolen ?

03-17-2005, 11:12 AM
We parked there last weekend and we were OK. Best place to park for Pelkey Basin.

Some years ago there was talk from the DEC about closing that road, and the parking. Anyone know if they're still hot to do that?

03-18-2005, 02:19 PM
rdl, my gear was stolen in the winter.

My partner and I were camping in the parking area and someone (locals, most likely- don't mean to insult anyone) drove in late, stopped got out and back in to the vechicle quickly before driving off. They left with two pairs of sherpa snowshoes.

It can happen anywhere. A sad statement about this world. That's why I hike- there is so much positive about being out there. It really off-sets my life in the big apple.

03-18-2005, 03:13 PM
Did you ski the pelkey basin? What were the conditions like? I have yet to ski that, but hear great things.

03-18-2005, 04:00 PM
Yes, three of us skied Pelkey. We picked up a couple fellows with snowboards on the way up, and they joined us for the trip.

It was my third trip through Pelkey. It's one of the best, and probably the most convenient backcountry ski trips in the High Peaks.

The first time I did it, I didn't know about the illegal ski trail, and just followed a bearing. Good trip. the other two times I've used the trail.

Last weekend the snow was excellent. There was a light crust about 4" down, but I had hauled my lift served gear (Scarpa T1, Rossi T4), so I could bash thropugh anything. Great skiing.

Here's the beta:

Best place to park is South Meadow, because Pelkey drains onto the truck road. I usually snowshoe, and carry my skis. You could ski or skin to the Phelps spur, but the time you'd save would be small.

At the summit of Phelps, you want to head East along the ridge, and then north into the basin. The first time we did that, it worked out pretty well. We found a good spot to start down, got some good skiing in, but then hit a band of thick spruce. After we fought through a couple hundred yards of that, we broke out into the open basin, and had a great ski.

Subsequently, a friend told me about the ski trail. The trail circumvents the spruce band. Here's the beta on that: Follow the marked hiking trail as it traverses along the summit lookouts. At a point near the end of the ledges, there's a decent sized flat area, and the trail turns into the woods. A few feet into the woods is where the ski trail starts. It's probably invisible in the summer, but it will be tracked in the winter. The trail had been packed out by snowshoes when we got there on Sunday.

The trail runs east along the north side of the ridge for a ways, with some up and down. Eventually, it turns left and down to the North (snowshoe tracks had gone straight ahead; I'm not sure where they were headed).

Once it starts down, the trail includes some fairly wild skiing, about single black, but narrow and treed. Trail deposits you in the open basin, kind of on skiers right. Then you go wherever you want. The basin is very easy skiing (not steep). Eventually the streambed leads you out on a long roller coaster exit on the L bank of the stream, and takes you back to the truck road.

(The trail is illegal, and controversial. If that's a problem, you can certainly eschew it, like we did the first time.)

The basin itself, once you get into it, is miraculously open. I'm not sure whether it was the result of a fire or something else, but it's amazing. In the winter, it's one of the most beautiful places I've seen. Great golden and silver birches, and little clusters of Christmas tree spruces, stand twenty or thirty feet apart in a trackless snowfield. It literally brings tears to your eyes.

03-18-2005, 06:41 PM
That is the best beta on that area yet. I was hoping to get some skiing in this weekend, but can only get away for saturday, and I'm hiking sawteeth-gothics-armstrong. I'm hoping the snow holds out for quite a while.

03-20-2005, 07:35 PM
(The trail is illegal, and controversial. If that's a problem, you can certainly eschew it, like we did the first time.)

What makes the trail illegal and controversial ?

Does this route typically hold snow better than say Wright/Marcy ski trails ?


03-20-2005, 10:37 PM
IIRC, The trail was cut illegally around 8-10 years ago. I don't know if it was ever discovered who did it.

03-20-2005, 11:14 PM
What is the pelkey basin?

03-21-2005, 07:17 AM
Pelky brook runs under the first signifficant bridge on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail.