Weekend of March 24
The Catskills will see overcast skies with rain and snow showers for the first weekend of spring. Temperatures this weekend will range from 34-50 degrees. We’ll see clouds with some sun breaking through occasionally. Friday’s temperature will be in the mid 40s. Saturday will be colder, with a high of 34 degrees with rain and snow showers expected. Sunday will be 49 degrees. 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. Trails are wet, muddy, or even icy in early spring; wear waterproof footwear, gaiters, and (at least pack) crampons.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Stewart’s Shops. Expect trails to be muddy from Thursday’s rain showers with more rain (and snow) on the way Saturday. We’ll see snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. Friday will be overcast with a high of 46F. Winds 5-10 mph. Friday night will be 27F with winds light and variable. Saturday will be cloudy with a mix of rain and snow showers and a high of 34F. An inch of snow and ice accumulation expected. Winds 10-15 mph. Saturday night will be cloudy with rain showers and a low of 33F. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. Sunday will start out mostly cloudy then turn sunny in the afternoon with a high of 49F. Winds 10-20 mph expected. Sunday night will be cloudy with a low of 27F. 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 6:53 am and sunset is at 7:13 pm. We’ll see a Waxing 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: Mostly cloudy skies. High 46F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy. Some mixed winter precipitation possible. Low 27F. Winds light and variable. Saturday: A wintry mix early. Precipitation will change to a mixture of rain and freezing rain for the afternoon. High 34F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%. About an inch of snow expected. Saturday night: Rain ending early. Remaining cloudy. Low 33F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Sunday: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally sunny. High 49F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Low 27F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Use traction aids. As snow next to trails melts, compacted ice in the center creates “monorails.” Use crampons and other traction devices for walking directly on the monorail to avoid post-holing in trailside snow or trampling vegetation.
Annual Burn ban in effect 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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