Weekend of March 3
Another potential winter snow storm may hit the Catskills this weekend. We’ll see cloudy skies and up to a foot of snow in some areas. Trails will be snow-covered with greater accumulation at higher elevations. Friday morning brings clouds and snow flurries with a high of 39F. Snow will continue through Friday evening, with 8-12 inches expected. Occasional snow showers Saturday could add another inch or so with temperatures near 40F. We’ll see snow flurries Sunday with temperatures also near 40F. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 20s. 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.
Trail Conditions: This week’s trail conditions are sponsored by Ackerly & Hubbell Appraisal Corp. Expect trails to be snow-covered with greater snow and ice coverage at higher elevations. Friday morning will be cloudy with snow showers developing in the afternoon. There is a potential winter storm arriving Friday evening, with 8-12 inches of snow expected. Saturday will be cloudy with snow flurries in the morning. Snow showers will develop in the afternoon. Sunday will be mostly cloudy with a few snow showers possible. Overnight temperatures will be in the upper 20s. 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 6:29 am and sunset is at 5:49 pm. We’ll see a Waxing 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 showers developing in the afternoon. High 39F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 70%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Friday night: Watching a potential winter storm. Snow likely. Low 29F. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 100%. 8 to 12 inches of snow expected. Saturday: Watching a potential winter storm. Rain and snow in the morning will become intermittent in the afternoon. High 38F. Winds light and variable. Chance of precipitation 90%. About one inch of snow expected. Saturday night: Mainly cloudy with snow showers around before midnight. Low 27F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 40%. Sunday: Mostly cloudy skies. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 41F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Sunday night: Partly cloudy skies. Low 26F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Stay safe. Aside from wearing the proper clothing and carrying a backpack full of essential gear and supplies, there are a variety of winter hiking safety tips you should be aware of:
- Go with a friend or friends. If someone in your group is an experienced winter hiker, then they’ll have beneficial advice to share to keep everyone safe.
- Make sure someone knows you’ve gone hiking. Cell phone service is limited outdoors, especially in the mountains, so it’s important to plan out where and when you plan to hike.
- If you know the snow will be deep, wear snowshoes or cross-country skis to make traveling easier, reduce the chance of injuries, and prevent post-holing (deep footprints in the snow).
- Bring or wear crampons or other traction devices on your snow or hiking boots so you don’t slip on icy areas.
- Be wary of areas with ice and sites where avalanches have occurred in the past. Again, this is where going with an experienced hiker is a wise idea.
- The cold air might feel refreshing, but it’s imperative to eat and stay hydrated, warm, and dry. This will help you prevent getting hypothermia (a medical emergency when your body temperature is below normal).
- It takes a lot more energy to travel through snow, so you’ll want to rest often.
- If your skin turns red and feels very cold, then you should find a way to get warm, even if it means ending your winter hiking trip. This is a sign of frostnip, the first stage of frostbite, which is an injury caused by freezing. It is common on fingers, toes, the nose, ears, cheeks, and chin.
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.
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.
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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