Earlier than expected, the first snow of the season has come through. Bellayre is reporting six to eight inches of snow and all of the ski resorts will be open this weekend. With sun and warmer temperatures, be prepared for wet, melting snow on the trails. Snowshoes and microspikes are both great to keep with you!
Roads and Trailhead Status: All marked and officially designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public. Please make a note that the following roads that lead to some Catskills trailheads are not maintained or plowed starting November 1st:
Platte Clove Road
Roaring Kill Road
Russell Brook Road
Mary Smith Road
Trail Conditions and Tips: The trails throughout the Park will have at least two to four inches of snow accumulation this weekend with more near the summits. First thing in the morning expect some ice and slippery conditions from the overnight frosts. As Friday and Saturday warm up through late morning and afternoon, be prepared for wet snow with some melting. As always, it’s a good idea to start hiking with fewer layers on and carry extra layers for when you slow down. Don’t forget snowshoes and microspikes, as well as gaiters over boots!
Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday the 16th, snow in the morning leads to mostly sunny conditions and a high of about 37°. Low on Friday of 28°. Saturday should be partly sunny with moderate wind gusts, high of 36° and a low of 24° overnight. On Sunday, snow showers are likely (60% chance of precipitation) in the early to mid-afternoon. Mostly cloudy skies on Sunday with a high of 31° and an overnight low of 26°.
Hunting Season: This weekend, November 17th sees the start of the season for regular deer and bear hunting. The DEC’s website has some useful maps of New York to stay up-to-date with regional hunting information. Hunters can sign up for licenses with the DEC’s resource list of local outfitters. Hikers should 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 two Leave No Trace considerations this week.
Know Before You Go – Planning and preparing are the keys to enjoying the outdoors. Sunsets are about 4:34 pm this weekend. In case of unexpected night hiking, keep a headlamp with you. If you’re planning to backpack, DEC has a cheat sheet of New York State camping regulations.
Help 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.
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.
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
Weather: With increasing unpredictability, be aware of and prepared for changing weather conditions in the Catskills. Stay current with the 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.
Insects and Ticks (Tick Safety Tips): A tick check after hiking is always a good idea to ensure there are no ticks on your body, even when temperatures are near freezing. If you find a tick, make sure to remove it mouth parts first.
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: Catskill Interpretive Center