Plan for a diverse mix of snow, ice, and a little mud on the trails this weekend. Light rain is expected on Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in the low 40s and the high 30s.
Trail Conditions and Winter Hiking Tips: Continue to prepare for icy trails (with traction devices like microspikes and crampons), mud (hiking boots and gaiters), and snow (snowshoes). Even with some rain, the highest peaks have a good amount of snow on them and will most likely have up to a foot for the foreseeable future. There are plenty of fallen leaves on the trails which make it extra slippery at times and sometimes disguise mud or softer terrain below. Tread carefully and enjoy! As always, thank you for keeping the Catskills as you find them!
Roads and Trailhead Status: All marked and official hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public.
Many seasonal roads and parking lots are not maintained in the winter. Keep this list in mind if your car isn’t snow-ready:
Platte Clove Road (Indian Head Wilderness), Roaring Kill Road (Indian Head Wilderness), Russell Brook Road (Delaware Wild Forest), Mary Smith Road (Delaware Wild Forest), Ploutz Road (Dry Brook Wild Forest)
Weekend Weather Forecast (recorded for Hunter, NY): Friday, expect clouds and a high of 38°. The low will be 35° with a 50% likelihood of rain overnight. Saturday should see light rain on and off before 1 pm with a high near 41° and a low of 28°. Sunday, a high of 34° with a 30% chance of rain and snow showers scattered throughout the day. Low on Sunday around 27°.
Hunting Season: Regular deer and bear hunting seasons have ended for 2018. Muzzleloading and late bowhunting seasons began last week and continue for another week. Hunters can sign up for sporting licenses at the Catskill Interpretive Center, or through a local outfitter on the DEC’s site. It’s still a good idea for hikers to dress in bright colors or wear safety vests throughout December.
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, always: sunsets are at about 4:26 pm this weekend. In case of unexpected night hiking, keep a headlamp handy. If you’re planning to backpack, the NYSDEC has a quick guide of state camping regulations.
Help Keep Wildlife Wild – Fall is a sensitive time of year for all wildlife in the Catskills. Keep a safe distance from animals and store food properly both at home and in the backcountry. Bears are still present this time of year. You can take a bear canister for an overnight hike or hang a bear bag to keep your food and toiletries safe. Bear bags should be hung at least 15 feet from the trunk of a tree and the ground below.
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.
Weather: 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.
The Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) now hosts a weather station in the MesoWest Network. Check the current conditions in Mount Tremper, NY.
Winter Hiking Opportunities: Throughout the Park there are hikes coming up on January 1st to start the New Year, including here at the CIC. Browse through the DEC’s website to read more and to sign up!
For More Information: The Maurice D Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is located at 5096 Route 28 in Mt Tremper, NY. Starting Monday, December 17th the Center will be open everyday from 8 am to 3 pm and will continue early hours through the winter. Staff and volunteers can provide trail information and updates. Come at the start of the day for discounted ski and snowboard lift tickets! The CIC's Gift Shop also carries trail maps, trail guides and more for purchase.
Call us at the CIC: 845-688-3369 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.