Catskill Park Trail Conditions - Update 11/8/18

 Where did the Catskill Mountain range go? Spooky fog along the Ashokan Reservoir this past week.

Where did the Catskill Mountain range go? Spooky fog along the Ashokan Reservoir this past week.

This holiday weekend in the Catskills expect a mixture of snow and rain followed by Sunday sunshine. Embrace the chilly temperatures on Sunday and Monday and test your outdoor weather skills! Bring layers, good company, and a Thermos with a hot beverage. The trails are starting to see ice, so pack a pair of microspikes!

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 trails will be wet and a little slippery this weekend as we see rain and frosts across the Park. Entering November, microspikes are a great investment for hiking and essential for traction on icy trails. Consider taking a pair in your pack this weekend in addition to some sturdy rain gear.

Weekend Weather Forecast: Friday, snow in the morning will interchange with rain in our area throughout the day. Chance of precipitation is 100% with winds 6-11 mph. The high on Friday is near 37°, the low at night is 32°. Saturday brings a small (20%) chance of snow showers in the morning, turning into partly sunny skies by afternoon. Temperatures should reach a high of 36° and a low of 24°. Expect breezes ranging from 11 to 21 mph with highs of 37 mph. Sunday for Veterans Day is looking mostly sunny with a high of 32° and a low overnight of 23°.

Hunting Season: Hunting is open for a few different species; 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 – Planning and preparing are the keys to enjoying the outdoors! With daylight savings time last weekend, sunsets are about 4:42 pm this weekend. In case of unexpected night hiking, keep a handy headlamp with you. If you’re planning to backpack, DEC has a cheat sheet of New York State camping regulations.

  • 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!

  • 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. Keep in mind that ticks are still around in areas and checks should still be done after each adventure.

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):  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.

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

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: Kelli Huggins