February 26, 2017 – Woodbury, NY
Length: approximately 2.5 miles
Route type: circuit
There are numerous mines all throughout Harriman State Park. I have visited a few of them and some are easier to get to than others. Cranberry Mine is located near the Silver Mine Picnic Area along Seven Lakes Drive in Harriman State Park. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, extensive iron mining and exploration activity took place along the southeast side of Cranberry Hill in present-day Woodbury Township, New York.
It was a frigid Sunday morning with temps in the low 20’s and windy. We felt the chill as soon as we got out of the car. I had Bronchitis which had sapped my strength, but I was determined to get a hike in on this day. The hike I had originally planned was longer and included Black Mountain and Letterrock Mountain. My intention was to play it by ear and see how far I could go in my condition. We crossed the road and headed for the brown wooden sign just across Seven Lakes Drive. Just a few feet past the sign, in the woods, is an old woods road, where we turned right and began to head east.
This road was lined with telephone poles, which gave me the impression that at one time it was a main road, possibly used for transporting mining materials. This road is not maintained by the park and it appeared to be seldom traveled. It was swampy in some sections, with standing water about 6 inches deep in some other areas. We also saw fresh bear scat along the trail twice, which caused some apprehension. Black bears often travel along the same trails that hikers use and seeing the scat on the trail, we did not know if it was traveling in the same direction as us. Nevertheless, I try to always stay on point, but not being at full strength, I was hoping not to run into any critters. When we arrived at a small stream that ran from North to South, we turned left and headed North uphill along the stream.
From here we had to bushwack along the stream about .3 miles, although it seemed like more. There were plenty of obstacles along the way, but we kept on huffing and puffing up the hill.
We stopped frequently, not only so I could catch my breath, but also to keep an eye out for any bears. Yes, I was a little uneasy about meeting up with one in my weakened state. We tried to stay as close to the stream as possible as we bushwacked through the woods.
Then I saw what appeared to be an old woods road that ran West to East. I looked to my left and saw the mine adit.
It was a short walk to the mine, but I was running out of gas. We walked up the hill towards the opening and then took a rest as we captured some images.
The principal feature of this complex is a horizontal shaft that extends into the hillside for about 200 feet. This mine opening or adit is twenty-two feet wide and about twelve feet high, while the interior shaft is twelve feet wide. A cut stone wall, bonded with cement and containing an iron plate door, was built across the entrance to the mine around 1920. The mine was used to store dynamite by park officials until the 1930s. The iron door at the mine entrance has been torn open. The horizontal shaft extends into the hillside as a level passage for about 100 feet. Here, there is a branch shaft which goes off to the right for about 30 feet.
Lenik, Edward J.. Iron Mine Trails (Kindle Locations 1578-1583). New York – New Jersey Trail Conference.
The steel door has been replaced with a bat gate. Due to declining bat populations over the years caused by a disease known as WNS or White Nose Syndrome, some mines have been closed to visitors during hibernating months. We did not attempt to enter the mine. There are other remnants of mining activity in the area, but we did not seek them out as I was feeling worn down and decided it was best to head back. We retraced our steps along the stream and came out onto Seven Lakes Drive. We crossed the road and walked past the cable barrier onto Silver Mine Road which was built in 1934 by workers of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. We walked to the edge of Queensboro Brook and rested briefly. At this point I knew that I didn’t have much left in the tank and decided it was best to head back to the vehicle.
We walked west on Silver Mine Road which runs parallel to Seven Lakes Drive in this area. We passed a boarded up stone comfort station which sits alongside the road.
When Silver Mine Road began to veer away from Seven Lakes Drive, we bushwacked up towards the road and walked about .4 miles back to the parking area.
I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t do a longer hike, but I still enjoyed myself and we didn’t run into any bears. I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Now get out there and take a hike!
Pros: Harriman State Park, abandoned mine, bushwacking, secluded, ample parking.
Cons: bushwacking, no marked trails, short road walk.