Weekend of December 30
Overcast skies with occasional rain showers are expected this weekend for the Catskills. Temperatures will be near 50F. Overnight temperatures will be near 40F. Safety and preparedness are extremely important no matter your physical ability or destination. Properly preparing for winter conditions is essential for a more enjoyable and safer experience. Pack microspikes or crampons to be ready for icy and snowy trail conditions. Microspikes, snowshoes, and trekking poles are available for sale or rental at the Catskills Visitor Center.
Trail Conditions: Trail conditions will be varied this weekend in the Catskills. Expect muddy, snowy, and icy conditions depending on the elevation of your hike. Higher elevations including mountain tops will have snow and ice. You can expect clouds and rain with temperatures near 50F. Be sure to stick to trails and walk directly through mud puddles to reduce trail-widening impacts. Prepare for your hike with proper boots, ankle gaiters, and trekking poles to ensure easy travel through the middle of muddy sections. It is recommended to pack snowshoes and traction devices. Conditions can abruptly turn snowy, wet, windy, or chilly in the backcountry or an injury can result in an unplanned night out, so carry extra clothes and gear. Dressing in layers and having extra dry, warm clothes in your backpack is one of the essentials to safe winter hiking. Know your skill level and physical capabilities; choose trails within your or your group’s ability. Remember it takes more effort and energy to move through snow.
Sunrise is at 7:24 am and sunset is at 4:34 pm. This weekend brings a Waxing Gibbous moon. Always bring a headlamp or flashlight with you and never rely solely on your phone flashlight.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 54F. Winds light and variable. Friday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low around 40F. Winds light and variable. Saturday: Cloudy with occasional rain in the afternoon. High 47F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 90%. Saturday night: Cloudy with periods of rain. Low around 40F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. Sunday: Mostly cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. High 42F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 31F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Use snowshoes or skis in deep snow to reduce injuries and ease travel. Their use also prevents “post-holing” ⸻leaving deep footprints in the snow making trails more difficult and hazardous for others to use. (The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness when snow depths exceed 8 inches.)
What To Pack:
- Day pack large enough to carry your gear
- Water and high energy snacks
- First aid kit
- Trail map and compass or GPS unit
- Extra clothing, including extra hat, socks, and mittens
- Plastic whistle (avoid metal, which can freeze)
- Microspikes or crampons for icy conditions
- Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries
- Pocket knife
- Trekking poles
- Bivy sack, space blanket, and heavy-duty garbage bags for emergency shelter
- Fire starter kit: matches in waterproof container and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly
Hike Smart by packing the proper gear. See the DEC’s recommended packing list (PDF) and safety tips.
First Day Hikes: Celebrate the new year in the outdoors with a First Day Hike at one of the many events across the state and nation. To learn more, visit the DEC’s website or visit the Catskills Visitor Center for more information on the two First Day Hikes for which we’ll be a part.
Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022: There’s still time to complete the Catskill Fire Tower Challenge for 2022! The challenge that began Jan. 1 runs through December 31, 2022, and hikers can earn a prize and a certificate for completing all six of the fire towers in the Catskill Park: Overlook, Red Hill, Balsam Lake, Mount Tremper, Hunter, and the Upper Esopus (at the Catskills Visitor Center. Learn more by visiting the Catskill Fire Tower Project website and the DEC’s Fire Tower Challenge website.
Recreate Responsibly: An informative 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.
Hunting Season Notices: Muzzleloading Deer Season and Late Bow Hunting is in effect from December 26 through Jan 1. For more information, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/huntseason22.pdf
Holiday Deer Hunt is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader season from December 26 – January 1 in the Southern Zone. Hunters and other recreationists are encouraged to Share the Snow.
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.
Seasonal Roads and Trailhead Closures: The following roads are seasonal roads that are not maintained during winter months and are generally closed from November to April 15 of each year:
- Platte Clove Road – Indian Head Wilderness (Town of Hunter) – closed November 1 to April 15
- Roaring Kill Road – Indian Head Wilderness (Town of Hunter)
- Big Hollow Road – Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness (Town of Windham)
- Russell Brook Road – Delaware Wild Forest (Town of Colchester)
- Mary Smith Road – Delaware Wild Forest (Town of Colchester)
- Ploutz Road – Dry Brook Wild Forest (Town of Middletown)
- Molly Smith Trailhead on Route 23A – Kaaterskill Wild Forest (Town of Hunter)
DEC recommends visitors access Kaaterskill Falls by parking at the Laurel House Road, Schutt Road, or South Lake parking areas.
511NY road closure map (updated daily)
- Catskills Trail Conditions Facebook Group (updated regularly by locals and visitors to the area)
- Catskills 3500′ Club Facebook homepage with updates
- Ulster County Road Closures
Doubletop and Graham Access: As of January 2021, public access to the two peaks ended. We at the Catskill Center are thankful to the landowners who have made their property accessible to hikers for many years and respect their decision. The Catskill 3500′ Club has decided that the remaining 33 peaks will make up the collection of Catskill mountains to be hiked for membership of the club.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: Permits are not required at this time, as it is off-season. Permits are required every day during the week to access the entirety of the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor during the permit season. This includes day hike access to Peekamoose and Table Mountains, camping, access to the Blue Hole, and Buttermilk Falls. DEC permits are required to visit this site from May 15 – Sept 15. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
Carry In, Carry Out: The Catskill Park is a carry in, carry out park — please be sure to hike out with all of your trash and dispose of it properly! Note that most trails will not have any garbage receptacles. Always be prepared to take any garbage back in your car with you.
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 open from 9:30 am-4 pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from December through March. Trails open from dawn to dusk. Email us at the Catskills Visitor Center: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (845) 688-3369. The Center’s online store carries trail maps, trail guides, and more for purchase.
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