Cooler temperatures are headed to the Catskills this week after a heat spell, but humidity will stick around! A mixed weather forecast is predicted for the holiday weekend ahead. Keep an eye on reports and be prepared to postpone hiking plans in case of heavy rain, thunder, or lightning. Read on for general conditions, forecast, openings and closings, and a hike safe tip of the week.
Trail Conditions: Trails will be very wet this weekend from rain this past week, and additional rain predicted. Staying on the centerline of trails as much as possible helps protect the trails from erosion in wet weather, while also helping to protect hikers from tick bites or exposure to poison ivy. If you choose to hike, pack waterproof rain layers, waterproof boots, and extra dry layers in your backpack. Stay safe and be prepared to turn around in case of lightning or thunderstorms.
Weekend Weather Forecast (Reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, showers likely with thunderstorms also possible after 10am. Mostly cloudy with a high near 71. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall between a quarter and a half of an inch possible. Friday night, a chance of showers, mostly cloudy with a low around 55. Light northeast wind. Chance of precipitation 50%. Saturday, a chance of showers, thunderstorms possible after 2pm. Mostly cloudy with a high near 67. Light north wind. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Saturday night, a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2am, then a slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy with a low around 55. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Sunday, Independence Day, a chance of showers between 8am and 2pm. Mostly sunny with a high near 75. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Sunday night, mostly clear with a low around 55. (Source: National Weather Service)
-The Catskills Visitor Center’s information station will be opening earlier and staying open later! Starting this Monday, July 5th the CVC’s hours will be 9:30am to 4pm every day except Wednesday. Visitor information and shop merchandise for sale are both available on the side porch or the front of the building.
-State Campgrounds around the Catskills are open for seasonal camping. Walk-in camping is permitted at DEC Campgrounds, but advanced reservations are recommended. Learn more and book in advance (up to one day prior to arrival) on Reserve America’s website: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com/
-Top cabs of the Catskills fire towers will be open on weekends and holidays from now through mid-October on weekends and holiday Mondays, and volunteer interpreters will be present on most mountains. Please continue to maintain distance (6 feet or more) on mountain summits for the safety of fire tower volunteers and hikers outside of your group. Hikers are encouraged to wear masks on the fire towers and to use hand sanitizer before and after climbing a fire tower.
-The Upper Esopus Fire Tower top cab at the Catskills Visitor Center is open every Friday-Monday from 10am to 3pm by a fire tower steward. Bring a mask and enjoy the view from the top cab!
-Overlook Fire Tower is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Hunter Fire Tower is open on Thursdays and Fridays (weather-permitting) by a Catskill Center Steward.
Thunderstorms and Lightning Safety for Hikers: When lightning strikes, make sure you are out of the way. Stay off higher elevations and don’t climb fire towers if there are thunderstorms or lightning in the forecast. Visit Lightning Safety Tips for hikers from the American Hiking Society.
Hike Safe Tip of the Week: When temperatures are high, make sure you’re rehydrating! Not only plan to rehydrate with lots of water, but also refuel with electrolytes that are lost through sweat. Electrolyte tablets are sold in stores, they can be used in water bottles and they often contain sodium, potassium, and other minerals.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: DEC permits are required to visit the site 7 days a week from May 15 – September 15, including any of the parking areas in the Peekamoose Corridor on Route 42 and there is a $10 day use fee in place. New regulations are now in effect for 2021. Catskill Center Stewards and DEC Rangers will be present at the site through September. For more information learn more here. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
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 Molly Smith Trailhead located on Route 23A will be closed indefinitely. In order to hike Kaaterskill Falls, please visit the trailhead at Laurel House Road leading to the observation platform. More information on the DEC’s website here. Wear good traction shoes and stay on designated trails.
-The building of the Catskills Visitor Center is currently closed, however visitor information is available as well as in-person sales from our store. Expanded hours starting this weekend are 9:30am – 4pm every day except Wednesday.
Additional Online Catskills Resources for Closures:
*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
*Catskill Trails, Hiking, Camping & Stewardship Facebook Group (updated regularly)
*The Catskill Mountains Facebook Group (updated regularly)
Doubletop and Graham Access: Public access to the two peaks, Doubletop and Graham Mountain has ended. We at Catskill Center are thankful to the landowners who have made their property open to hikers for many years. 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.
Hiking Tips to Prepare for Summer:
– Rain and thunderstorms are more common this time of year, especially in the afternoon. Bringing rain protection (rain jacket, poncho, rain pants, etc.) help to keep you dry and comfortable. An extra dry shirt to change into can make a big difference if you get wet or overheated.
– Trails can get more slick, slippery and muddy. Bring trekking poles for your hands and gaiters to keep the dirt and water out of your boots.
– Follow best Leave No Trace practices by walking through the midline of mud on the trails instead of walking around these areas. This protects fragile plants and ecosystems, as well as keeping the trails in good condition.
Don’t forget your mask, even on hiking 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 when social distancing is not possible, please help by wearing a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The continued use of masks in these areas is incredibly important for the general the health and safety of all in the Catskills.
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.