May 28, 2016 – Harriman State Park, Orange County, NY
Length: approximately 3 miles
Route type: out and back
I like to check out interesting places when I hike. If a hike doesn’t have a payoff then it’s just a walk in the woods. So I decided that I will begin to explore some of the mines that occupy Harriman State Park. The first mine that I wanted to visit was the Bradley Mine which is supposed to be the largest of all the mines in Harriman. There is not a lot of information available online about this particular mine. Here is some info that I dug up, but I am not sure how accurate it is. Bradley Mine is the largest of the mines in Harriman and was mined for iron ore by the Parrott brothers during the Civil War. These two brothers owned most, if not all of the mines in Harriman. The iron mined here was sent to nearby Greenwood Furnace, where it was made into munitions during the Civil War.
Alright, with a little history out of the way, mines are kind of cool because they are like caves and who doesn’t like caves? This hike started from the Tiorati Lake Recreation Area which is located right by Tiorati Circle. From Memorial Day to Labor Day there is a parking fee of $10.00 per car, unless you have an Empire Passport, which costs $65.00 and provides unlimited day use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is well worth having one of these.
Upon entering the parking area, we parked on the right side facing the woods because we would start off by following the blue blazes of the Lake Tiorati Trail. The trailhead is just to the right of this sign.
We searched for the faded blue blazes as we walked up the hill. The trail initially leads towards the road and then bears left and into the woods.
The trail then climbs to the crest of Fingerboard Mountain, paralleling Arden Valley Road. After about 1/3 of a mile we came upon an old water tank on the left.
Directly in front where the Lake Tiorati Trail ended was a newer water tank.
We turned right here onto the white blazed Appalachian Trail (AT) and the red dot on white blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail.
We walked briefly on the AT/R-D trail until we came to a chain across the trail.
The trail crosses Arden Valley Road here, but we turned left for a road walk at this point.
After a short walk downhill, the Long Path (teal blazes) crosses the road. It is not too long after this point where we came to an unblazed trail on the right. The trail is directly to the left of this sign and boulder.
The trail was very steep with a lot of loose rocks and soil. We took our time and paid careful attention to not kick any loose stones back onto those behind us.
Once at the top of this short, but steep climb I looked to my right and I could see a narrow path between two vertical rock faces, which led to the mine.
Immediately I could feel a cool breeze emanating from the narrow crevice. After working up a sweat in 87 degree heat, that felt nice. The closer we got to the mine the cooler it got. It felt like we had walked into an air conditioned room. I made plenty of noise as we approached the mine just in case there were any critters lurking around in there, I did not want to surprise and/or corner them.
The closer we got, the colder the air got. All of a sudden I could see the opening of the mine. It was dark and there was a glare from the morning sun which made it appear foggy around the entrance.
I entered inside, but even with my headlamp and flashlight visibility was poor. There was a hole in the ceiling of the mine which let some light in which caused a glare inside and gave an eerie feel to it.
These are some more images taken from inside Bradley Mine.
To get an idea of how cavernous this mine is I added an image of me as I was venturing inside.
After spending some time inside and hearing some strange noises, It was time to leave. These are some images from the entrance of Bradley Mine as we made our way back.
After retracing our steps and making it back to the Lake Tiorati parking area, we broke out the food and drink. We relaxed in the shade for a while until I decided I wanted to go back and take some more photographs. At this time it was afternoon and the sun had shifted. I figured I could get some better shots. As it turned out I was on my own for the return visit. Hiking alone I was able to move a little faster and was back within the hour. A few more images below.
That’s all for today. Until next time, happy trails.