Expect FRIGID and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS temperatures and winter conditions across the Catskills this weekend. Outdoor activities should be limited to avoid frostbite and/or hypothermia. Snowshoes and/or traction devices are needed on all trails and should always be carried, now that there is at least 8" of snow across the majority of the region with deeper snowpack at higher elevations.
If you do choose to recreate this weekend, especially on Friday and Saturday, BE PREPARED FOR EXTREME COLD TEMPERATURES! Winter conditions like this leave little to no room for error in preparation and activities. An injury, the wrong clothing choices, or broken equipment could result in frostbite, hypothermia or worse. Only those who are properly prepared for the conditions should be on the mountains through Saturday night. This weather is life-threatening in the backcountry of the Catskills
Forecast: The Catskills received 4-6 inches of new snow on Thursday, adding to existing snowpack. The snow was light and easily drifts. With the high winds, it is likely there is extreme drifting, especially at the mountain summits.
High temperatures today will struggle to reach 0. Winds will be blowing near 20-30 mph and gusting over 40 mph, creating dangerously cold wind chills in excess of -30. Low temperatures Friday night will be around -10 degrees below zero. On Saturday it will be EXTREMELY COLD with high temperatures -4 to -5 degrees below zero and lows on Saturday night of at least -15 degrees below zero. Temperatures will moderate slightly on Sunday with a high of 10 to 14 degrees and a low Sunday night in the single digits above zero. REMEMBER - Temperatures will be lower at mountain summits and wind speeds will be higher, creating even more frigid conditions.
Expect Extreme Winter Conditions: Temperatures well below zero, snow, and ice are present throughout the Catskills. Snow depths range from 4 to 12+ inches, more in the highest elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow information. Be prepared for extreme winter conditions on Saturday. The use of snowshoes is warranted throughout the region and are encouraged to prevent "post-holing," avoid injuries, and ease travel on snow (Post-holing - leaving deep footprints in the snow - makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use). Crampons or other traction devices should be carried and used in icy areas.
Trail Status: All marked and officially designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public. All trailheads are open, but gates may be closed for interior parking areas (see road and gate closure information below). Not all trailhead parking areas may be plowed this weekend, following Thursday's snow storm.
Trail Conditions: This week's frigid temperatures have maintained snow depths and allowed the growth of ice throughout the Catskills. Snow depths currently increase from an 4 inches at lowest elevations to more than a foot of snow at the highest elevations. In addition, ice is building on all trails. Traction devices should always be carried. Snow depths have reached levels, especially at the higher elevations, where snowshoes should always be used.
Seasonal Roads and Gates: The following seasonal roads are not maintained in the winter and become impassable when snow is on the ground:
- Platte Clove Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Roaring Kill Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Russell Brook Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Mary Smith Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Ploutz Road - Dry Brook Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Middletown)
The Gates at Alder Lake (Balsam Lake Wild Forest) and Onteora Lake (Bluestone Wild Forest) have been closed for the winter season.
Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast. The NY Mesonet has stations in and just outside of Catskills that provide real time weather data and forecasts.
Winterize Your Car: Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order before you head out in this cold weather. Carry a survival kit (sleeping bag, blanket, extra jacket, hat, gloves, hand warmers, etc) should you become stuck with your vehicle or are unable to start it.
The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park - please be sure to take all of your trash home and be sure to Leave No Trace during your visit to the Park.
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
For More Information: Visit the Maurice D Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center located at 5096 Route 28 in Mt Tremper, NY. The Center is open everyday from 9:30 to 4:30, and until 6:30pm on Fridays. The CIC is the Visitor Center for the Catskill Park. Staff and volunteers can provide trail information and updates. The CIC carries trail maps, trail guides and other last minute items for purchase in the Gift Shop and through the Catskill Interpretive Center's online shop.