The Catskills saw a light dusting of snow on Christmas Eve last week, and rain showers in the last few days. A warm weekend is predicted for January 1st and January 2nd with highs in the 40s and 50s, a low of 41 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. Rain is in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday. Waterproof and warm noncotton layers are important to have to stay dry, and to maintain body temperature. Hand and foot warmers are a nice hiking extra to have now throughout the winter. Have a safe and healthy New Year!
Trail Conditions: Recent rain and snow showers as well as warmer daytime temperatures will contribute to a mixture of conditions on trails. Expect to see some occasional larger puddles, patches of mud, and sections of ice. Wearing waterproof hiking shoes will help to keep your feet warm and dry. It’s a good idea to have microspikes or another foot traction device in your backpack now throughout the winter in case of icy sections of trail. Staying on the centerline of a trail as much as possible will eliminate the risks of trail widening and erosion. Sunrise this weekend is 7:20 am, sunset is 4:39 pm.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday night, a chance of rain before 1am. Low around 37. Chance of precipitation 40%. Friday, a slight chance of rain before 11am. High near 49. Chance of precipitation 20%. Friday night, a chance of rain after 2am. Low around 40. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Saturday, New Year’s Day, rain is likely. High near 52. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Saturday night, rain likely before 1am. Low around 41. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Sunday, showers likely before 1pm. High near 50. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Sunday night, a chance of showers before 1am. Low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 30%. (Source: National Weather Service.gov)
Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022: Just announced 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.
Catskills Visitor Center (CVC): in Mt. Tremper, NY is open from 9:30-4pm 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitor Center trails are open from dawn to dusk.
Hunting Season Notices: Hunting season has mostly ended for 2021, however a Holiday Deer Hunt is in effect from December 26th to January 1st for bow and muzzleloading. Please review the DEC hunting season map for specific information.
- Daily hunting hours for deer and bear extended to 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
- Hunters must wear a fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest when hunting deer or bear with a firearm.
- Antlerless harvest allowed again during the early muzzleloader season in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6F, 6J.
- Bear season in the Adirondacks is simplified by extending the regular season to cover the full hunting period.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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 email@example.com:
– 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)
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.
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