Please continue to follow recommendations on safety and social distancing from New York State and the CDC. Use your best judgement when traveling and keep alternate plans in mind if you’re visiting a trailhead that happens to be very busy. This is going to be a very hot and sunny weekend in the Catskills. When out on the trail plan for long hot days, bring plenty of water and electrolytes.
Trail Conditions: Some wet and muddy spots are around on the trails so plan for getting muddy in shaded sections. The thunderstorms throughout the week should keep water sources flowing through the weekend but be prepared with your own water. Be aware of critical closures of Catskill Park destinations. Full list below.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, partly sunny, with a high near 85. North wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable in the morning. Friday night, mostly clear, with a low around 64. Light northwest wind. Saturday, sunny, with a high near 87. Light and variable wind. Saturday night, mostly clear, with a low around 66. Light west wind. Sunday, mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the morning. Sunday night, partly cloudy, with a low around 68. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Trail Register Information: (the books found inside metal boxes at the start of all hiking trails): The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation encourages all visitors to continue to sign in and out at trail registers. These provide important information on trail usage and hiker safety. It is suggested to choose one person in your group to fill in the register for everyone, consider bringing your own pen or pencil, and bring hand sanitizer to use before and after touching the trail register.
Temporary Closures: The following destinations are closed in the Catskills. For any information or clarification, please feel free to call (845) 688-3369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org:
- 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. The Tremper Mountain Fire Tower cab will be open 7 days a week.
Ashokan Quarry Trail: A new trail created by the Catskill Mountain Club and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection with support from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, this 2 mile path is easy to moderate, mostly flat with a short uphill section. Find more information at the CMC’s website: https://catskillmountainclub.org/events/where-to-go/ashokan-quarry-trail/
Peekamoose Blue Hole: ** Permits are already booked for this coming weekend. ** The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is temporarily reducing by half (from 50 to 25) the number of permits issued per day to visit the Peekamoose Blue Hole in the town of Denning. DEC permits are required to visit this site on weekends and holidays from May 15 – September 13. Permits are available as late as one day in advance, but more 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! The Catskills have had an enormous increase in litter. Please help protect the continued access to public lands by cleaning up after yourself and others. The Catskills stewards always have extra trash bags if you feel inclined to help protect Catskill Park gems by cleaning up litter during your visit.
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.
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 building is currently closed, however trails remain open. Please remember to socially distance when visiting the CVC’s trails by giving other visitors 6 feet minimum distance and wearing a mask when you meet others.