July 24, 2022 – Southfields, NY
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Length: Approximately 3 miles
Max elevation: 1,131 ft. – total elevation gain approximately 375 ft.
Route type: Lollipop Loop
Buy Maps (Paper & Avenza): Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map #119
Free Web Map: Harriman State Park Trail Map 2017
Free Avenza App Map: Harriman State Park Trail Map 2017
Trailhead parking: 1369 Kanawauke Rd, Southfields, NY, 10975
Gravel parking lot – no bathrooms on site
There are over 20 known mines in Harriman State Park and they are always interesting places to hike to. The Boston Mine is situated within a belt of magnetite which is referred to as the Greenwood group of mines. it is located on the Dunning Trail, about three-quarters of a mile north of County Route 106 and a short distance to the east of an old woods road known as the Island Pond Road. According to historian James M. Ransom, the Boston Mine was worked around 1880. The ore extracted from this mine was sent to the Clove Furnace at Arden, New York to be smelted.
Please Note: Trail distances denoted below are in relation to this hike only and not the total distance of the trails.
- White Bar Trail (horizontal white bar – 1 mile) ~ The White Trail descends from Car Pond Mountain and travels through the Hikers Parking Lot on CR 106, crosses the road and heads north through a wide valley. The trail runs primarily along an old woods road that narrows to a footpath in certain places. In areas where the trail becomes extremely narrow, it is slightly overgrown. The trail is well marked with the horizontal white bars and some of the older blazes have “W-B” written on them.
- Dunning Trail (yellow – 0.62 mile) ~ The Dunning Trail runs southeast to northwest, connecting the White Bar Trail to Island Pond Road. The trail runs over undulating terrain, soon descending to the left of the Boston Mine just before reaching Island Pond Road. The trail is well marked in most places.
- Nurian Trail (vertical white blazes – 0.5 mile) ~ The Nurian Trail is coaligned briefly with Island Pond Road as it heads south, then leaves the road and continues on a footpath through dense thickets of mountain laurel, crossing a narrow ridge in a stand of hemlocks. It joins the White Bar Trail for about 525 feet before leaving to the left. The trail is well marked with vertical white blazes. The trail is narrow in some areas where you may come in contact with some of the overgrowth.
On a day with heat and air advisories, I wanted to do an easy hike with minimal elevation gain. I have hiked this area several times and am familiar with it. With some connecting trails and woods roads in the vicinity, there are numerous options for length, level of difficulty and routes to take. I decided to play it by ear depending how hot it got during the hike. This was the end result, a moderately easy 3 mile loop that consisted of a walk in the woods, with a brief stop at the Boston Mine.
I wore shorts on this hike instead of the usual convertible pants and soon regretted it. Some sections of the White Bar and Nurian Trails were slightly overgrown and brushing up against the tall grass that overlapped the trail was a little annoying. We also saw bear scat three different times, once on each of the three trails that we hiked. Since we started the hike at about 8am on a Sunday morning, I cleared a lot of the spider webs from the trails with my face.
This hike was a counterclockwise lollipop loop beginning at the Hikers Trailhead Parking on CR 106.
As shown on the elevation graph, just some minor ups and downs on this hike.
From the parking area, cross the road and bear left onto the White Bar Trail, blazed with white horizontal rectangles (some of which may be marked with the letters “W-B”). The trail parallels the road for about 500 feet, then turns right, crosses a stream on a metal culvert, and continues on a woods road. A short distance beyond, it bears right at a fork, crosses a stream on rocks, and continues along a grassy woods road.
The White Bar Trail was first marked in 1921-22 by the Boy Scouts.
In a quarter mile, the white-blazed Nurian Trail joins from the right (both trails are blazed white, but the Nurian blazes are vertical, rather than horizontal). Continue ahead on the woods road for about 500 feet to where the two trails split. The Nurian Trail which veers left, will be your return route, but for now, stay to the right to remain on the White Bar Trail, which continues ahead on the woods road.
In 1922, this area was the site of the Boy Scouts’ Camp Deerslayer, a part of their White Bar Trail system. In 1926, Camp Deerslayer was moved to Parker Cabin Hollow.
The White Bar Trail heads north through a wide valley. The trail becomes a narrow footpath in places. In areas where the trail becomes extremely narrow, it is slightly overgrown. The White Bar Trail crosses an intermittent stream on rocks, climbs briefly then levels off.
After turning sharp right, the White Bar Trail descends gradually then climbs a little before leveling off again.
Approximately 1.1 miles from the trailhead, the White Bar Trail reaches a T-intersection with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. Turn left and follow the yellow blazes in a westerly direction. The Dunning Trail soon descends into a valley, passing a large cliff along the way. The trail then climbs to a ridge, from where it descends to the base of the Boston Mine.
Black Bears often overturn rocks to scavenge for insects.
Ore tailings near Boston Mine.
This mine is a large open cut into the hillside that is partially filled with water. It is reached by a short path to the right of the trail. It was last worked around 1880.
The mine entrance is usually quite wet, with a water-filled pit at the northern end. Please exercise caution in the vicinity of the mine and do not approach the water-filled pit.
The mine opening consists of a large open cut, about 100 feet long, which extends north to south within a low ridge. At its northern end, the open cut becomes a shaft which extends into the rock ridge for about 30 feet.
When you are done checking out this interesting historical feature, return to the Dunning Trail and continue ahead for another 150 feet, where the Dunning Trail reaches Island Pond Road and turns left. Head south on Island Pond Road and in a short distance when the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail turns right, continue straight ahead. A short distance later the Nurian Trail, which comes in from the right and follows Island Pond Road briefly before turning left, leaving the woods road. Turn left on the white-blazed Nurian Trail.
The Nurian Trail descends gently on a footpath heading in a southerly direction through a dense thicket of mountain laurel. It soon crosses a narrow ridge in a stand of hemlocks. In about a 1/2-mile, the Nurian Trail comes to the junction with the White Bar Trail that you passed at the beginning of the hike.
When the Nurian Trail turns right and joins the White Bar Trail, turn right and follow the coaligned trails, now retracing your steps from the start of the hike.
When the Nurian Trail leaves to the left, continue straight ahead to remain on the White Bar Trail and follow the horizontal white bars back to the parking area, where the hike began.
A nice hike in some peaceful woods. I recommend long pants and/or bug spray during the warmer months. It seems that we broke trail that morning by the amount of spider webs I took to the face. We didn’t see anyone on the trails that we hiked, except for a pair near the trailhead right at the start. Boston Mine with its history, is a worthwhile destination on its own, and along with the scenic woods, makes for a few good hours spent outdoors.
Boston Mine, glacial erratics and interesting rock formations, well marked trails, little to no foot traffic.
Some road noise (mostly from motorcycles) from CR 106 can be heard the closer you are to the trailhead.
Take a hike!
- New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
- Harriman State Park
- Lenik, Edward J.. Iron Mine Trails . New York – New Jersey Trail Conference. Kindle Edition.
- Myles, William J.; Chazin, Daniel. Harriman Trails: A Guide and History . New York – New Jersey Trail Conference. Kindle Edition.