The Catskills region, nestled in upstate New York, is a year-round destination that offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, a tranquil escape, or a cultural experience, the Catskills region has it all and more.
However, the timing of your visit can greatly affect your experience.
In this article, we’ll explore the best time of year to visit the Catskills, focusing on the weather, seasonal activities, annual events, and accommodation options to help you plan your perfect getaway. Plus, we take a look a detailed look at each season in the Catskills to help you decide when is the ideal time to visit according to your personal preferences.
Keep reading to learn all about the best times of year to visit the Catskills!
An Overview of the General Weather in the Catskills
Before diving into the specific seasons, let’s get a general sense of the weather in the Catskills.
This region experiences all four distinct seasons, each with its own unique charm. The Catskills’ weather is influenced by its elevation, with temperatures generally cooler compared to lower-lying areas.
Here’s a brief overview of the average temperatures in the Catskills throughout the year:
- Spring (March to May): Temperatures range from the high 30s into the low 60s during the spring months in the Catskills. This time of year also tends to be cloudier than the summer and fall months, making it perfect for anyone who enjoys cooler outdoor temperatures with plenty of shade to stay out of the hot sun.
- Summer (June to August): During the summer months in the Catskills, you can expect temperatures to fall between the low 60s to high 80s. Though this region can experience hotter weather and fairly high humidity, the outdoor temperature rarely exceeds the high 80s into the low 90s. The summer weather can also bring about more rain than other seasons.
- Fall (September to November): The fall months in the Catskills allow you to enjoy cooler temperatures ranging from the low 70s in the earlier months and the high to low 40s in the later months. Fall can also be a rainy time of year in the Catskills, though overall cloudiness is often at its lowest during this time of the year.
- Winter (December to February): Be prepared for cold weather during the winter months in the Catskills, with temperatures often below freezing and ranging between the high 30s to the low 20s and teens. During this time of the year, you can expect between 5” to 10” of snowfall on the colder days when you may typically experience rain in the warmer months.
What is the Weather Like During Each Season of the Catskills?
Now that we have covered the basics of the climate in the Catskills, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from each season’s weather:
Spring in the Catskills
Spring in the Catskills is a time of renewal and rebirth. As the snow melts and the days grow longer, the landscape bursts into a riot of color. This season is perfect for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and birdwatchers. The weather is generally mild, making it comfortable for outdoor activities.
Here is an overview of how springtime impacts your adventures in the Catskills:
- Outdoor Activities: Spring is an excellent time for hiking in the Catskills. Trails like Kaaterskill Falls and Overlook Mountain provide stunning views of cascading waterfalls and budding forests. Birdwatching is also popular as migratory birds return to the region.
- Wildlife: Spring is a prime time for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled for black bears, deer, and a variety of bird species. It is also important to keep your wits about you, as animals during mating season can also be more aggressive.
- Annual Events: Consider timing your visit with the annual Catskills Trout Tales event, which celebrates the opening of trout fishing season.
Summer in the Catskills
Summer is peak tourist season in the Catskills — and for a good reason.
The weather is warm, and the landscape is lush and green. This is the ideal time for outdoor adventurers, water enthusiasts, and those looking for a bustling atmosphere.
Here is what you can expect from summer in the Catskills:
- Outdoor Activities: Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are all popular summer activities. The Catskills boast numerous trails, including the Escarpment Trail and Devil’s Path, which offer challenging terrain and breathtaking views.
- Water Recreation: Cool off in the Catskills’ many rivers and lakes. Fishing, kayaking, and tubing are popular water activities during the summer months. Always take the proper safety precautions when swimming in any body of water, such as wearing a life jacket and adventuring with other people when out on the water.
- Annual Events: Don’t miss the Belleayre Music Festival, which features live music performances in a picturesque outdoor setting. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum also hosts events and workshops for anglers.
Fall in the Catskills
Fall is arguably the most enchanting season in the Catskills.
The foliage transforms the landscape into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow hues. This is the best time to witness the region’s natural beauty and enjoy a serene escape.
Consider the following factors that make fall in the Catskills so wonderful:
- Foliage Viewing: The Catskills are renowned for their fall foliage. Take scenic drives along Route 23A or Route 28 for spectacular views, or embark on a hike to get up close to the colorful leaves. Make sure to bring a camera with you to snap some stunning pictures while you’re out!
- Harvest Season: Autumn is the prime time to visit if you are interested in the local food and farming scene in the Catskills. Visit local farms and orchards to pick your apples and pumpkins while savoring fresh cider and other seasonal treats.
- Annual Events: The Catskills offer various fall festivals, including Oktoberfest celebrations, craft fairs, and art expos. Make sure to check the event calendar for specific dates.
Winter in the Catskills
Winter in the Catskills transforms the region into a snow-covered wonderland. While it’s the least crowded season, it’s a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
Here’s what to expect from the Catskills during the winter months:
- Snow Sports: The Catskills offer excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Resorts like Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain provide various slopes for all skill levels. Plus, you can find a variety of snowboarding and skiing classes if you are a beginner who wants to learn!
- Cozy Getaways: What’s better than cozying up by a fire surrounded by your loved ones as snow falls outside? Winter is perfect for romantic getaways in cozy cabins or lodges. Enjoy the warmth of a fireplace and stunning snowy views during your stay in the Catskills.
- Annual Events: Participate in winter-themed events like ice skating, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. The Catskills also host holiday markets and festivals.
Annual Special Events in the Catskills
We have already touched on a few of the annual events the Catskills has to offer — but the region has plenty more where that came from! As a hub of activity and culture, there is no shortage of exciting events and adventures to enjoy throughout the year in the Catskills.
Here are four of the most iconic annual events in the Catskills:
- Catskills International Film Festival: Film enthusiasts should aim to visit the Catskills in September to attend or participate in the Catskills International Film Festival. This festival showcases independent films and hosts discussions with filmmakers.
- Taste of the Catskills: Held in the fall, the Taste of the Catskills event features local food and beverage vendors, live music, and family-friendly activities. This festival is hosted by the Maple Shade Farm, a family-run farm in Delhi.
- Woodstock Film Festival: In October, this renowned Woodstock Film Festival brings filmmakers, celebrities, and film enthusiasts to the area for screenings, panels, and discussions. The festival is held in Woodstock, NY, less than 30 minutes from the Catskills.
- Bethel Woods Center for the Arts: Though not an event in and of itself, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a hub of activity for events, concerts, and other exciting community gatherings. Check their schedule for events and art exhibitions throughout the year.
Where to Stay in the Catskills?
If you plan on visiting the Catskills during the warmer times of the year, it is essential to embrace the outdoor adventurer within you and go on a camping trip.
Covered Bridge Campsite is one of the top campgrounds in the Catskills, offering tent sites, RV sites, and glamping sites. Located in the Western Catskills, Covered Bridge Campsite is conveniently located near a creek known for its world-class fly fishing. Plus, the campground is surrounded by more than 500 acres of pristine forest preserve land, which includes hiking trails and waterfalls.
For our non-campers, there are plenty of other great accommodations in the Catskills area, including:
- Rustic Cabins: For a secluded, nature-immersed experience, consider renting a cabin in the woods. It’s perfect for couples and families seeking tranquility.
- Bed and Breakfasts: Experience the charm of historic homes converted into welcoming B&Bs. These often come with personalized service and homemade breakfasts.
- Resorts: Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, and Mohonk Mountain House offer luxurious accommodations with amenities like spa services and fine dining.
- Hotels: You’ll find hotels in various price ranges throughout the region, including chain hotels and boutique options.
The Catskills is a fantastic year-round destination, offering both outdoor and indoor fun alike.
Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of fall, the snow-covered serenity of winter, the blooming beauty of spring, or the bustling activities of summer, the Catskills have something to offer in every season. Be sure to plan your visit based on your interests and desired activities, and don’t forget to check the event calendar for special events that might enhance your trip.
With the right timing and accommodation, your Catskills adventure is sure to be a memorable one.