Weekend of March 10
The Catskills will see snow this weekend with up to 5 inches expected Friday night into Saturday morning. Expect mostly cloudy skies with temperatures near 40 degrees throughout the weekend. Overnight temperatures will be in the 20s. Sunday evening could bring more snow, with 1-3 inches expected. Be safe. 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. It is recommended to pack the 10 essentials (a collection of first aid and emergency items) on your hiking adventures. The items include navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first aid supplies, fire, repair kit/tools, nutrition, hydration, and emergency shelter.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room. Expect trails to be snow-covered with greater snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. Some areas may be muddy. Friday will be near 40 degrees and cloudy. We’ll see snow overnight with temperatures in the mid 20s. Snow accumulations of 3-5 inches expected. Saturday will be cloudy with snow showers in the morning. Saturday night will be cold with a high of 19 degrees. Sunday will be partly cloudy with a high of 41 degrees. Overnight temperatures will be in the mid 20s with 1-3 inches of snow expected. 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 6:17 am and sunset is at 5:57 pm. We’ll see a Waning Gibbous moon this weekend. 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: Cloudy. Snow likely in the afternoon. High 38F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Friday night: Periods of snow. Low 29F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 100%. 3 to 5 inches of snow expected. Saturday: Cloudy with snow showers mainly during the morning. High 38F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Saturday night: A few clouds. Low 19F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 41F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Sunday night: Snow showers early will become steadier snow overnight. Low near 30F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 1 to 3 inches of snow expected.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Pack the ten essentials. Packing the ten essentials whenever you step into the backcountry, even on day hikes, is a good habit. The ten essentials are:
- Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
- Headlamp: plus extra batteries
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen. Spending long hours outdoors, even in the winter, can expose you to ultraviolet rays, the cause of sunburn.
- First aid including foot care and insect repellent (as needed), and in winter, hand and toe warmers. Any kit should include treatments for blisters, adhesive bandages of various sizes, several gauze pads, adhesive tape, disinfecting ointment, over-the-counter pain medication, pen and paper. Nitrile gloves should also be included.
- Knife plus a gear repair kit
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
- Shelter: carry some type of emergency shelter to protect you from wind and rain in case you get stranded or injured on the trail. Options include an ultralight tarp, a bivy sack, an emergency space blanket
- Extra food: pack at least an extra day’s worth of food (in case your trip takes longer than expected.
- Extra water: most people need about a half liter per hour during moderate activity in moderate temperatures. You may need to carry more depending on factors like the outside temperature, altitude, level of exertion, or an emergency. You may not feel thirsty in colder temperatures, but it is important to hydrate during your winter hike. Bring a thermos that can keep liquids warm and bring hot water for tea or hot chocolate, or consider heating soup up before leaving home and bringing it along.
- Extra clothes: conditions can abruptly turn wet, windy, or chilly in the backcountry or an injury can result in an unplanned night out, so it’s necessary to carry extra clothes beyond those required for your trip.
2023 Trees for Tribs Buffer in a Bag Program: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC’s) Trees for Tribs Buffer in a Bag program provides free tree and shrub seedlings for organizations and private landowners to create or improve stream buffers on their property. Learn more about the 2023 Buffer in a Bag program, application requirements, and the April 7 deadline on the DEC website.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’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.
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