Garden trailhead parking closure starts Monday

Numerous High Peaks are seen from the summit of Upper Wolfjaw Mountain, one of many peaks hikers can access from the Garden trailhead in Keene Valley. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

KEENE VALLEY — The parking lot at the Garden trailhead — one of the most popular access points to the High Peaks Wilderness for hikers — will be closed to public motor vehicles and pedestrians beginning Monday, and continuing until a bridge replacement is complete.

The town of Keene, which is replacing the bridge over Johns Brook, and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism announced the news Thursday.

The closure is for 2019 only. No vehicles or pedestrians will be able to pass the bridge while construction is underway.

During that time, the only way hikers may access the trailhead will be by parking at the town’s parking lot at Marcy Field in Keene Valley and using the town shuttle. The bus will transport hikers between the parking lot and the trailhead.

The town plans to operate the shuttle from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The cost will be $10 round-trip per person ($13 Canadian). However, due to the current lack of bus drivers, this schedule may be reduced. Check the town website for up-to-date shuttle schedules: https://www.townofkeeneny.com/2019-garden-shuttle-information.

The town says it is working closely with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Mountain Club to inform hikers about the closure, the shuttle and alternative hikes in the area.

Town officials say they recognize that this is a major disruption during the nicest hiking weather, but they say the current bridge is in such poor shape that plow trucks, fire trucks, and ambulances cannot use it.

The town also asks hikers to respect “no parking” signs and not to park or walk on private property to access the trailhead. There will be “no parking” signs posted along Adirondack Street, Market Street and Johns Brook Road, and illegally parked cars will be towed.