The colors of fall are starting to appear all around the Catskills region! This Columbus Day weekend is looking mild and warm with a nice mixture of sunshine and clouds, ideal conditions for spending time outdoors. The trails are still a little bit muddy and wet so stay prepared with good shoes and gaiters!
Fall Foliage Forecast: With colors coming in recently, we’re approaching peak but still have a short way to go. The peak colors will most likely begin next week at higher elevations and in two weeks at lower elevations.
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: The past few weeks in the Catskills have been quite rainy and windy. Be on the lookout for downed trees in places and be aware of widow makers while setting camp, or stopping for a break. Wear boots and gaiters to manage muddy conditions this weekend.
Weather Forecast: Friday, expect a sunny, cool day. Temperatures will reach a high of 53º, at night dropping to the low forties. Saturday will be partly sunny and warmer with a high near 61. At night, expect a low around 53º. Sunday will also be warm, partly sunny with a high reaching 68º and a low of 56º at night. Columbus Day is expected to be partly sunny and reach a high near 65º and a low of 56º toward the evening.
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 – This week, plan for muddy conditions, dropping temperatures, and do plenty of research on the route or area you want to visit. Keep in mind hunting seasons are coming into effect, wear bright colors and travel in groups.
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 – 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
Road Closures: A single lane on Route 23A between Haines Falls and Palenville is open and two way traffic is being managed by a temporary traffic signal. Expect delays as work continues to repair storm damage.
Trailhead Parking: Heading into Columbus Day weekend, 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): Carrying insect repellent is suggested this weekend as warmer temperatures will bring mosquitos and ticks. See our suggested products. 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 through October 15th and they can be obtained through the Reserve America Website. Make sure to have your permit printed or saved offline on your mobile device prior to arriving. 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.