Weekend of March 17
Considerable cloudiness and rain showers will start the weekend for the Catskills. Temperatures will be in the mid 40s with rain expected into Friday night. The sun may peek through the clouds at times on Saturday with a high of 42 degrees. Sunday will be 30 degrees and windy, with gusts up to 20 mph expected. Overnight temperatures will be near 20 degrees. 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. If you’re hiking with a dog, regularly check their paws for icing and that they are staying adequately hydrated and warm.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Sidney Federal Credit Union. Expect trails to be wet and muddy from Friday’s rain showers with snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. You’ll see 3+ feet of snow at higher elevations, including the mountaintop areas of the northern Catskills (Hunter, Tannersville and Windham). We’ll see cloudy skies and rain with temperatures reaching 45F. It will rain overnight with temperatures near 20F. Saturday will be 42F and cloudy early with the sun making an appearance towards the afternoon. Wind gusts up to 20 mph expected. Saturday night will be cloudy and cold with a high of 18 degrees. Sunday will be partly cloudy with a high of 30 degrees. Overnight temperatures will be in the near 20F. 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. Walk directly through mud puddles to prevent trail widening and damaging fragile plants.
Sunrise is at 7:05 am and sunset is at 7:05 pm. We’ll see a Waning Crescent 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 in the morning, then off and on rain showers during the afternoon hours. High 46F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Friday night: Rain showers early with clearing later at night. Low 29F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 42F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Saturday night: A few clouds. Low 19F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Sunday: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High near 30F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Sunday night: Mostly clear skies. Low 18F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Keep batteries warm. Batteries in most electronics lose effectiveness in cooler temperatures. Pack batteries and electronics in interior pockets so body heat can keep them warm. It is recommended to carry paper maps and a compass (and know how to use them) in the event a navigation device malfunctions.
Annual Burn ban in effect from March 16 through May 14. Open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in NYS. Since the spring burn ban was implemented in 2009, the number of wildfires has decreased by more than 40%. Click here for more information.
To report a wildfire, call 1-833-NYS-RANGERS (1-833-697-7264) or contact a forest ranger in your area.
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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