Weekend of February 24
Winter is making itself known in the Catskills. We’ll see mostly cloudy skies and snow-covered trails this weekend, with greater accumulation at higher elevations. Friday brings gusty winds and dropping temperatures, starting at 32 degrees in the morning and dropping to 20 degrees by the afternoon. Wind gusts from 20-30 mph are expected. Saturday will be in the mid 20s, with occasional snow showers. We’ll see a few flurries Sunday with a high of 40. Overnight temperatures will be in the teens. Stay dry, dress in layers, and pack traction aids for your next hiking adventure. You’ll find microspikes, snowshoes, and trekking poles for rent at the Catskills Visitor Center. We also have microspikes for sale. If you are new to winter hiking, start with an easy trail, less than two miles long. You want to be close to the trailhead and your car. It’s important to do short trips to figure out what gear works best for your hiking abilities.
Trail Conditions: Expect trails to be snow covered and wet with greater snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. Friday morning will start at 32 degrees, then drop down to 20 degrees by the early afternoon. Wind gusts up to 30 mph are expected. Saturday will be cloudy with snow showers developing in the afternoon. Sunday we’ll see mostly cloudy skies with a few snow showers possible. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid-teens. 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.
Sunrise is at 6:40 am and sunset is at 5:40 pm. We’ll see a Waxing Crescent moon this weekend, if the clouds let us. Always bring a headlamp or flashlight with you in case your hike takes longer than planned, and never rely solely on your phone flashlight.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday: Partly cloudy skies with gusty winds. Morning high of 32F with temperatures falling to near 20F. Winds NW at 20 to 30 mph. Friday night: A few clouds. Low 11F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Saturday: Cloudy with snow showers developing during the afternoon. High 27F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Saturday night: A few clouds. Low 17F. Winds light and variable. Sunday: Mostly cloudy. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 41F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: A few clouds. Low 18F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Take time to listen. When hiking outdoors, let nature do all the talking. Be respectful of both nature and other hikers by keeping noise from electronic devices at a minimum. Not only will other visitors appreciate the peace and quiet, but so will wildlife. Many wildlife species rely on natural sounds for communication purposes, and disrupting those sounds can hurt their chances of survival.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC’s) Annual Spring Seedling Sale is open through May 12. Teachers can apply online for the School Seedling Program until March 31 for free trees or shrubs to plant with their classes.
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:
- 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: 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.
Most Recent Trail Update | NYSDEC Catskill Backcountry Info | CVC Online Gift Shop
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