Fall Foliage Forecast: Peak is here in the Catskill Park. Expect the best foliage in middle to higher elevations. Lower elevation trees are getting more and more colorful. Visit towns throughout the park, no matter your hike or adventure, you will be sure to see some spectacular foliage.
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 and Tips: There were some reports of a light dusting of snow on some of the Catskills summits this week! This weekend prepare with waterproof hiking boots or sturdy trail running sneakers as the trails will be wet. Consider wearing lightweight ankle gaiters to keep out mud. Layers are important when hiking in colder temperatures and monitoring body temperature. As a good rule of thumb, start out hiking a little on the chilly side and then add layers as needed to avoid getting sweaty. Another good tip is to change shirts when you stop moving so that your next-to-skin layer stays dry.
Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday is looking sunny with some moderate wind. Temperatures will reach a high near 54º, at night dropping to 39º with a slight chance of showers after midnight. Saturday will be mostly cloudy and cool with a 40% chance of showers during the day and a high near 52º. At night, expect a low around 30º. Sunday will be colder, mostly sunny with a high near 37º and a low of 27º at night.
Hunting Season: The DEC’s website has some useful maps of New York with regional and species-specific hunting information. Fall turkey season begins this weekend on Saturday the 20th. Hunters can sign up for licenses with the DEC’s resource list of local outfitters. Hikers should plan to dress in bright colors to stay visible!
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 – This week plan for mild muddy conditions and significantly dropping temperatures. The cold nights are bringing light snow and frosts to the Catskill region. Plan ahead with plenty of layers, warm drinks and food, and being aware of the earlier sunsets (6:20pm). 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 still around, 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!
Keep Wildlife Wild – Fall is a sensitive time of year for all wildlife here in the Catskills. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and store food properly both at home and in the backcountry. Animals across the park are preparing for winter and may be more active than usual. Keep a particularly close eye on your food and food scraps.
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.
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 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.
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 (CIC) 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: Andy Mossey