Stay ahead of the heat this weekend by hiking early, this will also ensure you can access trailheads that may be busier later on. A hot weekend is expected with high temperatures in the 90s and higher humidity. If you’re traveling, please continue to follow recommendations on safety and social distancing from New York State and the CDC. Use your best judgement and keep alternate plans in mind if you’re visiting a popular trailhead that happens to be very busy.
Trail Conditions: The trails are in great condition at the moment. Some wet and muddy spots are around so plan on wearing full sized hiking boots. Of course stay off mountaintops and open spaces during any thunderstorms. Be aware of critical closures and some recent reopenings of Catskill Park destinations. Full list below.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, scattered showers with possible thunderstorms after midday. Mostly cloudy, high near 82. 40% precipitation. Friday night, partly cloudy with a low around 64. Saturday, sunny and hot with a high near 91. Calm wind. Saturday night, mostly clear with a low around 66. Sunday, sunny and hot with a high near 94. Calm wind. Sunday night, slight chance of showers after 11pm. Partly cloudy with a low around 72. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Temporary Closures: The following destinations are closed in the Catskills. For any information or clarification, please feel free to call the Catskills Visitor Center at (845) 688-3369 or email email@example.com:
- Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23a is closed. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls have been reopened.
- The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however window service on the side porch is available for visitor information from 10-4, Monday through Saturday. Staff is answering phone calls at 845-688-3369. Visitor Center trails are open.
- DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more (link to: the DEC’s website). As of June 11, the DEC resumed issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who would like to stay for more than three nights at one location on state lands. DEC is also temporarily restricting lean-to use to members of a single household at a time.
- A service window is available at the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt Tremper, NY. Visitor Center staff is available Monday-Saturday to provide resources and answer questions. Please continue to follow best practices by wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance.
- NYSDEC Fire Tower trails and staircases in the Catskills (Balsam Lake, Hunter, Overlook, Red Hill, Tremper, Upper Esopus) are reopened to hikers. Use hand sanitizer and wear a mask if you choose to climb a tower. The Hunter Fire Tower cab will be open on weekends staffed by a Catskill Center volunteer, all other fire tower cabs are closed presently.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: ** Permits are already booked for this coming weekend. ** The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is reducing by half (from 50 to 25) the number of permits issued per day to visit the Peekamoose Blue Hole this year in the town of Denning. DEC permits are required to visit this site on weekends and holidays from May 15 – September 13. Catskill Center Stewards are present on weekends. Permits are available as late as one day in advance, but no more than seven days in advance. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
Hike Safe Tip of the Week: Check the Heat Index for your location before going outside and when you’re planning to do any physical exertion. You can download a handy app on your phone to get the most up-to-date heat index information. Heat index is a calculation not only of air temperature but also relative humidity to give you a “felt air temperature.”” Know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, and plan to pack at least 2 to 3 liters of water for a day hike, more if you’re traveling with pets.
As always, bring a mask, even on the trails. While hiking with the people you live with, wearing a mask is not mandatory. However, while on summits, trailheads, points of interest, and even passing others please wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Especially in areas such as parking lots and trailheads, there has been a reduction in people actively wearing masks. The continued use of masks in these areas is incredibly important for the general the health and safety of all in the Catskills.
Graham and Doubletop Mountain Access: From theCatskill 3500 Club. “For permission to hike on Graham or Doubletop, call Bill, the caretaker, at his office number: (845) 586-4099. He will be responding during Monday-Friday business hours. This is a landline, so texts will not work. He will no longer be replying to the cell number originally listed, even if it is a text. Follow the guidance for your region and only ask for permission to hike if travel is appropriate. Please be respectful of these protocols so that we do not lose access to these mountains.”
Recreate Responsibly: An informative and timely new set of guidelines put together by several outdoor organizations. The Catskill Center recommends following the Recreate Responsibly principles and taking precautions before, during, and after your outing to decrease your chance of exposure to COVID-19.
Carry It In, Carry It Out: The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park—please be sure to hike out all of your trash and dispose of it properly!
Weather: Be aware of and prepared for changing weather conditions in the Catskills. Stay current with the National Weather Service Weather Forecast. The NY Mesonet has stations in and just outside of Catskills that provide real time weather data and forecasts. Hudson Valley Weather provides detailed forecasts for the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
Comet Neowise: Viewable now through July 23rd, try to catch a view of this stunning an hour after sundown in a wide open area. We recommend the Catskill Center’s Thorn Preserve as a great viewing location!
In An Emergency: Report backcountry emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers and forest fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-408-5850 or call 911.
The Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center (CVC) hosts a weather station in the MesoWest Network. Check the current weather conditions. The Center is located at 5096 Route 28 in Mt Tremper, NY. The Visitor Center is currently open for window service information and brochures and trails are open. Please remember to socially distance when visiting the CVC service window by giving staff 6 feet minimum distance and wearing a face mask. Please be aware that service may be refused without a mask.