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Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive

New York's Catskill Park

Old, haunted New York mountains, thick with legend.

by: Mark Stover

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Contact Information:

For Sullivan and Ulster Counties: Department of Environmental Conservation Region 3 Headquarters 21 S. Putt Corners Rd. New Paltz, NY 12561 (914) 256-3000 For Delaware and Greene Counties: Department of Environmental Conservation Region 4 Subregion Office Jefferson Rd. Stamford, NY 12167 (607) 652-7364

Location: Catskill Park is in southern New York, 100 miles from New York City. If park visitors are looking for a local town, Hunter is a good bet for lodging and restaurants.

Getting There: From the New York City area, take I-87 north to Kingston. Rt. 28 will then take you into the heart of the park. From New England, take I-90 west to I-87, and then south to the park.

Seasonal Information: Fall is the recommended season to visit. Fall temperatures are generally in the 60s in the day and in the 30s at night.

Winter can bring extreme conditions, and spring -- particularly around June -- has the disadvantage of black flies.

For recorded weather information, call (518) 476-1122 for Albany; (914) 331-5555 or (914) 331-1494 for Kingston; or (914) 791-9555 for Sullivan County.

Wildlife: Whitetail deer, fox, coyote, and hawks call the Catskills home.

Insects: No information is available.

Plant Life: The valley below is low, rolling land covered with hemlock and birch. Along with wildflowers, there are also spruce and maple.

Facilities: There are quite a few designated campgrounds in the park.

Otherwise, camping is primitive backcountry at dispersed lean-tos in the Catskills. But it is recommended that travelers bring a tent, since there may not be any vacancies.

Parking: No information available.

Permits: Permits are necessary for groups of 10 or more, or for more than three nights' stay. They must be obtained from the DEC forest ranger nearest to your trailhead.

Policies:

  • Camping above 3,500 feet is prohibited between March 20 and December 20, except in an emergency.
  • Building an open fire above 3,500 feet is prohibited.

Hazards: Be prepared for the worst in terms of weather. Winter hikers should carry snowshoes unless you know you won't need them.

Leave No Trace:

All LNT guidelines apply.

Maps: The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference's Catskill Forest Preserve maps are topographic maps that show existing and proposed trails as well as private-land boundaries. They are available from:

NY/NJ Trail Conference 232 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10016 (212) 685-9699.

Guide to Catskill Trails and Hiking the Catskills, published by the NY/NJ Trail Conference, are excellent sources.


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bigsilk
Mar 31, 2012

No info on insects? Mosquitoes and black flies. The latter HURT!

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