A mild weekend ahead with a small chance of showers on Sunday. Streams and water sources should be running from recent rain and tropical storm Isaias. Be as mindful as possible of other hikers by wearing a face mask when close to other parties, using hand sanitizer, and equipping yourself before a hike with all of the supplies and knowledge that you need to stay safe and prepared.
Trail Conditions: Trails are overall in good condition right now. Be aware you may see large, fallen branches on the trail from the tropical storm last week. Be careful when walking over any blowdown on trails. Bring a pair of hiking shoes with you for rocky terrain or areas of mud. Water sources and springs on trails all should be running, make sure to filter any water for drinking. Read on for recent openings and current closures.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, mostly sunny, with a high near 84. Friday night, partly cloudy with a low around 60. Saturday, mostly sunny with a high near 80. Saturday night, a small chance (20%) of showers after 2am. Low around 60. Sunday, a chance of showers before 2pm. Mostly cloudy with a high near 75. Sunday night, a chance of showers with a low around 61. Chance of precipitation on Sunday: 40%. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Catskills Fire Towers Update:
- This Saturday, August 15th from 10-3, the Catskills Visitor Center’s Fire Tower, the Upper Esopus will be open for exploring the top cab. Only one party at a time, please, and a maximum of 6 people at a time. Please bring a face covering to wear and hand sanitizer. A Catskill Center volunteer will be present at the bottom to answer questions about the tower and the region, and to provide hand sanitizer if needed.
- The Hunter Fire Tower and Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower are now open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays, staffed by a Catskill Center volunteer. The Tremper Mountain Fire Tower cab is now open for visitors to explore on their own 7 days a week, one household at a time. Please use hand sanitizer and wear a face mask if you choose to climb any of the fire towers. For more information, and for information on COVID -19 safety at the towers, please visit the Catskill Center’s news site: http://www.catskillcenter.org/news
- Overlook Mountain Fire Tower, Red Hill Fire Tower, and the Upper Esopus Fire Tower trails and staircases are reopened to hikers. The top cabs are currently closed. Please use hand sanitizer and wear a face mask if you choose to climb any of the fire towers.
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 email@example.com:
- Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23A is closed. There is no parking permitted on Route 23A. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls (from the Mountain Top Historical Society for example) are open.
- DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more. 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.
- A small section of Route 212 in Mt. Tremper is currently closed for road work until September 4th, with only local traffic permitted for landowners on that section of Route 212. See picture for a map of the closure (source: Phoenicia Library and the NYDOT)
- A service window is available at the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt Tremper, NY. Visitor Center staff is available Monday-Saturday to provide resources and information, and to answer any questions. Please continue to follow best practices by wearing a face mask when approaching the window.
- This Saturday, August 15th from 10-3, the Catskills Visitor Center’s Fire Tower, the Upper Esopus will be open for exploring the top cab. Only one party at a time, please, and a maximum of 6 people at a time. Please bring a face covering to wear and hand sanitizer. A Catskill Center volunteer will be present at the bottom to answer questions and to provide hand sanitizer if needed.
- The Shavertown Trail in Andes, NY has reopened with improvements by the Catskill Mountain Club (CMC) and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Peekamoose Blue Hole: *** Permits are already booked for this coming weekend, August 15th and August 16th *** The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is temporarily reducing by half (from 50 to 25) the number of permits issued per day to visit the Peekamoose Blue Hole in the town of Denning. DEC permits are required to visit this site on weekends and holidays from May 15 – September 13. Permits are available as late as one day in advance, but more no more than seven days in advance. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
Hunter, NY and Kaaterskill Clove (Route 23A) Update: Beginning on the weekend of August 8th, The Town of Hunter will be operating a Vehicle impound Lot located at 5748, Route 23A, Tannersville NY (Town Hall). Any illegally parked vehicle will be ticketed and then towed to the Town Hall Impound Lot which will be manned by a Town of Hunter Police Officer until 9pm.
Catskills Stewards Tip of the Week: Don’t forget to do a tick check! Scout yourself each day after any time spent outdoors or near grassy areas. Remove it properly if you find one on you, TickCheck.org has more information and resources here.
As always, please bring a mask, even on the trails. While hiking with the people you live with wearing a mask is not mandatory. However, while on summits, trailheads, points of interest, and even passing others in parking lots, please wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. There has been a reduction in people actively wearing masks at trailheads and parking areas. The continued use of masks in these areas is incredibly important for the general health and safety of all in the Catskills.
Graham and Doubletop Mountain Access: From the Catskill 3500 Club. “For permission to hike on Graham or Doubletop, call Bill, the caretaker, at his office number: (845) 586-4099. He will be responding during Monday-Friday business hours. This is a landline, so texts will not work. He will no longer be replying to the cell number originally listed, even if it is a text. Follow the guidance for your region and only ask for permission to hike if travel is appropriate. Please be respectful of these protocols so that we do not lose access to these mountains.”
Recreate Responsibly: An informative and timely 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 to decrease your chance of exposure to COVID-19.
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! The Catskills have had an enormous increase in litter. Please help protect the continued access to public lands by cleaning up after yourself and others. The Catskills stewards always have extra trash bags if you feel inclined to help protect Catskill Park gems by cleaning up litter during your visit.
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 has a service window 6 days a week for information, and all trails remain open. Please remember to socially distance when visiting the CVC’s trails by giving other visitors 6 feet minimum distance and wearing a face mask when you meet with others.
Email us at the Catskills Visitor Center: firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 845-688-3369, or visit our service window in person Monday-Saturday from 10-3.
The Visitor Center’s store carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.