A mixture of sun, clouds, and precipitation are in the weather forecast this weekend. There’s a possibility of freezing rain on Friday and snow showers on Saturday morning. Whether you’re a hiker or a skier, celebrate the start of 2019 by spending it in the Catskills!
Trail Conditions: Packed down snow can be found on most summits. Trails will be icy this weekend, especially as you get above 2000’. Plan for ice and snow by bringing winter traction devices. With possible freezing rain on Friday, tree branches will be wet and icy. Use your best judgement and check above as well as below!
Winter Hiking Information: What are “Microspikes” and “crampons”? Microspikes is a brand name (like Kleenex) for stretchy foot traction devices that have studded chains on the sole. There are some made for walking on sidewalks and driveways that have a light amount of traction, and there are more serious ones for hiking (usually more expensive) that have sharper studs on the underside. These will do a good job of gripping icy trail surfaces (not vertical) and packed down snow surfaces. Microspikes are also technically crampons, however crampons describe a “step up” in terms of traction and price. Crampons have at least two sharp points on the front and strap on to hiking or mountaineering boots. There are a few different varieties and they can be used to walk on glaciers, to ice climb, or to hike particularly steep, icy trails.
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, rain/freezing rain, becoming all rain after 7 am. High of 48° with moderate winds, a low temperature of 36°. Saturday, a small chance (20%) of snow showers in the morning then becoming partly sunny with a high near 37°. Moderate winds on Saturday. Low temperature around 16°. Sunday, mostly sunny with a high near 25° and a low of around 20°.
Hunting Season: 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.
Dispose of Waste Properly — This may seem obvious, however not everyone knows that biodegradable waste should also be packed out on an outdoor trip. This includes things like apple cores, tissues, and toilet paper. The cleaner we keep the Park the better it will be for the next generation of outdoor adventurers!
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.
Photo credit: RockyFeet.com