Weekend of February 17

Last updated: February 16, 2023

Weekend of February 17

We’ll see some light rain to start off the weekend in the Catskills with temperatures Friday nearing 50 degrees. Don’t break out the shorts just yet, as temperatures plummet in the afternoon to around 30. The sun will be front and center Saturday, with temperatures in the low 40s. Sunday will bring mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 50. Trails will be wet in some areas, with snow and ice at higher elevations. Stay dry, dress in layers, and pack traction aids. You’ll find microspikes, snowshoes, and trekking poles for rent at the Catskills Visitor Center.  We also have microspikes for sale. 

Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Otto & Friends. Expect trails to be muddy in some areas where ice has melted with snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. Friday morning’s 50-degree start will drop rapidly to 30 degrees by the afternoon. Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high of 42 degrees. Sunday we’ll see mostly cloudy skies with a high close to 50 degrees. Overnight temperatures will range from 17 to 33 degrees. Walk directly through mud puddles to prevent trail widening and damage to fragile plants. 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. Don’t forget to bring a whistle, a first aid kit, and to share your hiking plans with a friend who will then know when to expect your safe return.

Sunrise is at 6:50 am and sunset is at 5:31 pm. There is a Waning Crescent moon this weekend. Always bring a headlamp or flashlight with you in case your hike takes longer than you’d planned, and never rely solely on your phone flashlight. 

Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday: Rain showers early with some sunshine later in the day. Morning high of 52F with temperatures falling sharply to near freezing. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Friday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 17F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Saturday: Mainly sunny. High 42F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy in the evening with more clouds for later at night. Low 27F. Winds light and variable. Sunday: Mainly cloudy. High 47F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Sunday night: Considerable cloudiness. Low 31F. Winds light and variable.

Source: Weather.com

THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP:  Be well informed of any possible hazards while hiking. Being aware of all the hazards beforehand will help you deal with any situation you might encounter while hiking in snow. Some trails are known to be steep, while others experience avalanches regularly. This, plus unpredictable storms can impact the trail’s path and terrain. It is best to avoid such complications by:

  • Checking the weather, up until the moment you are walking out the door.
  • Ensure you are aware of the area. 
  • Learn how to properly use a map and compass before you go on your hike.

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.

DEC’s Annual Spring Seedling Sale is open through May 12, 2023. Teachers can apply online for the School Seedling Program until March 31, 2023 for free trees or shrubs to plant with their class.

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 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:

Temporary Closures: 

511NY road closure map (updated daily)

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: info@catskillcenter.org, or call us at (845) 688-3369. The Center’s online store carries trail maps, trail guides, and more for purchase.

Most Recent Trail Update | NYSDEC Catskill Backcountry Info | CVC Online Gift Shop

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