It is really amazing out here in the mountains now! Now that the first real snow has arrived in the Catskills, it’s time to break out the snowshoes and cross country skis, grab your camera and get out there!
With the right equipment, anyone can have an amazing time!
If your idea of snowshoes is still oversize wooden tennis rackets, you have to look again. Snowshoeing is easier and more fun than ever. New snowshoes are lighter and have teeth to keep the traction on the uphills. Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor, the Storehouse in Phoenicia and Mountain Trails in Tannersville are some local outfitters that rent snowshoes, a great way to give it a try. You can snowshoe just about anywhere you can hike, but Rail Trails are great for snow shoeing and Palmer Hill and Shavertown are places we’ve enjoyed lately.
Cross Country Skiing has also seen improvements in equipment. Again, you can rent equipment to give it a try — cross country skiing is free at Belleayre Mountain and ski rentals are available at Jimmy’s Ski Shop at the base of Belleayre. Other great places to ski for free are the Catskills Scenic Trail (packed down by snowmobiles — you’ll be sharing the trail with these courteous folks who have a different idea of outdoor recreation from us) and the Andes Rail Trail. Mountain Trails in Tannersville has ski rentals and groomed trails. And new, this winter, the Storehouse in Phoenicia is renting skis.
CMC Board Member and NYNJ Trail Conference Senior Program Coordinator, Jeff Senterman, has some great winter hiking tips in the blog, Adventures in the Outdoors.
The NYNJ Trail Conference maintains a Catskill Mountain Trail conditions page here, and the 3500 Club has a summary of winter trailhead parking area plowing here – keep in mind it may not be 100% accurate any given year — you should always carry a shovel because you might even need to dig out of a parking area after your hike.