As we’re passing the peak of summer heat, temperatures are a little cooler, leading to great hiking and outdoor conditions overall. Pack a rain jacket or a poncho if you’re heading to trails this weekend. Rain is predicted in the afternoon on Friday and all day on Saturday. A sunny, clear day on Sunday. Evening temperatures expected in the 50s and 60s for the weekend. 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.
Catskill Park Trail Conditions: Trails are in good, mostly dry condition right now. Hiking boots are recommended for rocky sections of the trail and occasional wet, muddy sections from recent rain this week. Watch out for slick rocks, especially at stream crossings.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly sunny with a high near 83. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%. Friday night, a chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely after 2 am. Low around 64. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation 60%. Saturday, showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 79. Calm wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Saturday night, showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly before 2am. Low around 59. Chance of precipitation is 80%, some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Sunday, mostly sunny with a high near 75. Sunday night, mostly clear, with a low around 51. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
The Catskills Visitor Center: Staff are available Monday through Saturday to provide resources and information, and to answer any at the service window on the side porch. Gift shop purchases can be made at the service window. Please continue to follow best practices by wearing a face mask when approaching the window. Trails are open, and staff are also available to answer phone calls.
Catskills Fire Towers
- The Hunter Fire Tower is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays, staffed by a Catskill Center volunteer. Balsam Lake Fire Tower and Overlook Fire Tower have a Catskill Center volunteer staffed on weekends and holiday Mondays, staircases are open for climbing. 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
- Red Hill Fire Tower, and the Upper Esopus Fire Tower trails and staircases are reopened to hikers. 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:
- The westernmost portion of the Ashokan Promenade Path, a multi-use recreation area on the south side of the Ashokan Reservor, which sits atop Olivebridge Dam, will be closed Monday through Friday for approximately seven weeks while DEP performs the work. The dam will be closed during the week from late August until early October. That portion of the promenade will re-open each Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. DEP must close Olivebridge Dam because it is too narrow to safely route visitors around the worksite. (source: NYCDEP)
- 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 have been reopened.
- 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.
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.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: ** Permits are already booked for this coming weekend, August 29th and August 30th ** 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
Leave No Trace Hiking Tip of the Week: Protect wildlife by storing food and trash securely. If you’re camping, make sure to use proper storage methods by keeping food and other scented items in your car. If you’re backpacking, prepare with a bear bag or a bear canister to prevent bears and other wildlife from becoming accustomed to us as a source of food. When we keep wildlife wild, it helps them just as much as it helps us.
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 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.
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.