Fall, fall, for all! This weekend marks the peak of seasonal fall foliage for the western Catskills. The next two weeks will be peak for the eastern Catskills and upper 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: Rain storms moved across the Catskills earlier this week, making for wet conditions this Thursday. Be prepared for puddles, mud, and especially slippery leaves and pine needles on the trails and cliff-sides. As always, the better prepared a hiker can be for these conditions, the better their experience will be while hiking in the Catskills. Fall conditions are in full swing; cooler temps, slippery leaves and pine needles will present some trail hazards. Consider wearing bright orange on the trails as bowhunting for deer begins today Thursday, October 1st.
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Thursday night, a chance of showers, mainly after 3am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Friday, a chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 62. Light west wind. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Friday night, partly cloudy, with a low around 41. Light northwest wind. Saturday, mostly sunny, with a high near 63. Saturday night, partly cloudy, with a low around 38. Sunday mostly sunny, with a high near 63. Sunday night, a chance of rain after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. Chance of precipitation is 30%. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Hunting Season: In the Catskills region Deer season opens with bowhunting Thursday as does Early Bowhunting for Bear, Canada Goose, Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Coyote, Woodcock, and Snow Geese seasons are all open beginning October 1st. Turkey season begins October 17th. 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
Fall Foliage Report: In the Catskills there are small patches of color amidst mostly green leaves. Prepare for fall with a new guide from the Catskills Visitor Center all about scenic places to view the foliage: https://catskillsvisitorcenter.org/fall-foliage/
I Love NY keeps track of the colors changing across the state of New York on their website each year.
Ticks and Insects: As long as temperatures are above freezing (32 F), ticks and other insects are on the move. Make sure to do a tick check on yourself, your kids, and on your pets. If you find a tick latched on to skin, be sure to remove it properly (link goes to the CDC’s website).
Catskills Lark in the Park: An annual celebration of Catskills outdoor recreation, arts, culture, and education is happening this year from October 3rd through October 12th. Visit the website for suggestions of self-guided tours and hikes, and ways to learn more about the region: https://catskillslark.org/
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:
– Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23a is closed. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls are open.
– The building of the Catskills Visitor Center in Mt. Tremper, NY is currently closed, however a window service on the side porch is available for visitor information from 10-3, every day except for 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. Permits are available as late as one day in advance, but more no more than seven days in advance. Permits can be acquired from the Reserve America website at: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com
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.
– 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. “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: email@example.com, call 845-688-3369, or visit our service window every day (except Wednesday) from 10am until 3pm.
The Center’s online store carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.