Please continue to follow recommendations on safety and social distancing from New York State and the CDC. Use your best judgement when traveling and keep alternate plans in mind if you’re visiting a trailhead that happens to be very busy. This weekend is going to feel a bit cooler in the evenings than those dog days of summer we have been experiencing for the last several weeks. Catskill evenings and nights will require some warm layers, do your best to plan ahead while still being prepared for warm days in the sun.
Trail Conditions: With cooler temps in the forecast the Catskills are gearing up for prime hiking season. Fall is a wonderful time to get out on the trails due to fewer rain storms, and cooler evenings for sleeping. The trails themselves will be wet and muddy in small, isolated areas but will overall have grippy damp soil. Watch out for slick rocks, especially in stream crossings. In addition, please be aware of critical closures in the Catskill Park. Full list below.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday night, clear, with a low around 55. Calm wind. Friday, sunny, with a high near 85. Southwest wind 3 to 6 mph. Friday night, mostly clear, with a low around 59. Light northwest wind. Saturday, sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Saturday night, mostly cloudy, with a low around 63. Sunday, a chance of showers after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Sunday night, a chance of showers before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 62. Chance of precipitation is 30%. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
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. It is suggested to choose one person in your group to fill in the register for everyone, consider bringing your own pen or pencil, and bring hand sanitizer to use before and after touching the trail register.
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:
- Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23a is closed. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls have been reopened.
- The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however window service on the side porch is available for visitor information from 10-4, Monday through Saturday. Staff is answering phone calls at 845-688-3369. Visitor Center trails are open.
- 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.
- 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 answer questions. Please continue to follow best practices by wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance.
- NYSDEC Fire Tower trails and staircases in the Catskills (Balsam Lake, Hunter, Overlook, Red Hill, Tremper, Upper Esopus) are reopened to hikers. Use hand sanitizer and wear a mask if you choose to climb a tower. The Hunter Fire Tower cab will be open on weekends staffed by a Catskill Center volunteer, all other fire tower cabs are closed presently.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: ** Permits are already booked for this coming weekend. ** 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
Hike Safe Tip of the Week: With cooler evenings and chilly night time temperatures upon us, it’s important to start preparing for cooler conditions when camping or while on exposed mountain sides and summits. This week’s tip is to pack a lightweight warm jacket (synthetic or down insulated), and a warm hat for hikes and backpacking trips. These extra layers will ensure you stay comfy even when temperatures dip into shivery conditions.
As always, 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 please wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Especially in areas such as parking lots and trailheads, there has been a reduction in people actively wearing masks. The continued use of masks in these areas is incredibly important for the general the health and safety of all in the Catskills.
Graham and Doubletop Mountain Access: From theCatskill 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!
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 currently closed, however 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 mask when you meet others.