For the first weekend of fall, temperatures are expected to be warmer and hiking conditions should be ideal. Trails are in mostly dry condition right now, with lots of potential to start seeing pops of fall color on the trees. Enjoy the season by hiking, but also consider supporting local businesses in a safe way! Fall apple picking and finding local cider are just two of the abundant ways to enjoy this region this time of year! 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: Trails are in mostly dry condition right now. Rainfall for the year is average if not slightly below average, but most water sources should be running. Continue wearing bright oranges (clothing, bandanas, or hats, etc.) when out hiking to be seen by hunters. With the bump in overnight temperatures this week from freezing to lows in the 50s, keep an eye out for ticks by doing a thorough tick check after your hike on you, your children, and your pets!
Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday, some fog in the morning, then clear in the afternoon, high of 79. Friday night, mostly clear, with a low of 50. Saturday, partly sunny with a high near 74. Saturday night, isolated showers, low of 56. Sunday, partly sunny with a high near 80. Sunday night, partly cloudy with a low around 56. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Hunting Season: In the Catskills region, Early Bear and Canada Goose Seasons are both open. Deer and turkey seasons begin later in September and in early October. 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
Fire Towers of the Catskills: The Catskills Visitor Center Fire Tower, the Upper Esopus, will now have its top cab open for visitors Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-3pm throughout the fall season. For the safety of the Catskill Center volunteer and other visitors, please wear a mask when climbing the tower, and only climb with your own party.
For information about the Catskills Fire Towers’ opened and closed status now through Columbus Day, please visit the Catskill Fire Tower Project’s website: http://catskillcenter.org/fire-tower-project
Fall Foliage Report: In the Catskills there are small patches of color amidst predominantly 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: https://www.iloveny.com/things-to-do/fall/foliage-report/
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/
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 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, Monday through Saturday. 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. 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.
Hiking Tips 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 non-cotton 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.