With the arrival of fall color around the Catskills we’re also getting some true fall temperatures this weekend! Expect cool, crisp weather on Saturday and Sunday and near-freezing temperatures at night. When hitting the trails bring cozy layers and stay dry with sturdy hiking shoes.
Trail Status and Closures: All marked and officially designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public. All trailheads are open, and all gates are open for interior parking areas.
Trail Conditions: Muddy conditions galore! Expect the heavy rain from Thursday into Friday to puddle up sections of the trail. Wear boots and gaiters in preparation for the wet conditions. Sunday should be gorgeous. Expect some sunny conditions and a slight reprieve from the wet.
Fall Foliage Forecast: The foliage in lower elevations are still looking quite green or brown in areas. If you are looking for spectacular colors head to the higher elevation areas in towns like Tannersville, Hunter, Pine Hill, and Phoenicia. Peak is just around the corner and will be expected to stay for the next two weeks.
Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday, expect a windy, cool day with a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures will reach a high of 47º, at night dropping to the high 30s. Saturday will be mostly cloudy and cool with a chance of showers earlier and a high near 43º. At night, expect a low around 36º. Sunday should be the best day, mostly sunny with a high near 50º and a low of 42º at night.
Hunting Season: Hunting is currently open for many species such as coyote, cottontail rabbit, and squirrel. The DEC’s website has some useful maps of New York with regional and species-specific hunting information. Hikers should plan to dress in bright colors to stay visible. Hunters can sign up for licenses with the DEC’s resource list of local outfitters.
The Catskill Guide to Leave No Trace: Essential skills and outdoor ethics are crucial for enjoying the Catskill Park in a safe and responsible manner. Read on to discover the top three Leave No Trace considerations this week.
Know Before You Go – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin) These words have incredible application to the outdoors, where failing can lead to injury or worse. This week, plan for muddy conditions, dropping temperatures, and do plenty of research on the route or are you want to visit. Keep in mind hunting seasons are coming into effect, wear bright colors and travel in groups.
Stick to Trails and Camp Overnight Right – While the mud puddles are getting deeper and deeper, consider wearing tall boots and gaiters. As always, the best option when encountering a muddy section of trail is to hike straight through it. This aids in preventing trail widening, plus you earned those muddy boots!
Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet –Fall time hikers, campers, and lovers of the outdoors will be coming to the Catskills for fall foliage beauty. While some busy day use areas will have lots of visitors, there will still be plenty of opportunities to find solace. Check in to the Catskill Interpretive Center and ask about off the beaten path hikes to maintain your wilderness experience. As always, pets and people do not always mix, to avoid unhappy confrontations, leash and pick up after your pet. This helps to keep the trails doody free and confrontations to a minimum.
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!
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
Trailhead Parking: During fall weekends, trailhead parking lots will be more crowded than usual. Arriving at a trail earlier in the day will help ensure a spot. Always position your car nose-in to maximize space and when in doubt, avoid parking along roads (our Rangers will thank you!).
Insects and Ticks (Tick Safety Tips): Ticks carrying lyme disease are present and active in the Catskills throughout the fall when the temperature is above 45º, as are other tick species. A tick check after hiking is a good idea to ensure there are no ticks on your body. If you find a tick, make sure to remove it completely, mouth parts first.
Thunderstorms and Lightning Safety for Hikers: When lightning strikes, make sure you are out of the way! Lightning Safety Tips for hikers from the American Hiking Society.
Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for changing weather conditions in the Catskills. 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. Hudson Valley Weather provides detailed forecasts for the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
Peekamoose Blue Hole: A free day use permit is required to visit the Peekamoose Blue Hole on weekends and holidays. Permit regulations are in effect now through October 15th and they can be obtained through the Reserve America Website. Make sure to have your permit printed or saved off-line on your mobile device prior to your arrival. Peekamoose Blue Hole Stewards and Forest Rangers are on site for the check in process.
The Catskill Interpretive Center now hosts a weather station in the MesoWest Network. Check the current conditions in Mount Tremper, NY.
For More Information: Visit the Catskill Park's visitor center, the Maurice D Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center 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. Staff and volunteers can provide trail information and updates. The CIC's Gift Shop carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase. You may also shop from home at the Catskill Interpretive Center Online Gift Shop. You can call the CIC at 845-688-3369 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Olivia Bernard