Catskill Park Trail Conditions - Update 10/25/18

 The lower Catskills and the Hudson Valley are the best regions for fall colors this weekend.

The lower Catskills and the Hudson Valley are the best regions for fall colors this weekend.

This weekend will be wet and cold with a potential Northeaster coming through the region on Saturday. A perfect time to hone your skills for all kinds of weather, or to curl up with a good book. If you do head outdoors this weekend be sure to prepare with rain gear, insulation layers, and a thermos filled with a hot drink.

Fall Foliage Forecast: The Catskill Park still has much color to be had. Lower to middle elevations still have great color. Areas of the lower Catskills and the Hudson Valley are going to have the best options for fall foliage this weekend.

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: The main conditions to be aware of this weekend are related to the weather: cold, rainy conditions on Saturday and potentially on Sunday as well. The trails will be wet and water sources will be running. Gaiters and hiking boots are a great combination in wet conditions.

Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday is looking partly sunny with temperatures reaching a high near 45º. At night the temperatures will drop to 33º with a high likelihood of rain after midnight. Saturday will see a high near 40º with a 100% chance of precipitation, potentially some morning snow in the Hunter region. It will change to rain during the day with wind gusts in the 13-18 mph range. At night, expect a low around 35º. Sunday will see a high near 43º, a slight chance of showers, and a low of 36º at night.

Hunting Season: Hunting is open for a few different species in our area. The DEC’s website has some useful maps of New York with regional and species-specific hunting information. 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 (5:55pm). 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 lingering, consider wearing tall boots and gaiters. As always, the best option when encountering a muddy section of trail is to hike straight through it, ultimately reducing the effect of trail widening.

  • 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.

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.

Water Sources: Reliable water sources shown on trail maps are flowing, as are most seasonal streams. You should always plan to treat or filter any surface water before drinking.

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 mapstrail 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 info@catskillcenter.org.

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Photo credit: Andy Mossey