Brown, bronze, and gold are the colors of late October in the Catskills. While the leaves are just past peak, the colors are still beautiful. This weekend should be mild during the day and cool at night, with highs in the 50s and 60s, and lows in the 30s. Sunsets are at about 6:04 pm. 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: There are fallen leaves and pine needles on the trails right now which can be a hazard when descending. Carrying trekking poles and wearing hiking shoes are both recommended to help with foot traction and when encountering rocks. Turkey hunting season began this past week, continue to carry clothing or accessories that are blaze orange when traveling through the woods, and consider avoiding colors like red and blue in your wardrobe! Don’t forget to do a tick check, as ticks are active when the temperature is above freezing (32).
Weekend Weather Forecast (reporting for Mt. Tremper, NY): Friday, patchy drizzle and fog before 9am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68. Friday night, mostly cloudy with a low around 53. Saturday, a slight chance of showers (20%), partly sunny with a high near 65. Saturday night, mostly clear with a low around 35. Sunday, sunny with a high of 53. Sunday night, a chance of showers after 2am (30%), mostly cloudy with a low of 38. (Source: National Weather Service, NOAA)
Upcoming Events: Catskill Center’s annual Fall Gala is this Saturday, October 24th at 7pm! It will be a virtual gala that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home while still supporting the work of the Catskill Center. For all of the details of the event click here: http://catskillcenter.org/fallgala. To sign up for the event or make a contribution, click here: http://catskillcenter.org/gala.
Tonight on October 22nd, speakers from the Catskill Center, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Adirondack Council, as well as the NYSDEC and the National Parks Service will discuss Land Use and Overuse, specifically in New York’s Forest Preserves. Join the discussion, listen, and ask questions! Here is the link to register for the free webinar tonight at 6pm: Bit.ly/HighUseandOveruseWebinar10-22-20
Hunting Season: In the Catskills region deer season is open for bowhunting as well as early bowhunting for bear, canada goose, ruffed grouse, cottontail rabbit, pheasant, coyote, woodcock, and snow geese seasons have all opened beginning October 1st. Turkey season began October 17th and goes until October 30th. 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: The Catskills are past peak in the eastern range, as well as in the central and western Catskills. Prepare for fall with the 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.
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 email@example.com:
– Kaaterskill Falls trail via Route 23a is closed. Laurel House Trail and the trails above the falls have been reopened.
– 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 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:
– 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. Learn more about how to layer in colder weather on Catskill Center’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1c14bfqozU&t=5s
– 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
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.