Weekend of January 6
Partly cloudy skies and rain showers will start off the weekend in the Catskills, turning to mostly cloudy skies and temperatures near 40F. Overnight temperatures will be in the 20s. Trails will be muddy. 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. Streams and lakes can have thin ice and be very dangerous. Keep off the ice. In winter, some trails are not marked or maintained. Route-finding skills are important.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Schwartzberg and Kenyon, PLLC. Trails will be saturated this weekend. We’ll see muddy, snowy, and icy conditions depending on the elevation of your hike. Higher elevations will have snow and ice. Expect clouds and snow flurries with temperatures near 40F. 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. Watch for wildlife. Always keep your distance and practice safe wildlife viewing practices.
Sunrise is at 7:24 am and sunset is at 4:40 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: Rain and snow in the morning will become rain and snow showers in the afternoon. Temps nearly steady in the mid to upper 30s. Winds light and variable. Chance of precipitation 70%. Friday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 27F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Saturday: Cloudy skies. High 34F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Saturday night: A few clouds. Low 21F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Sunday: Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High 36F. Winds light and variable. Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Low 23F. Winds light and variable.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Avoid tight clothing. In cold weather, your blood vessels constrict, which means that blood flow is restricted. Wearing clothes that are tight-fitting can increase your risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid overly tight cuffs on gloves or sleeves, tight waistbands and leggings and tight-fitting hats and headbands.
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) announces the 2023 Fire Tower Challenge. The challenge starts Jan. 1 and runs through December 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). 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.
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 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: 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 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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