Weekend of December 23rd

Last updated: December 23, 2021

Happy Holidays from all of us at Catskill Center! A chance of light snow is moving through our area for the next couple of days; Thursday and Friday evenings will see a chance of light snow accumulation (up to 1-2 inches depending on location). 

Trail Conditions: Trails will be slick this week with temperatures above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night. Ice is thickening and a light layer of snow is predicted over the next couple of days. For hikes at elevations, walk carefully on ascents and descents, wear hiking boots, gaiters, warm and waterproof layers, and foot traction devices (microspikes or crampons) for stability as well as weather protection. On lower elevation trails, look out for isolated patches of ice and frozen mud. Staying on the centerline of a trail as much as possible will eliminate the risks of trail widening and erosion. A warm beverage in a thermos is a great extra for hiking as we head into the winter! Sunrise this weekend is 7:18 am, sunset is 4:33 pm.

Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday Night, snow likely, mainly after midnight. Mostly cloudy with a low around 25. Chance of precipitation 70%. New snow accumulation of around an inch is possible. Friday, a chance of snow, mainly before 9am. Partly sunny with a high near 42. Chance of precipitation is 50%.  Friday night, snow likely, mainly after 10pm. Low around 29. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Saturday, Christmas Day, snow, mixed with rain before 7am then a chance of rain. High near 44. Light southwest wind. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Saturday night, a chance of rain before 4am, then a chance of rain and snow. Low around 35. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Sunday, a 30% chance of snow before 7am. Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Sunday night, mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. (Source: National Weather Service.gov)

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022: Just announced this week by the DEC, the Catskill Fire Tower Challenge will be coming back in 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.

The 2022 Catskill Fire Tower Challenge, image courtesy of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Catskills Visitor Center (CVC) Holiday Hours: The CVC will be closed in observance of the holiday on Friday, December 24th and Saturday, December 25th and will reopen on Sunday, December 26th. The CVC is located in Mt. Tremper, NY and is open from 9:30-4pm every day except Tuesday. Call the Visitor Center at 845-688-3369 or email info@catskillcenter.org. Visitor Center trails are open from dawn to dusk.

First Day Hikes: Happening throughout New York State on January 1st 2022, the First Day Hikes are organized in partnership between NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. All registrants for the First Day Hikes receive a free gift. For the full list of hikes, please visit NYS Parks’ website here. The Catskills Visitor Center’s Fire Tower will be open all day on January 1st from 9:30 am to 4 pm. Pre-register by calling the Catskills Visitor Center at 845-688-3369 to receive a gift and to be entered into two prize drawings!

Hunting Season Notices: Hunting season has mostly ended for 2021. Please review the DEC hunting season map for specific information.

  1. Daily hunting hours for deer and bear extended to 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
  2. Hunters must wear a fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest when hunting deer or bear with a firearm.
  3. Antlerless harvest allowed again during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J.
  4. Bear season in the Adirondacks is simplified by extending the regular season to cover the full hunting period.
  5. 12- and 13-year old hunters may hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow in counties that passed a local law to participate in the opportunity. See Junior Big Game Hunting for a map of participating counties.
  6. Holiday Deer Hunt is an extension of the late bow and muzzleloader season from December 26 – January 1 in the Southern Zone.

Fishing Season Notices: 

  1. From October 16th to March 31st, trout fishing is permitted for catch and release only. Valid fishing licenses and artificial lures are required.
  2. 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:

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 info@catskillcenter.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.

Winter Hiking Tips:

– Trekking poles, boots, and traction devices are useful for traction and stability. Gaiters keep dirt, snow and ticks out of your boots. Finish each hike or excursion outdoors with a thorough tick check if the temperature is above 32 degrees F.

– Winter brings with it slick and hard to see trails. Be prepared to take your time on these trails to avoid personal injury.

– Keep a close eye and ear to encroaching weather and morning frost and prepare by bringing rain gear and warm layers on all hikes. Consider bringing a water filter on longer hikes.

– Temperatures are frequently below freezing overnight. Bringing a full clothing layering system with you in your pack is essential for day hikes and overnight hikes. This includes non-cotton layers, warm hat, gloves, and a “puffy” – an insulated jacket that’s easy to take on and off throughout your hike. Try to stay dry as much as possible as layers that are wet can bring down your temperature. Changing into dry layers during your hike can help keep you warm.

– For more cold weather hiking tips as well as suggestions of places to rent or purchase foot traction devices as well as snowshoes, please visit the Catskills Visitor Center’s website here.

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.

Email us at the Catskills Visitor Center: info@catskillcenter.org, or call us at (845) 688-3369.

The Center’s online store carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.

Most Recent Trail Update | NYSDEC Catskill Backcountry Info | CVC Online Gift Shop

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