April Showers bring May flowers! Looks like things are starting to take a turn out here. While there may be a bit of stubborn ice hanging around at higher elevations, we have officially started to see some green shoots coming through.
This week’s Trail Conditions are brought to you by Eastern Mountian Sports: Expect trails to be wet and muddy. Spring is here and with it comes mud season out on the trails. During these spring months, the trails are particularly delicate, new plant shoots have just started to poke up and their roots have not fully developed, making the area more susceptible to erosion. To help you prepare make sure and bring waterproof boots and gaiters. This will help you navigate these muddy sections by walking in the middle of the trail rather than going around. Some small sections of stubborn snow may be hanging around at higher elevations. We always recommend keeping microspikes in your pack just a little longer in case you need them. The weather is expected to be clear and sunny so get out and enjoy the weekend.
Sunrise is at 5:57 am and sunset at 7:52 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: Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 52. Northwest wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 31. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high near 55. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 34. Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 61. Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 37. Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 69. Sunday Night: A chance of showers after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. Chance of precipitation is 30%. (Source: National Weather Service.gov)
This week’s hiking tip:
-Remember Bear Saftey
Bears are officially out of hibernation, remember to keep trails clean from food scraps and hang your food appropriately or use a bear canister when camping.
Bears in the Catskills come out from hibernation in mid-March. The NYSDEC strongly encourages homeowners to take in bird feeders by then. All trash should also be secured, either in a bear-proof container or indoors where bears can’t access it. For more information on reducing Human-Bear Conflicts visit the DEC’s Website.
For more spring 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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