Weekend of February 3
The Catskills will see colder temperatures this weekend with a wind chill watch in effect until Saturday afternoon. Wind chills as low as 25-40 degrees below zero are possible. Wind chills this low are dangerous and could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes. Use caution. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with a high in the low 40s. Trails will be snow covered and icy. You’ll see greater snow accumulation at higher elevations. Snow depths can look deceiving, and snow can be a lot deeper once you are off trail. Early mornings are often the coldest part of the day, so you’ll be most likely to encounter ice. Later in the afternoon snow might become slushy, so wearing waterproof boots is extra important. Stick to the trail. Stay dry, dress in layers, and pack traction aids. Microspikes, snowshoes, and trekking poles are available for sale or rental at the Catskills Visitor Center.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Wayside Cider. You can expect intermittent snow-covered trails this weekend with ice accumulation in the valleys and greater snow coverage at higher elevations. Temperatures will be bitterly cold through Saturday afternoon. Sunday will be in the low 40s and a much safer day to enjoy the outdoors. Prepare for your hike with proper boots, ankle gaiters, and trekking poles to ensure easy travel. It is recommended to pack snowshoes and traction devices. Getting to a trailhead for a winter hike can sometimes be a challenge. Many forest and access roads are closed during the winter, so it’s important to research the area before planning your trip.
Sunrise is at 7:07 am and sunset is at 5:14 pm. This weekend brings a Full 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: Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 12F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible. Friday night: Bitterly cold. Partly cloudy. Low -2F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 21F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy skies in the evening, then becoming cloudy overnight. Low 14F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Sunday: Mostly cloudy. High 43F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: Partly cloudy early with increasing clouds overnight. Low 31F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Pack freeze–resistant snacks. Crackers, nuts, and solid chocolate work well.
Free Fishing Days: NYSDEC is offering free Fishing Days Feb 18-19, for President’s Day weekend. Residents and non-residents who are 16 and older can participate in fresh water fishing without a license. Even though a license is not needed, all other fishing regulations apply.
Hike Smart by packing the proper gear. See the NYS DEC’s recommended packing list (PDF) and safety tips.
Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2023: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) 2023 Fire Tower Challenge is under way and runs through Dec 31, 2023. Hikers can earn a prize and a certificate for climbing 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). Stewardship of the fire towers is a partnership with the Catskill Center. Learn more by visiting the Catskill Fire Tower Project website and the DEC’s Fire Tower Challenge website.
Recreate Responsibly: There is 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.
Trail Register Information: (the books found inside metal boxes at the start of all hiking trails) The NYSDEC encourages all visitors to continue to sign in and out at trail registers. These registers 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 Nov 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: Public access to the two peaks has 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 club membership..
Peekamoose Blue Hole: Permits are not required at this time, as it is off-season. Permits are required every day of 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 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: email@example.com, 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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