After this week's snow, expect winter conditions on trails across the Catskills. Snowshoes will be needed at higher elevations due to a deepening snowpack. Extensive ice has formed on most trails, which the snow now hides, creating potentially hazardous conditions. Crampons should be worn on most trails where snow is not deep enough for snowshoes due to these icy conditions.
Wednesday's snowstorm left 8-10 inches of snow across the Catskills, with the most at the highest elevations. Some areas saw sleet and snow, which reduced snow totals, but created icy conditions on top of the snow.
Forecast: Snow is forecast to move back into the Catskills Friday afternoon, continuing throughout the evening and into the night. Temperatures will hover around 20 degrees all day. Snow accumulations are expected to be around an inch. Temperatures will begin to warm up overnight with snow expected to continue into Saturday before turning into a wintry mix and then rain by the afternoon. Temperatures on Saturday should top out in the upper 30s. Rain will continue overnight on Saturday with a low around 35 degrees and then into Sunday, where temperatures will be in the mid 40s. The rain will move out by Sunday night and the area will see clearing. Expect a low in the mid-20s on Sunday night.
Warning: This will be a wet, relatively cold weekend. Temperatures will be above freezing, but the rainy, cold conditions can quickly get hikers wet and hypothermia is always a danger in situations like this. Wear layers and ensure you stay dry. If you do become wet, change into dry clothes, or end your hike early if you do not have extra clothing.
Expect Winter Conditions: Significant areas of snow and ice are present throughout the Catskills. Snow depths range from a a few inches in the valleys to more than a foot at the highest elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow information. Be prepared for winter conditions. Crampons or other traction devices should be carried and will be needed in numerous icy areas. The use of snowshoes is warranted at higher elevations and are encouraged to prevent "post-holing," avoid injuries, and ease travel on snow (Post-holing - leaving deep footprints in the snow - makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use).
Trail Status: All marked and officially designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public. All trailheads are open, but gates may be closed for interior parking areas (see road and gate closure information below).
Trail Conditions: This past week's cold temperatures and snow storm have re-established snow depths and allowed the continued growth of ice throughout the Catskills. Snow depths currently increase from a few inches at the lowest elevations to more than a foot of snow at the highest elevations. In addition, ice is building on all trails. Crampons should always be carried and will likely be required along many trails. Snow depths have reached levels, especially at the higher elevations, where snowshoes should be used to avoid post-holing.
Kaaterskill Falls Trail: The Kaaterskill Falls Trail from Route 23a to the base of Kaaterskill Falls is extremely icy. Traction devices MUST be worn to use this trail safely. The better option is to visit the viewing platform at the top of the Falls, accessible from the parking lot on Laurel House Road. This trail also has some ice and traction devices should be used.
Seasonal Roads and Gates: The following seasonal roads are not maintained in the winter and become impassable when snow is on the ground:
- Platte Clove Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Roaring Kill Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Russell Brook Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Mary Smith Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Ploutz Road - Dry Brook Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Middletown)
The Gates at Alder Lake (Balsam Lake Wild Forest) and Onteora Lake (Bluestone Wild Forest) have been closed for the winter season.
Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. 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 also 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 at the CIC in Mount Tremper, NY.
Winterize Your Car: Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order before you head out in this cold weather. Carry a survival kit (sleeping bag, blanket, extra jacket, hat, gloves, hand warmers, etc) should you become stuck with your vehicle or are unable to start it.
The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park - please be sure to take all of your trash home and be sure to Leave No Trace during your visit to the Park.
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
For More Information: Visit the Maurice D Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center located 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. The CIC is the Visitor Center for the Catskill Park. Staff and volunteers can provide trail information and updates. The CIC's Gift Shop carries trail maps, trail guides and other last minute items for purchase and through the Catskill Interpretive Center's online store.