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 a classic summer weekend filled with sun, rain, and thunderstorms primarily around midday and afternoons. Hike early, and stay off mountaintops during any storm rolling in this weekend as thunder and lightning storms can be dangerous in the mountains.
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. The thunderstorms over the weekend may lead to flash flooding of streams and crossings, and of course stay off mountaintops and open spaces during storms this weekend. Be aware of critical closures of Catskill Park destinations. Full list below.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, a chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 82. East wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Friday night, showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 66. East wind 3 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible. Saturday, showers likely, with thunderstorms also possible after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Saturday night, a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Sunday, a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 87. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Sunday night, partly cloudy, with a low around 63. (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 email@example.com:
- Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23a is closed. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls have been reopened.
- 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 a limited schedule this weekend, all other fire tower cabs are closed presently.
- The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however starting Saturday, July 4th window service will be available for visitor information. Phone calls will be answered Mondays-Saturdays from 9-4. 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.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: 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 – October 15. 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: Bears are active this time of year. For those heading out for an overnight backpacking trip or primitive camping experience be prepared for proper food storage at night. While primitive camping it is best to store food and smell-able items (toothpaste, deodorant, candy, powder drink mix, throat lozenges, etc.) in your vehicle. For backpacking trips store food and smell-able items in a bear canister.
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.
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.