The warm temperatures are coming to an end this evening and winter is returning to the Catskills! Rain will start this evening and quickly transition to snow, with heavy snow expected in the mountains all day Friday. Total accumulations of 10-18 inches are possible with more at the highest elevations! The storm will make travel difficult, including on Saturday morning, as it is unlikely that all trailheads will be plowed out before the weekend. Extensive ice on trails will be covered by deep snow on Saturday, so snowshoes will be needed on all trails this weekend and crampons may be needed in some areas to climb icy areas.
Forecast: Rain will start Thursday night with temperatures steadily dropping to below freezing and the rain changing to snow. In the mountains, snow will fall all day on Friday with 10-18 inches of snow expected across the region. The high friday will be around freezing and the low will be in the upper 20s. Lighter snow, snow showers and snow flurries will continue throughout Friday night into Saturday morning. Saturday will be very windy with a high in the lower 30s and a low Saturday night in the mid-20s. Expect partly sunny conditions on Sunday with a high near freezing.
Warning: Friday's storm will leave significant snow across the Catskill Mountains and will make travel conditions very difficult. You should expect full winter conditions on the mountains this weekend and you will need snowshoes.
Expect Winter Conditions: Following today's storm, snow depths will exceed 12 inches in almost all areas, with even more snow depth at the highest elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow information. The use of snowshoes is warranted throughout the region 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). Crampons should be carried and used in icy areas (of which there are many).
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: Tomorrow's storm will leave a foot to possibly two feet of snow across the Catskills. All trails will be snow covered to a depth that requires snowshoes. In addition there are extensive icy areas that will not be covered by snow and may require crampons to climb, even with the snowfall.
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.