Weekend of November 25th
Clouds and rain are in store this weekend in the Catskills with temperatures near 50 degrees. Expect trails to be soggy. Rain showers will kick off the weekend Friday throughout the day and will be on and off throughout the rest of the weekend. The higher the elevation of a location, the cooler its temperature tends to be and more prone to snow. Snowshoes and traction devices are recommended on ice and snow. Pack and be ready to use microspikes or crampons due to icy and snowy trail conditions. Microspikes are available for sale or rental at the CVC. Remember that winter hiking requires more planning than a regular hiking excursion because you need to take extra safety precautions to combat harsh elements.
Trail Conditions: We are looking at a rainy weekend for the Catskills with temperatures near 50 degrees and evening temps in the low to mid 30s. Trails will be wet with snow at higher elevations. Temperatures are steadily becoming colder, especially at night. Be sure to stick to trails and walk directly through mud puddles to reduce trail-widening impacts. Prepare for your hike with boots, ankle gaiters, and trekking poles to ensure easy travel through the middle of muddy sections. It is recommended to pack snowshoes and traction devices, as well. If trail conditions are inconsistent, (hard ice, soft snow, rocks, mud) a pair of spikes designed for mixed terrain is your best bet. Conditions can abruptly turn snowy, wet, windy, or chilly in the backcountry or an injury can result in an unplanned night out, so it’s necessary to carry extra clothes and gear.
Sunrise is at 6:59 am and sunset is at 4:29 pm. This weekend brings a Waxing Crescent moon. Always bring a headlamp or flashlight with you and never rely solely on your phone flashlight.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday: Sunshine and some clouds. High 48F. Winds light and variable. Thursday night: Partly cloudy skies early will become overcast later during the night. Low 33F. Winds light and variable. Friday: Steady light rain in the morning. Showers continuing in the afternoon. High 47F. Winds WSW at 10-15 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Friday night: Considerable clouds early. Some decrease in clouds later in the day. Low 31F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy skies. High around 50F. Winds WNW at 5-10 mph. Saturday night: Overcast with showers at times. Low 36F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%. Sunday: Rain. High 48F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a half an inch. Sunday night: Showers in the evening, then cloudy overnight. Low 37F.Winds W at 5-10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
REGULAR FIREARMS SEASON FOR DEER AND BEAR OPENED NOV. 19. Click here for more details. From DEC commissioner Basil Seggos: “With most public land across New York State open to multiple forms of recreation, from hiking and nature photography to hunting and trapping, visitors should be cautious, courteous, and responsible when sharing the woods to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.” “DEC encourages all visitors to review the safety guidelines for hunting and recreating in the woods before going afield and respectfully sharing the outdoors with others.”
THIS WEEK’S HIKING TIP: Stay hydrated.
- Stay hydrated and use an insulating hose for your hydration pack when you hike in winter. This will prevent water in the hose from freezing if you are in extreme temperatures. If you’re using a water bottle, wrap it in some wool socks or in a beanie in your backpack to help insulate it.
Additional Hiking Tips for Cold Weather:
- Hike in the sun. In the summer months, you want to avoid the hottest part of the day when hiking. In the winter, it’s the opposite. For winter hiking, try to time your hike for when the sun is highest in the sky and the warmest. As soon as the sun drops behind the mountains and the trail becomes shady, temperatures can drop significantly.
- Choose trails with some uphill to get the blood flowing. Just like climbing stairs, the uphill sections of your winter hikes will get your heart pumping. This helps to increase your circulation and raise your internal body temperature, which will keep you nice and toasty. If you do get sweaty, it’s important to wear sweat-wicking, quick-drying base layers and to have an extra layer to put on at the top so you don’t get chilled.
- Bring snacks you can eat without stopping. Your body will need more calories than it usually does while hiking in the winter because it’s burning more to stay warm. Pack snacks that are high in protein and carbs to give you energy. It’s important that the snacks you bring are quick and easy to eat while on the move. Stopping for a long time to eat will leave you cold, and your muscles will have a harder time warming up again.
- Use microspikes. (Microspikes are made of chains and tiny spikes that slip on over your boots. They’re helpful in icy conditions on flat terrain and are usually inexpensive.) Winter hiking often means you might encounter snow and ice on the trail, so you’ll want more traction in your footwear to prevent slipping. Microspikes, crampons, and snowshoes are the three footwear options for winter hiking depending on the conditions.
- Wear a hat: You can lose heat through the top of your head, so pull a winter hat on if you’re feeling chilly.
- Bring goggles or sunglasses: Always protect your eyes from the sun and wind. Many goggles and some sunglasses allow you to swap lenses in and out so you can select the right lens tint for the weather.
- Apply sunscreen: Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you stop worrying about sunburn. In fact, if there’s snow on the ground, the sun’s rays can reflect back up at you, so you need to be diligent about applying sunscreen on the underside of your nose and chin and around your neck.
Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022: the DEC has announced the return of the Catskill Fire Tower Challenge for 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.
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.
Hunting Season Notices: Firearms hunting season opened up November 19th, 2022. https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/huntguide.pdf Remember that all hunters and those who accompany hunters are now required to wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink. Click here for more information.
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 roads are seasonal roads that 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: Ashokan Quarry Trail- Closed for hunting season from November 19th- December 11th, 2022.
– 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.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: Permits are not required at this time. Permits are required every day during the week to access the entirety of the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor during the permit season. This includes day hike access to Peekamoose and Table Mountains, camping, access to the Blue Hole, and Buttermilk Falls. DEC permits are required to visit this site from May 15 – September 15. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
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! Note that most trails will not have any garbage receptacles. Always be prepared to take any garbage back in your car with you.
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 open from 9:30 am-4:00 pm Trails open from dawn to dusk. The CVC does require masks upon entry to the building and please remember to socially distance when visiting the trails by giving other visitors 6 feet minimum distance and wearing a mask when you meet others.
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