It might just be safe to say winter is over! With downright summer temperatures at the beginning of this weekend, we can all officially look forward to the warm hiking months, and muddy trails.
This week’s Trail Conditions are brought to you by RXR Sports This week’s trials are going to be muddy. There are some scattered showers expected Thursday night and Saturday during the day. Between the extra rain we’ve had lately and the snowmelt, trails will likely be quite muddy and even flooded in some sections. Please be sure and use waterproof boots and gaiters to help aid with walking in the middle of the trail. Walking around muddy sections can damage the ecology and add to greater erosion of the trail creating a wider path. Trails are extra delicate this time of year as roots and plants have not developed yet. Be sure and bring a few extra layers as it will likely be cooler at higher elevations. It should also be noted that any stream crossing will be more challenging due to higher water levels this time of year.
Sunrise is at 6:18 am and sunset at 7:36 pm. Always remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight when you head out and never rely solely on phone flashlights. Temperatures will drop rapidly as the sun begins to sets.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday: Rain. High near 49. Southeast wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible. Thursday NIght: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 1am, then showers likely, mainly between 1am and 2am. Low around 41. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming light and variable. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible. Friday: A chance of showers before 10am, then scattered showers after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. Northwest wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Friday Night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 39. South wind 6 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Saturday: Showers likely, mainly after 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 49. Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 34. (Source: National Weather Service.gov)
This week’s hiking tip:
-Wet trails can be easily damaged
Wet, muddy trails are more prone to erosion, as is the soil surrounding our trails. Mud season hiking requires walking in the center of the treadway and/or stepping on our many Catskill rocks wherever possible. This preserves both the trail and your footwear.
If you are tempted to walk around a wet area, remember that you are damaging plants and loosening soil, which will result in erosion and natural resource damage.
For more spring and mud season hiking tips, please visit the Catskills Visitor Center’s website here.
Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022: the DEC has announced the return of the Catskill Fire Tower Challenge for 2022! Starting on January 1st, 2022, and going through December 31st, 2022, hikers can earn a prize and a certificate for completing all six of the fire towers in the Catskill Park: Overlook, Red Hill, Balsam Lake, Mount Tremper, Hunter, and the Upper Esopus. Learn more by visiting the Catskill Fire Tower Project website and the DEC’s Fire Tower Challenge website.
Catskills Visitor Center (CVC): in Mt. Tremper, NY is open from 9:30-4:00 pm every day except Tuesday including newly installed exhibits, maps, information, and a gift shop. A fire tower is located on the property as well as nature trails. Call the Visitor Center at 845-688-3369 or email email@example.com. Visitor Center trails are open from dawn to dusk.
DEC Notices: A burn ban is in effect from March 16 through May 14. Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed. Small cooking fires are allowed, but only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned. Never leave any fire unattended.
Hunting Season Notices: Regular hunting season has ended, however, some small game is still in season. Please review the DEC hunting season map for specific information.
Fishing Season Notices:
- From October 16th to March 31st, trout fishing is permitted for catch and release only. Valid fishing licenses and artificial lures are required.
- From April 1st to October 15th, trout fishing is permitted for harvesting with a valid fishing license. Three fish are allowed per day, with one over 12″.
Trail Register Information: (the books found inside metal boxes at the start of all hiking trails): The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 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 are seasonal roads and are not maintained during winter months and are generally closed from November to April 15th of each year:
- Platte Clove Road – Indian Head Wilderness (Town of Hunter) – closed November 1st to April 15th
- 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.
Temporary Closures: The following destinations are closed in the Catskills. For any information or clarification, please feel free to call (845) 688-3369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org:
– DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more (link to: the DEC’s website). As of June 11, the DEC resumed issuing permits for groups of fewer than 10 people who would like to stay for more than three nights at one location on state lands. DEC is also temporarily restricting lean-to use to members of a single household at a time.
- 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: As of Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 public access to the two peaks, Doubletop and Graham Mountain ended. We at 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.
Carry It In, Carry It Out: The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park—please be sure to hike out 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-4:00 pm Trails open from dawn to dusk. The CVC does require masks upon entry to the building and please remember to socially distance when visiting the trails by giving other visitors 6 feet minimum distance and wearing a mask when you meet others.
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