The leaves have mostly fallen from the deciduous trees in the higher elevation areas of the Catskills. For some dark oranges, reds, and yellows this weekend seek out the trees at lower elevation in Ulster and Duchess County. Walk with care on wet leaves and rocks and take a deep breath of the smells of fall in the woods 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: As Friday is looking warm but rainy, consider bringing waterproof attire and be aware of muddy trails (best Leave No Trace practice is to walk straight through the centerline of trails when wet). Saturday will be chillier and wet, so also consider layers and waterproof bags for dry items. Sunday offers sunshine and cooler temperatures. Morning frosts and moisture are making the trails more slippery and potentially icy, so don’t forget your boots!
Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday, expect rain throughout the day: heavy at times with a possible thunderstorm. The high on Friday is about 60° with winds 11 to 14 mph. The low on Friday is expected to be 43°. Saturday morning the rain will continue until about 2 pm when it should taper off, becoming partly cloudy. Temperatures on Saturday will reach a high near 44° and a low on Saturday night of 31°. Sunday is looking like the clearest day of the weekend with mostly sunny skies, a high near 46°. Partly cloudy skies are expected on Sunday evening with a low of 33°.
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 (5:50pm). Keep in mind various hunting seasons are in 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 foraging 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. Keep in mind that ticks are still around in areas and checks should still be done after each adventure.
Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet –Check in to the Catskill Interpretive Center and ask about off the beaten path hikes to maintain your wilderness experience. Pets and people do not always mix. To avoid confrontations leash and pick up after your pet. This helps to keep the trails clean and brings confrontations to a minimum. Keep yourself and pets in mind as hunting season approaches. Consider outfitting both you and your pets in bright colors for easy identification.
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 active in the Catskills throughout the fall when the temperature is above 45º. 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: Olivia Bernard