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Winter Car Camping - Catskills

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  • Winter Car Camping - Catskills

    What's up Highpeaks forum. I'm posting a question I know has been answered here before but not in a while.
    So I've built my self a custom conversion van for recreation, and I'm keen to get up and do some winter hiking. But I don't know any good spots for drive in camping in the winter.
    My question to community:
    what are good places to drive in camp in the winter in the Catskills?
    (I have RWD van, with All-terrain tires, and chains, don't want to push it with deep snow, but am prepared for some marginal conditions)
    Somewhere legal would be nice, I am OK with stealth and have done it in the past (out west) but would prefer a place where I could maybe use a fire pit.
    I've done a fair bit of hiking in the past, but have been laid up recovering from ankle surgery, i'm finally healthy again and am actually beginning to train for another thru hike next year.
    Much appreciate any insight and if anyone wanted to join for my training hikes they are welcome! I'll be starting off slow and easy and ramping up as I get into shape (and feel confident in my new ankle tendons, ha!)
    In the absence of any advice, my plan is to pay camp at somewhere at a private campground, like Bluemountain and explore from there.

  • #2
    You might want to look into Kelly Hollow. There is car camping not far from the official parking lot; there's a trail through the woods that connects the two areas. The area is level between the lot and camp area and, if the snow is still minimal, you can actually drive into the camping area if you've got a decent vehicle for the conditions. In the past this parking lot has always been plowed so it should work for you. I've used this area with many winter camping classes over the years; although we've always hiked/snowshoed in the couple of miles to get to the lean-to at the top of the hill.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next well.



    • #3
      Chains are awesome but they can get you stuck because you think you can go anywhere, you can't...and steering on ice can be a problem.
      I car camped in rwd vans and a step van for many years. Fire pit? Your own portable or one in place where you camp? I often used a steel drum with holes in the sides [middle and near bottom] and kept a smoldering, unless cooking, fire in it and set a grill on top where 24/7 I kept water on it warming so when I came back from say snowshoeing in -20 or so weather I was a tea bag away from a warm I had coals ready to build a fire for heat and cooking.
      I can't give you good info on Catskill camping, sorry.
      Sleeping in the van? I always did it cold. Put tarps out around the sides, spring clamp or even better c-clamp, them on to roof gutter and tie other sides to trees to keep snow off of everything and giving you a clear walking space around at least one side and the back of the van.
      Keep one side and back doors open to prevent frost buildup from your breath. Put weighted mosquito netting over those open door spaces to keep snow out. Use Rubbermaid style storage containers and set them outside giving you more room in the van and keeping stuff both dry and organized.


      • #4
        Just a few weeks ago I saw a bunch of car campers right on Peekamoose Rd (not sure about if those are designated sites with firepits there, or if those spots are plowed out in winter), but one other site I definitely plan on at some point myself is the Denning Rd designated site right on the neversink before the trailhead for Table/Peekamoose and Slide. I'm almost certain there was a nice firepit there, and Im thinking that spot might not be that bad to dig out the snowbank a little to pull in or out after a storm.
        35er #3133
        46er #11779

        "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"


        • #5
          Welcome to the Forum, Roberto! There have been a few posts over the years about designated primitive car camping sites in the Catskills. Many were discussed in the thread at the link below. Good luck and enjoy!

          We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige