After a few days of cold temperatures in the Catskills, the weekend ahead looks mild with a mix of sun and clouds. Mountains could have some frost and icy sections at the highest elevations from recent cold nights. Hikers are advised to bring microspikes to be safe, and good traction hiking shoes.
As always, 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: A mild weekend with the potential for some frost and ice on summits, trails across the region should be in great condition for hiking with some preparation. Especially in the early mornings, hikers should keep microspikes handy as well as warm, dry layers. Bright colors are advised to wear to stay seen during regular hunting season, this weekend through December 13th. Sunsets in New York are at 4:33pm this weekend, sunrises are at 6:50am.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, mostly sunny with a high near 58. Southwest around 8 mph. Friday night, partly cloudy with a low around 38. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Saturday, partly sunny with a high near 52. Northwest wind 3 to 5 mph. Saturday night, mostly cloudy with a low around 31. Sunday, mostly cloudy with a high near 48. Sunday night, low around 39, a chance of showers after 1am. Chance of precipitation is 50%. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Hunting Season: Regular hunting for Deer and Bear is open this weekend, Saturday November 21st through Sunday December 13th. For hikers, be smart and prepared for hunting season by wearing bright colors such as orange or pink. A DEC press release here talks about how hikers and hunters can recreate together safely. The Ashokan Quarry Trail in Olivebridge will be temporarily closed now for hikers through December 13th.
For a full summary of the 2020-2021 hunting season’s start and end dates, please visit the NYSDEC’s website here.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org:
- The Ashokan Quarry Trail in Olivebridge, NY will be closed starting this Saturday, November 21st through the end of regular hunting season
- The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however a service window on the side porch is available for visitor information from 10-3, every day except Wednesday. Visitor Center trails are open. Staff is answering phone calls at 845-688-3369
- 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.
Places to Hike Without Hunting: The Catskill Mountain Club put together a list of places in New York to hike that don’t permit hunting. That list of places can be found here.
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. Good traction shoes 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.
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 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.