Light snow could be headed our way this weekend, especially at the higher elevations of the Catskills. Colder temperatures and very heavy rain this past week will make trails icy at higher elevations and very wet at lower elevations.
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.
Trail Conditions: Trails will be very wet and there may be some flooding at lower elevations. At higher elevations, expect ice on trails due to heavy rain that fell on Monday and overnight temperatures below freezing. A chance of snow is predicted Friday night into Saturday for parts of the region. Check trail maps before heading out on a hike for any stream crossings, and consider alternate trails until water levels have a chance to lessen. Micro spikes or crampons are a necessity for hiking safely at higher elevations this weekend. Thinking in terms of winter footwear (waterproof hiking boots, gaiters, micro spikes or another foot traction device) is a good idea, both for this weekend and for upcoming fall and winter weekends. Sunsets this weekend will be at about 4:28pm, and sunrises will be at 7:04am.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY, elevation 670 feet): Friday, a chance of rain, mainly after 12. Partly sunny with a high near 47. Chance of precipitation 40%. Friday night, a chance of rain before 5am, then a chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy with a low around 34. Saturday, a chance of rain and snow before 7am, then a chance of rain. Mostly cloudy with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Saturday night, a chance of rain and snow before 10pm, then a chance of snow. Cloudy with a low around 27. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Hunting Season: Regular hunting for Deer and many other animals is currently open with some restrictions. For hikers, be smart and prepared for hunting season by wearing bright colors such as orange, pink, or a bright blue color. For a full summary of the 2020-2021 hunting season’s start and end dates, please visit the NYSDEC’s website here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/huntsummary2020.pdf
Upcoming Events: Enjoy the following events from the comfort of your home today…
– 2020 Catskill Stewards Season Wrap Up Presentation: Join the Catskill Center’s Andy Mossey on Thursday, December 3rd at 5:00pm for a one hour long presentation via Zoom about the findings, and the season in summary of the Catskill Stewards Program. This presentation will speak to the high use found across the Catskills during the 2020 summer season. Registration is required for this free event. Pre-registration through Zoom is required. After registering the link to the event will be sent to you.
– Ask An Outdoor Expert, Birding in New York: Come with questions or just come for a conversation about birding with a focus on New York and the Catskills Region! Our expert is Ryan Mandelbaum who is a science writer and a birder, as well as a member of and a trip leader for the Feminist Bird Club. The conversation will take place on the Catskills Visitor Center’s Facebook page at 7pm on Thursday, December 3rd: https://www.facebook.com/CatskillsVisitorCenter Join us!
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.
Trail Openings: The NYS DEC has recently reopened the Molly Smith parking area on Route 23A and the Kaaterskill Falls Trail from Route 23A.
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:
- Seasonal Roads across the Catskills will not be maintained beginning November 1st and continuing through April 15th. This includes access to Platte Clove via Platte Clove Road (Town of Hunter). Be aware that in case of snow or ice the road from east to west is not safe for car travel. Other seasonal roads that are not maintained in the winter are Roaring Kill Road (Town of Hunter), Russell Brook Road (Town of Colchester), Mary Smith Road (Town of Colchester), and Ploutz Road (Town of Middletown).
- The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however walk-up window service is available for visitor information from 10am-3pm, every day except Wednesday. 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.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: No permits are required at this time. DEC permits are required to visit this site on weekends and holidays from May 15 – September 13.
Hiking Tips to Prepare for Fall:
– Trails can get more slick and slippery in the fall because of leaves on the ground and freezing temperatures. Good traction shoes, micro spikes, and trekking poles help with stability.
– It usually rains more in the fall than in the summertime, so there tends to be a lot more mud on trails. Think about bringing things like waterproof hiking boots, gaiters, and trekking poles. Follow best Leave No Trace practices by walking through the midline of mud on trails instead of walking around it
– Temperatures are getting lower, especially overnight temperatures. Bringing a full clothing layering system with you in your pack is essential for day hikes or overnight hikes! This includes noncotton layers, warm hat and gloves, and a “puffy” – an insulated jacket that’s easy to take on and off throughout your hike.
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 the Catskill 3500 Club. “IMPORTANT NEWS ON DOUBLETOP AND GRAHAM – Both mountains will be closed to all hikers from November 8th to December 26th for private use during hunting season. 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 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.
Email us at the Catskills Visitor Center: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (845) 688-3369.
The Center’s online store carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.
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