With the official start of winter, flash flood warnings are present all around the Catskills this weekend. Expect very, very wet, muddy trails. Friday and Saturday have up to 3 inches of rain in the forecast.
Trail Conditions and Winter Hiking Tips: With heavy rain coming through on Friday and Saturday, trails will be wet with potential flooding throughout the weekend. Hikers should plan for very muddy, slick trail conditions. Bringing appropriate gear will be important to stay warm and dry. With frosts overnight there will also be ice, so it’s a good idea to keep microspikes or crampons in your pack.
Roads and Trailhead Status: All marked and official hiking trails in the Catskill Park are 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 ready for snow/ice:
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 for the winter solstice, heavy rain with wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of rain 100% with 1-2 inches expected. High of 54° and low of 37°. Saturday, rain and possible snow showers with a 60% chance of precipitation, a high of 38°, and winds 10-17 mph. Saturday night will be mostly cloudy with a low of 25°. Sunday will be the best day, partly sunny with a high of 32° and a low around 24°.
Hunting Season: Big game, turkey, and furbearers seasons have ended for the year. Small game continues through the winter. Hunters can sign up for sporting licenses at the Catskill Interpretive Center, or through a local outfitter on the DEC’s site.
The Catskill Guide to Leave No Trace (LNT): 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.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – With some very wet trails this weekend, this tenant of LNT can be difficult to stick to. Just as a reminder, it’s always better to walk on hard trail surfaces and to go through the mud rather than to walk around it. Thank you for doing your part to prevent trail erosion!
Help Keep Wildlife Wild – Keeping animals away from our food protects us as much as it does them, both at home and in the backcountry. 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 and is now open everyday from 8 am to 3 pm and will continue early hours through the winter. 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.