Bear Mountain Summit Loop

September 17, 2022 – Stony Point, NY

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate

Length: Approximately 2.7 miles

Max elevation: 1,289 ft. – total elevation gain approximately 494 ft.

Route type: Circuit

Buy Maps (Paper & Avenza): Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map #119

Free Bear Mountain Summit Trail Map: Bear Mountain Hikes, NY

Free Bear Mountain Summit Avenza Map: Bear Mountain Hikes, NY

Free Web Map: Bear Mountain State Park Trail Map 2019

Free Avenza App Map: Bear Mountain State Park Trail Map 2019

Trailhead parking: Perkins Memorial Drive, Stony Point, NY 10980

Paved parking lot – bathrooms on site


Park Overview:

The 5,205-acre Bear Mountain State Park is situated in rugged mountains rising from the west bank of the Hudson River. The Perkins Memorial Tower at the summit of Bear Mountain gives visitors spectacular views of the park, the Hudson Highlands and the rolling hills of Harriman State Park. A scenic drive to the top of the mountain, along Perkins Memorial Drive, is a very popular destination in the park for tourists and sightseers. Perkins Memorial Drive and Tower are open from April through late November, weather permitting.

The park includes Bear Mountain as well as Dunderberg Mountain and West Mountain. Fort Montgomery is adjacent to the north edge of the park while Iona Island Bird Sanctuary is on the eastern edge on the Hudson River. Bear Mountain State Park is a separate entity from the adjacent Harriman State Park which runs along the western edge of the park, but are managed as a single unit.

Bear Mountain State Park is 45 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Highlands. One of the most visited parks in the Northeast, Bear Mountain hosts more than 3 million annual visitors. Bear Mountain is accessible by car and bus and is a popular day use park. It’s sometimes too popular; the state occasionally shuts the park down to control crowds during the warmer months.


History:

During the American Revolution, when control of the Hudson River was viewed by the British as essential to dominating the American territories, the area that was to become the park saw several significant military engagements. In 1777 British troops routed Patriots at Fort Montgomery. Anthony Wayne’s attack of the British fort at Stony Point moved colonial troops to the west of Bear Mountain.

In 1908, the State of New York announced plans to relocate Sing Sing Prison to Bear Mountain. Work was begun in the area near Highland Lake (renamed Hessian Lake) and in January 1909, the state purchased the 740-acre Bear Mountain tract. Conservationists inspired by the work of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission lobbied successfully for the creation of the Highlands of the Hudson Forest Preserve, stopping the prison from being built.

Mary Averell Harriman, whose husband, Union Pacific Railroad president E. H. Harriman died in September of that year, offered the state another 10,000 acres and one million dollars toward the creation of a state park. George W. Perkins, with whom she had been working, raised another $1.5 million from a dozen wealthy contributors including John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.

Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park became a reality the following year when the prison was demolished and a dock built for steamboat excursion traffic. The park opened in June 1913. Steamboats alone brought more than 22,000 passengers to the park that year. Camping at Hessian Lake (and later at Lake Stahahe) was immensely popular; the average stay was eight days and was a favorite for Boy Scouts. By 1914 it was estimated that more than a million people a year were coming to the park.

In the 1930’s the federal government under Franklin D. Roosevelt was developing plans to preserve the environment as part of the Depression-era public works programs; the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration spent five years on projects at the park. Pump houses, reservoirs, sewer systems, vacation lodges, bathrooms, homes for park staff, storage buildings and an administration building were all created through these programs. Both the Perkins Memorial Drive and Perkins Memorial Tower were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1932 and 1934. The winding, steep drive was dynamited out of Bear Mountain by 1,500 NYS Temporary Relief Workers. Work began on November 21, 1932 and the drive and tower opened on October 31, 1934. President and Mrs. Roosevelt were among the first visitors.

Perkins Memorial Drive 1933 - Palisades Parks Conservancy

Perkins Memorial Drive 1933 – Palisades Parks Conservancy

Perkins Memorial Tower was built with funds provided by the Perkins family. The tower is 65 feet high and 30’x30′ at the base. It was constructed of native stone from a quarry at the base of Bear Mountain.

Perkins Memorial Tower - Bear Mountain

Perkins Memorial Tower – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail~

It was in Bear Mountain State Park back in 1923 when the very first section of the Appalachian Trail was built and blazed. It officially opened on October 7, 1923 and served as a pattern for the other sections of the trail developed independently by local and regional organizations and later by the federal government. The Appalachian Trail has been re-routed numerous times on Bear Mountain since its founding in 1923 due to erosion caused from 100,000+ hikers a year.

In the fall of 2018, the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference completed the Bear Mountain Trails Project, the most ambitious rehabilitation of the Appalachian Trail (AT) ever conducted. Of the entire 2,200 miles of the AT, the section that runs through Bear Mountain State Park is the oldest and most heavily used. Over 90 years ago, it was Trail Conference volunteers who blazed this original portion of the AT and opened it to the public. By 2004, the Bear Mountain trail had become an eroded, 10-foot-wide scar.

Work on the trail included hardening the tread with 1,300 granite steps, each of which weighed between 500 and 800 pounds and needed to be moved from the bottom of Bear Mountain to the summit. The project also included constructing the first ADA-compliant section of the AT.

The first section of the Appalachian Trail relocation was opened on June 5th, 2010 (National Trails Day) and consisted of roughly 700 steps. A second section including an A.T. loop and nearly 1/2 mile of fully accessible trail on the top of Bear Mountain was officially opened on June 6th, 2011 (National Trails Day).


Trails Overview:

There are over 50 official trails covering over 235 miles, featuring a wide range of difficulties and elevation changes.

The Appalachian Trail passes through old-growth forest on its way to Perkins Memorial Tower atop Bear Mountain, with scenic overlooks and spectacular views of the Hudson River and Dunderberg, Bald, and West mountains along the way. The tower can also be reached by car, and a portion of the path at the summit is wheelchair accessible.

Bear Mountain Summit Trails

Bear Mountain Summit Trails


Hike Overview:

I have been at the summit of Bear Mountain more times than I can count. I have always driven to the top to enjoy the views from Perkins Tower and the viewpoint just off the parking lot where the crowds seem to gather. I had never bothered to explore the trails around the summit until last year. Dealing with some health issues, I wanted to get outdoors and enjoy some Hudson Valley views without the physical exertion required on a hike. Walking around on the summit led me to the western side of the mountain where the AT passes through as well as a couple of blue connector trails. I have since returned several times to explore a little more and decided to do a short loop hike utilizing the AT and the abandoned section Perkins Memorial Drive to link it together.

This hike descends stone steps down to an abandoned section of Perkins Memorial Drive then climbs more stone steps as it regains the elevation lost on the way down. Along the way there are numerous views and little foot traffic. This hike is perfect for the casual hiker or those not seeking a deep woods experience. Depending on the time of day or season, you will encounter hordes of people around the vicinity of Perkins Tower. The farther you move away from that area, the less people you will encounter. We arrived at the summit around 8:30am on a Saturday Morning in late September and there were a few cars already there. By the time we returned to the parking area, around 11:15am, there were many cars, motorcycles, bikes and people milling around enjoying the scenery. My advice is to get there early before the crowds.

Bear Mountain Summit Loop

Bear Mountain Summit Loop

elevation profile - Bear Mountain Summit Loop

elevation profile – Bear Mountain Summit Loop


The Hike:

Across the paved loop road, with Perkins Memorial Tower on your left, there is a kiosk with a map and information on the northwest side of the summit. Just to the right of the kiosk is a fork. The right fork, blazed with the 2″x6″ white blazes of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and the red-ring-on-white blazes of the Major Welch Trail, will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead through the parking lot and if the tower is open, you may want to go inside to check it out.

kiosk - Bear Mountain summit

kiosk – Bear Mountain summit

A.T. Trailhead - Bear Mountain summit

A.T. Trailhead – Bear Mountain summit

Bear Mountain summit

Bear Mountain summit

Bear Mountain summit

Bear Mountain summit

Situated 1,305 feet above the Hudson River, the 360 degree panoramic views from Perkins Tower are spectacular. On a clear day, four states and the Manhattan skyline can be seen from the tower. The observation floor has interpretive displays that describe the distant scenery. Perkins Memorial Tower was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1932 and 1934. The tower was closed when we arrived at approximately 8:30am on a Saturday in September.

Perkins Memorial Tower - Bear Mountain State Park

Perkins Memorial Tower – Bear Mountain State Park

The tower was built to honor the memory of George W. Perkins (1862-1920), the first President of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The tower served as a fire lookout station until the 1950’s. It is now open to the public.

Perkins Memorial Tower – Bear Mountain State Park

Perkins Memorial Tower – Bear Mountain State Park

Continue past the tower and proceed ahead to a broad south-facing viewpoint, with Dunderberg Mountain jutting into the Hudson River to the left. Rustic benches have been placed in this area for visitors to rest and enjoy the views. Note the Manhattan skyline visible in the distance.

rustic bench - Bear Mountain summit

rustic bench – Bear Mountain summit

NYC skyline - Bear Mountain summit

NYC skyline – Bear Mountain summit

Looking south over the Hudson River from Bear Mountain at 8:30am.

Hudson River view - Bear Mountain summit

Hudson River view – Bear Mountain summit

Hudson River view - Bear Mountain summit

Hudson River view – Bear Mountain summit

rustic bench - Bear Mountain summit

rustic bench – Bear Mountain summit

After enjoying the view, head back towards the tower, but bear right at a fork in the path. Directly ahead, on a rock, you’ll notice a plaque placed to commemorate the service of Joseph Bartha as Trails Chairman of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference from 1940 to 1955.

Joseph Bartha Plaque - Bear Mountain Summit

Joseph Bartha Plaque – Bear Mountain Summit

Bear right at the plaque and descend along the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. You now are following a spectacular trail section, opened in stages between 2010 and 2018, that was built over a 13-year period by professional trail builders and AmeriCorps trail crews, along with Trail Conference volunteers.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain Summit

In about half a mile, after having descended nearly 400 stone steps, you’ll reach a viewpoint on the right over Dunderberg Mountain to the southeast. Here, the trail bears left and levels off. It then climbs a little and crosses a stream channeled between two rock slabs.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain Summit

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain Summit

The peak on the left, rising just above the leaves is Bald Mountain. The peak just left of the notch (left of center) is The Timp and West Mountain is the long ridge on the right.

view south - Appalachian Trail

view south – Appalachian Trail

view south – Appalachian Trail

view south – Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

A short distance beyond, the trail descends several long flights of stone steps and crosses an abandoned section of the Perkins Memorial Drive. Here you should turn right, leaving the Appalachian Trail and head in a westerly direction along the asphalt road. You may notice some blue blazes along the way. This section of paved road connects two different sections of the AT.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Turn right at the junction

Turn right at the junction

abandoned Perkins Drive - Bear Mountain

abandoned Perkins Drive – Bear Mountain

The road passes below the tall cliffs that you were just on moments earlier, then runs alongside a stone retaining wall. In about 0.3-mile, the paved road reaches a junction with the other side of the Appalachian Trail. Turn right at the junction as the AT climbs steeply up the mountain on stone steps.

abandoned Perkins Drive - Bear Mountain

abandoned Perkins Drive – Bear Mountain

abandoned Perkins Drive - Bear Mountain

abandoned Perkins Drive – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Follow the white blazes as they climb the stone steps along the southwest slope of Bear Mountain. This section of trail is quite impressive. The way the stone steps snake their way up the mountain is nothing short of spectacular. The workers that built this section were craftsmen and artists.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

As the trail climbs the southwestern slope of Bear Mountain, it passes several rock ledges with open views to the southwest over the rolling hills of Harriman State Park.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

The AT climbs more stone steps and passes massive boulders that form a rock wall.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

The AT descends stone steps, passes through an open area and soon reaches the western summit of Bear Mountain with wide-ranging views. A short distance later the A.T. emerges on a flat pockmarked rock surface with a rustic bench right in the center.

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail - Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

This makes for an excellent place to take a break and enjoy the view. The bulk of the elevation gain for this hike is done once you reach this spot.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

When you are ready to continue, just a few feet from the bench is the start of another blue-blazed trail at a south-facing viewpoint over West Mountain. Follow the blue blazes along this short, but picturesque spur trail. You will return back to the bench when you are done.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Turn right and follow the blue-blazed side trail, which soon emerges on another rock outcrop, with excellent views to the west (Queensboro Lake may be seen below). This side trail follows a former route of the Major Welch Trail and was blazed by volunteers as a side trail to the A.T. to preserve the magnificent views.

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

In 500 feet, the side trail ends at a triple blaze. It looks like you could go a little farther, but we did not go much farther past the end of the trail.

Blue Spur Trail - Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Retrace your steps to the A.T., then turn left and proceed along the A.T. as it heads northeast on a relatively level grade. When the AT reaches a junction with yet another blue-blazed trail, continue ahead following the white blazes. The Blue Trail can be used as a bailout option if one chooses. It ends at the parking area where the hike began. It is also a beautiful section of trail.

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Blue Spur Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

This section of the A.T. features more stone steps, most of which were shaped on-site from native rock. Soon, you’ll pass two huge boulders to the right, with stone steps curving down from the end of the first boulder.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

As the trail reaches the northernmost section of the summit, you can see the damage from a brush fire that occurred in mid August of 2022.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

After ascending stone steps, you’ll reach a spectacular north-facing viewpoint over the Hudson River and the hills of the West Point Military Reservation, with Brooks Lake visible directly below. Ahead, you will see a stone pillar that once marked the boundary between the park and West Point.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

After ascending more stone steps, there is a bench and a viewing platform. This makes for a nice spot to take a break.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

The last third of a mile has been designed to be ADA compliant, thus permitting all users to enjoy a beautiful section of the A.T. Even this trail section has been skillfully designed to blend in with the surroundings.

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Continue following the white blazes along the well-graded gravel path which soon runs jointly with the Major Welch Trail, which comes in from the left. In a short distance, you’ll cross a gravel service road and pass a massive boulder on the left. Atop the boulder are the concrete foundations of a former fire tower (replaced in 1934 by the Perkins Memorial Tower).

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

Just beyond, the Appalachian Trail reaches the paved loop road around the summit, near Perkins Memorial Tower, where the hike began.

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain

ADA Compliant Appalachian Trail – Bear Mountain


Review:

A splendid hike, short but very sweet. I highly recommend this hike. It has so much to offer. Views galore, massive boulders and erratics, and the stone steps are a masterpiece. My advice is to get there early before the crowds come. By 11:15am when we were done, there were quite a few people in the area around Perkins Tower. Not as many as I have seen in days past, but enough that we didn’t stay too long after the hike. Still, a really scenic hike that is doable by most.

Pros:

Views galore, Appalachian Trail, well marked trails, scenic landscape, full and portable restrooms, paved parking lot.

Cons:

The area around Perkins Memorial Tower can get really crowded on nice days.


Take a hike!

Bear Mountain Summit Loop

Bear Mountain Summit Loop


Sources:


Long Path to Gurnee Park from South Mountain Park Trailhead

September‎ ‎5, 2022 – New City, NY

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: Approximately 4.5 miles

Max elevation: 774 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 670 ft.

Route type: Out and back

Buy Map (Paper & Avenza): Hudson Palisades Trails Map #112 (2018)

Free map: South Mountain County Park Trail Map

Trailhead parking: County Route 33, New City, NY 10956

Parking is available for about 20 cars – No restrooms on site

The park is open year-round, from 8am to dusk.

Here are some hikes that are on the same ridge as this one:


Park Overview:

This mountainous ridge within the 239-acre South Mountain County Park is part of the Palisades escarpment, which ends at NY 45 in Mount Ivy. It borders High Tor State Park to the east and Gurnee County Park to the west. From Central Highway (County Route 33), South Mountain County Park runs along the ridge westward for almost two miles to Gurnee County Park. It has several scenic views overlooking Haverstraw and the Hudson River, Mt. Ivy and Thiells, Clarkstown and Orangetown. It is covered with a mature stand of hardwood trees and in season there are blueberries, wild grapes and raspberries.

South Mountain County Park

South Mountain County Park

The 23-acre Gurnee County Park and Amphitheatre is an old quarry arena, having a 40 to 80 foot escarpment as a backdrop. The grounds are hard packed with traprock, and partly covered with brush and small trees. It is at this point that the northern portions of Triassic rock of the Palisades formations dip into the earth, not to reoccur.

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

The western end of this ridge is known as South Mountain and the southeastern peak on the Hudson is known as Hook Mountain. The Long Path Hiking Trail follows along the entire length of the Palisades Ridge.


History:

The Palisades were mined for gravel and building materials through the 1890’s, until the two states formed the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) in 1900 for the purposes of preserving the cliffs. Since that time, significant land donations have been made. The PIPC operates the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey and the State Parks and Historic Sites in New York’s Palisades Region.

The mountain is noted more for the road by the same name that runs along its base and the people who resided off it in Clarkstown. Maxwell Anderson, famous playwright, made the eastern end famous in his play, “High Tor.” An air beacon marked this high point but was constantly vandalized before it was finally removed. Prior to its purchase, the crest of the mountain was approved for the construction of apartment houses. With the aid of federal funds and gifts of adjoining land, this section was purchased in 1975-76. A large tract to the west in the Town of Ramapo was obtained by tax delinquency extending the park from Central Highway to Route 45.


Trails Overview:

Extending 358 miles from the 175th Street Subway Station in New York City to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, NY, the Long Path Trail is a thread connecting many of New York’s parks, preserves, and state forest land. Throughout most of its length, whether on or off the road, the Long Path is indicated by a 2-by-4-inch aqua blaze. At times you may see an official NY-NJ Trail Conference round trail marker. The distinctive aqua (sometimes referred to, incorrectly, in some guidebooks as teal) indicates the Long Path, and only the Long Path.

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

The Long Path enters New York State in Rockland County on the western side of the Hudson River, still following along the Palisades. The trail travels through Tallman Mountain State Park, Blauvelt State Park, Hook Mountain State Park, Rockland Lake State Park and then High Tor State Park, where the Long Path turns west away from the Hudson River to enter South Mountain County Park before it reaches Harriman State Park. It is in Harriman State Park where the Long Path crosses the iconic Appalachian Trail.

The Long Path is the only official trail in South Mountain County Park and Gurnee Park and Amphitheater, but there are various unmarked trails/woods roads along the narrow ridge that can be explored as well. The Long Path is well marked and relatively easy to follow. It could use an extra blaze here or there, but throughout most of its run through the two parks, the trail is obvious and well trodden. The Long Path is maintained by volunteers and member groups of the NY-NJ Trail Conference.


Hike Overview:

With rain in the forecast, there was a window of several hours predicted of dry weather on this Labor Day Monday, I wanted to keep the travel to a minimum. There was light rain the night before and the ground was slightly wet, but it was supposed to resume raining by late morning. I hiked this area in 2018, beginning from Gurnee County Park and wanted to revisit it. A couple of weeks prior, I parked at the same trailhead and took the Long Path in the opposite direction to High Tor and back.

This moderate out and back hike was more rugged than I remembered. It has a lot of ups and downs and it’s quite rocky in some areas. Proper hiking boots with some ankle protection as well as hiking poles are recommended.

This is a straightforward out and back hike that is entirely on the Long Path from County Route 33 to NY-45 and back. We hiked to the old quarry arena in Gurnee County Park, but you can turn back at any time or even extend the hike if you so desire.

Long Path to Gurnee Park from South Mountain Park Trailhead

Long Path to Gurnee Park from South Mountain Park Trailhead

As shown on the elevation profile below, there are continuous ups and downs along the ridge of South Mountain.

elevation profile - South Mountain

elevation profile – South Mountain


The Hike:

Carefully cross the road, heading in a westerly direction into South Mountain County Park. Just past the gate is an unmarked woods road which will be your return route, but for now veer right and follow the aqua blazes as they immediately start to climb on a rocky footpath. The trail snakes through the woods along undulating terrain.

South Mountain County Park

South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

In about a 1/4-mile, the Long Path joins a woods road and immediately leaves again to the right, continuing on a footpath, soon descending and climbing again.

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

In about a mile from the start of the hike, the Long Path passes a southwest-facing viewpoint. The trail continues to climb and descend repeatedly as it heads west along the ridge.

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

In approximately 1.5 miles from the start, the Long Path enters Gurnee County Park. There is no sign or boundary marker indicating when you leave or enter either park.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

A short distance later, the trail begins to descend and comes out to a clearing with a north-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge. Care should be taken around the proximity of the cliff’s edge as there is a lot of loose rock with a steep drop off.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

To the north and northwest are the rolling hills of Harriman State Park. To the northeast is Bear Mountain State Park.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Down below is the quarry arena or “amphitheater” as it is better known.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Looking northeast towards Bear Mountain State Park and the Hudson Highlands.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Continue on the Long Path as it descends toward NY-45 and the main entrance of Gurnee County Park. Along the way, the trail passes another similar viewpoint, then briefly skirts a chain link fence alongside private property.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

A short distance later, the Long Path emerges from the woods into the parking lot for Gurnee County Park. This is the northernmost point of the Hudson River Palisades as it dips right into the ground. Here, the Long Path turns left and begins a road walk on its way towards Harriman State Park. You should turn right, walk through the parking lot and past the gate at the east end of the parking lot.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

Proceed ahead on the gravel road until you enter the Amphitheater. The old quarry arena is quite impressive with its 80-foot cliffs as a backdrop.

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

Gurnee County Park and Amphitheater

When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back through the parking lot and turn left on the Long Path. You will now be retracing your steps through Gurnee and South Mountain County Parks.

Long Path - Gurnee County Park

Long Path – Gurnee County Park

On the way back, I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted a bear right on the trail about 50-60 yards ahead. It was looking right at me, but I wanted to capture an image. Afterwards, I yelled “get out of here!” but it just stood there staring at me. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a dog and the two humans it was with were unseen behind a tree.

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

I didn’t notice the leash and couldn’t see the humans, and in my mind it was a bear in the middle of the trail just watching me. It reminded me of the guy on the bike 2 weeks prior yelling “bear!” repeatedly near High Tor, just east of here.

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park

In about 1.25 miles from Gurnee County Park, the Long Path reaches a junction with a woods road with a communication tower nearby. Veer right on the unmarked road, leaving the Long Path. The woods road is a much gentler route that bypasses a lot of the more rugged and rocky areas that you encountered at the beginning of the hike. Along the way, the Long Path is visible just to the left and joins the woods road briefly before departing to the left. Continue to follow the unmarked woods road for about 0.7 mile, back to the parking area, where the hike began.

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

woods road - South Mountain County Park

woods road – South Mountain County Park

South Mountain County Park Trailhead

South Mountain County Park Trailhead


Review:

A nice hike through an area that doesn’t get much foot traffic. There is some road noise that can be heard throughout the hike, but that is to be expected as the narrow ridge is surrounded by public roads. The views are not as nice as those of High Tor or Little Tor, but the scenic landscape and rugged nature of the trail, makes for a nice enough backdrop, making the hike enjoyable.

Pros:

Long Path, Amphitheater, scenic landscape, decent views, well marked trails, not much foot traffic, no litter (please keep it that way).

Cons:

Some road noise can be heard.


Take a hike!

Long Path - South Mountain County Park

Long Path – South Mountain County Park


Sources:


High Tor State Park

August 21, 2022 – New City, NY

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: Approximately 5.3 miles

Max elevation: 832 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 700 ft.

Route type: Out and back

Buy Map (Paper & Avenza): Hudson Palisades Trails Map #112 (2018)

Free map: High Tor State Park Trail Map (2015)

Trailhead parking: County Route 33, New City, NY 10956

Parking is available for about 20 cars – No restrooms on site

The park is open year-round, from 8am to dusk.


Park Overview:

High Tor State Park is a 691-acre state park on the north edge of the Town of Clarkstown in Rockland County, NY. The park is located on South Mountain, which has two peaks, High Tor and Little Tor. Its highest peak, High Tor, sits at an elevation of 832 feet above sea level and Little Tor at 620 feet. High Tor is the highest point on the entire Hudson River Palisades. High Tor State Park has a swimming pool, a large picnic area, and hiking trails, most notably a 3.5 mile stretch of the Long Path and several short spur trails. Hikers are rewarded with some of the most outstanding views in the lower Hudson Valley from the summits of High Tor and Little Tor.

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit


History:

The vertical, striated appearance of the Palisades inspired people to name them. To the native Lenape, they were “Wee-Awk-En,” the rocks that look like trees. When explorer Giovanni da Verrazano sailed past the ridge in 1524, he thought it resembled a “fence of stakes,” or in military parlance a stockade (or palisade) built for defensive purposes. That’s what it’s called on the first map of the New World, printed 17 years later. The definition of tor is: a high craggy hill.

Like Tallman or Hook Mountain, this chunk of South Mountain was, by virtue of its trap rock composition, faced with the threat of destruction by quarrying. On numerous occasions, quarry operators sought to buy the property from its owner, Elmer Van Orden. While Van Orden always refused to sell, his death in 1942 revived fears that High Tor might end up defaced by quarrying. One of Rockland County’s most beautiful sites, it had inspired countless poets, artists, and even playwrights. Among them Maxwell Anderson, whose well-known 1937 play, High Tor, is the basis of a 1956 movie with Bing Cosby and Julie Andrews.

High Tor – courtesy of Historical Society of Rockland County

High Tor – courtesy of Historical Society of Rockland County

After Van Orden’s death, the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission immediately sought to acquire the property. A campaign led by the Hudson River Conservation Society and the Rockland County Conservation Association, and supported by dozens of groups and individuals, raised sufficient funds to purchase the property, which was transferred to the Commission in April, 1943. At the same time, Archer Huntington decided to donate his own 470-acre estate, which included Little Tor.


Trails Overview:

The park is traversed by a 3.5-mile section of the Long Path. In addition, a woods road marked with white blazes, leads north, crossing the Long Path along the ridge and continues north to the top of the promontory known as Little Tor. High and Little Tor comprise the major part of South Mountain, which is the northern boundary of the Palisades.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail – High Tor State Park

This is a straightforward out-and-back hike that is easy to follow. The first half of the hike, the Hudson River will be on your left and on the return route, the river will be on your right.


Hike Overview:

I was looking to do a somewhat shaded hike with some views on a hot and humid day. This hike was perfect. The entirety of the hike, except for both summits, had plenty of tree cover. The elevation gain is quite manageable, even on the warmest of days. There are short, steep climbs to reach the summits of both Little Tor and High Tor, but the rest of the hike consists of minor ups and downs.

High Tor State Park

High Tor State Park

elevation profile - High Tor State Park

elevation profile – High Tor State Park

Like most hikers, I prefer loop hikes to an “out-and-back,” but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice. This was a pleasant walk through relatively quiet woods, to outstanding views over the Hudson River Valley. The occasional loud Harley from the roads below could be heard. We ran into a mountain biker (FYI – no bikes allowed on the Long Path) that kept shouting “bear!” repeatedly as he cruised by us several times. He said he saw a large bear in the area the previous week.


The Hike:

The hike begins at the trailhead for South Mountain County Park, which is on the opposite side of Central Highway (County Route 33). There is parking for about 20 vehicles. The Long Path crosses the road here connecting High Tor State Park and South Mountain County Park. There is no sign for High Tor State Park at this trailhead, but the hike begins across the road from the wooden sign for South Mountain County Park and the same side of the road as the parking area.

South Mountain County Park Trailhead

South Mountain County Park Trailhead

South Mountain County Park Trailhead

South Mountain County Park Trailhead

Do not cross the road, instead proceed past the gate and follow the aqua blazes of the Long Path in an easterly direction on a wide woods road. The trail climbs gradually as it winds its way along the ridge of South Mountain. In about 400 yards, there is an unmarked trail on the left that climbs steeply up to the powerlines. You may want to take this short detour for some nice Hudson River views. If you follow the unmarked trail around, it descends back down to rejoin the Long Path.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Power Lines Trail - High Tor State Park

Power Lines Trail – High Tor State Park

Power Lines View - High Tor State Park

Power Lines View – High Tor State Park

Power Lines View - High Tor State Park

Power Lines View – High Tor State Park

Power Lines View - High Tor State Park

Power Lines View – High Tor State Park

Power Lines View - High Tor State Park

Power Lines View – High Tor State Park

When the Power Lines Trail descends and terminates at the Long Path, turn left and rejoin the aqua-blazed trail, continuing on the wide woods road in an easterly direction as the trail descends a little then levels off.

Turn left on Long Path

Turn left on Long Path

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

In another 0.4 mile, the Long Path passes by two painted sign posts, where an unmarked woods road crosses. To the right, the unmarked road leads down to the public swimming pool in High Tor State Park. To the left, the woods road heads steeply down the northern face of South Mountain. Continue ahead, still following the aqua blazes.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

In just over a mile from the start of the hike, the Long Path reaches a junction with the white-blazed Little Tor Spur Trail, which begins on the left. Turn left and follow the white blazes as they climb to the summit of Little Tor, passing two rock outcrops with wide-ranging views along the way.

Turn left on Little Tor Spur Trail

Turn left on Little Tor Spur Trail

Little Tor Spur Trail - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur Trail – High Tor State Park

The Town of Haverstraw is directly below with the Hudson River in the distance.

View north - Little Tor

View north – Little Tor

View northeast - Little Tor

View northeast – Little Tor

To the north, the hills of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks are visible in the distance.

View north - Little Tor

View north – Little Tor

A zoomed in view of the Hudson River, Westchester County and the East Hudson Highlands beyond. The Indian Point nuclear power plant is visible just left of center in the image below.

View northeast - Little Tor

View northeast – Little Tor

The trail climbs to another rock outcrop with more views.

Little Tor Spur - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur – High Tor State Park

View northwest - Little Tor

View northwest – Little Tor

The Little Tor Spur continues past the the two rock outcrops and climbs steeply to the true summit of Little Tor, with 360° views of the surrounding region. This makes for a good spot to take a break and enjoy the fantastic views.

Little Tor Spur - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur – High Tor State Park

View northwest - Little Tor

View northwest – Little Tor

Looking west across Rockland County and into northern New Jersey.

View west - Little Tor

View west – Little Tor

Looking south, the summit of High Tor is visible on the left.

View south - Little Tor

View south – Little Tor

A balanced boulder sits at the summit of Little Tor.

Little Tor summit

Little Tor summit

We saw lots of birds hovering above us, including some Turkey Vultures.

Little Tor summit

Little Tor summit

Little Tor summit

Little Tor summit

When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps on the white-blazed Little Tor Spur, passing the two lower rock outcrops on the way back down to the junction with the Long Path and turn left.

Little Tor Spur - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Viewpoint - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Viewpoint – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Spur – High Tor State Park

Little Tor Viewpoint - High Tor State Park

Little Tor Viewpoint – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Continue heading in a southeasterly direction, following the aqua blazes on the wide woods road. The trail travels over undulating terrain, with some minor ups and downs.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

At one point, the Long Path leaves the woods road to avoid an eroded section, but rejoins the road a short distance later.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

The Long Path descends alongside a high craggy cliff with jumbled boulders at its base. Soon, the Long Path turns right at the base of a steep talus slope, just below the High Tor summit.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

The trail turns left and begins a steep climb of High Tor on a rocky footpath. The grade moderates, but the climb soon resumes, with several steep sections.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

In about 2.7 miles from the start of the hike, the Long Path climbs up a rock face and emerges on the 832-foot-high summit of High Tor. This marks the halfway point and turn-around spot of the hike, and makes for a good place to rest from the steep climb and enjoy the panoramic views.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

High Tor summit

High Tor summit

Looking south towards DeForest Lake in Clarkstown, NY.

View south - High Tor summit

View south – High Tor summit

Northeast view over the Town of Haverstraw and the Hudson River.

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit

If you look around carefully, you’ll see some very old graffiti carved into the craggy rock at the summit.

High Tor summit

High Tor summit

During World War II, an aircraft beacon was located on the summit, and the anchors of the beacon are still visible today.

High Tor summit

High Tor summit

Looking west over Rockland County and into New Jersey.

View west - High Tor summit

View west – High Tor summit

Looking southeast down the Hudson River. The land mass jutting into the river, across the way is Croton Point Park.

View southeast - High Tor summit

View southeast – High Tor summit

A zoomed in view of DeForest Lake with the NYC skyline visible at its southern end, far in the distance.

DeForest Lake from High Tor summit

DeForest Lake from High Tor summit

Looking northeast up the Hudson River towards Peekskill and the southern gate of the Hudson Highlands.

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit

Down below, the Bowline Point Thermal Power Plant’s smokestacks (center) and Haverstraw Bay.

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit

A zoomed in view towards Peekskill. The Indian Point nuclear power plant is visible (center right), with the Hudson Highlands just beyond.

View northeast - High Tor summit

View northeast – High Tor summit

When you are done enjoying the Hudson River Valley views, retrace your steps on the Long Path, for about 2.6 miles, back to the parking area, where the hike began. Remember, the river will now be on your right as you make your way back.

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park

Long Path - High Tor State Park

Long Path – High Tor State Park


Review:

An enjoyable hike in a relatively quiet area that doesn’t get as crowded as other sections of the Hudson River Palisades. The views are outstanding and there are plenty of them. The Long Path is well marked and easy to follow. The shaded trails makes this a good hike for those hot sunny days. I highly recommend this hike, especially for those seeking a moderate hike with easy to follow trails.

Pros:

Long Path, Hudson River Valley views, the Palisades, well marked trails, no crowds, sufficient parking.

Cons:

Some road noise can be heard.


Take a hike!

High Tor State Park

High Tor State Park


Sources:


Culver Fire Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

August 13, 2022 – Sandyston, NJ

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: Approximately 5 miles

Max elevation: 1,568 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 700 ft.

Route type: Circuit

Buy Map: Delaware Water Gap & Kittatinny Trails Map #122 – 2021

Free Map: Stokes State Forest North 2018

Trailhead parking: Stony Lake Day Use Area – Sandyston, NJ 07826

Open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. – Full service restrooms on site

Entrance Fee: Free entry for the 2022 season


Overview:

Stokes State Forest is located in the Townships of Sandyston, Montague and Frankford in Sussex County, New Jersey. Stokes is comprised of 16,447 acres of mountainous woods in the Kittatinny Mountains, extending from the southern boundary of High Point State Park southwestward to the eastern boundary of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.

The Stony Lake Day Use Area has 45 picnic tables with adjacent grills located next to the eight-acre Stony Lake. Picnic tables and grills are available on a first come-first serve basis. A bathroom with flushing toilets is located on site. Currently, swimming is not permitted at Stony Lake, or any of the lakes in Stokes State Forest. Entrance fees are charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

Stony Lake Day Use Area - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Day Use Area – Stokes State Forest

A view of the entire Stokes State Forest may be had from the Culver Fire Tower which is situated on Culver Ridge, formerly known as Normanook, located in the heart of the Kittatinny Mountains, about one mile northeast of Culver Gap. The broad Wallkill and Paulins Kill Valleys, the major part of the forested Kittatinny Mountains from the Delaware Water Gap to High Point, and stretches of Pike County, Pennsylvania and Orange County, NY, may be seen from this vantage point.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest


History:

Stokes State Forest was named after Edward C. Stokes, governor of New Jersey from 1905 to 1908, who personally donated the first 500 acres to the state to establish the park. The forest started with 5,932 acres after the State of New Jersey purchased another 5,432 acres in the Kittatinny Mountains. Additional acquisitions over the years by the State of New Jersey, have brought the forest to its current size of 16,447 acres.

Stokes State Forest was home to two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps during the 1930’s, Camp S-57 and Camp S-71. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC men of Stokes built Sunrise Mountain Road, built a lot of the forest’s extensive trail system, erected the pavilions, lean-tos, and cabins, dammed streams to create Lake Ocquittunk and Skellinger Lake, and planted hundreds of trees throughout the forest. The New Jersey School of Conservation now occupies the sites of the abandoned CCC camps. Pictured below are members of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp S-51 in September of 1933 in Stokes State Forest.

CCC Camp S-51 - September 1933

CCC Camp S-51 – September 1933

Culvers Station Lookout was originally established in 1908 and the site was first known as the Normanook Fire Tower. In 1918, a steel tower was constructed and was staffed by a state observer. The present Aermotor 47′ tower, with a 7’x7′ cab, was erected in 1933 and sits at an elevation of approximately 1,509 feet above sea level. The lookout is located in the Appalachian Trail corridor on Culver Ridge in Stokes State Forest, Sussex County, New Jersey. Culvers Station recently received a new coat of paint in 2022. It was placed on the National Historic Lookout Register on August 1, 1992.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The Gren Anderson Shelter was built in 1958 by members of the New York Section of the Green Mountain Club in memory of their president, 1956-57, under the sponsorship of the NY– NJ Trail Conference.

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest


Trails Overview:

A 12.5-mile-long section of the Appalachian Trail follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge through Stokes State Forest. In addition to the Appalachian Trail, there are more than 63 miles of marked trails within Stokes State Forest in addition to the 17-mile-long Blue Mountain Loop Trail. Trails vary in length from one half mile to four miles, and over terrains ranging from flat lowlands to rocky mountains. Many of the trails connect, offering the hiker a variety of trips from an hour to a full day.

Trails used on this hike:

Stony Brook Trail (brown blazes – 1.6 miles) ~ Starts out heading northeast on a woods road that ascends very gradually. After about 0.8 mile, the brown-blazed trail turns right and heads in a southerly direction as it ascends more steeply on a rocky path. After 1.6 miles and an elevation gain of about 458 feet, it ends at a T-intersection with the Appalachian Trail at the forested ridge.

Appalachian Trail (white blazes – 1.1 mile) ~ Heads south along the forested ridge for just over a mile, gaining about 160 feet of elevation upon arriving at the Culvers Station Lookout Tower.

Tower Trail (green blazes – 1.1 mile) ~ Descends the ridge steeply at first, requiring the use of both hands and feet in certain places for the first several hundred yards or so. After crossing Sunrise Mountain Road, the trail descends much more gradually, but remains an ankle breaker type trail. The trail loses about 525 feet of elevation in 1.1 miles up to the junction with the Stony Brook Trail. The Tower Trail is co-aligned with the Stony Brook Trail for the last 1/2 mile along an easy walking woods road until it reaches the parking lot.

All the trails are well marked and well maintained. The only foot traffic that we saw was on the AT near the fire tower and a couple pairs of hikers on the Tower Trail.


Hike Overview:

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference calls this “one of the most popular circuit hikes in Northwest New Jersey.” I am not sure about that as we didn’t see too many people on the trails or cars in the large parking lot. Nevertheless, it is a very nice hike in a scenic area with multiple points of interest.

Appalachian Trail, a lookout tower and panoramic views, you really can’t go wrong with this hike. Throw in lightly trafficked trails, a historic Appalachian Trail shelter, plenty of parking, full service restrooms at the trailhead and free admission and you have yourself a good day on the trails. The only negative thing that I can say is that all the streams were dry when we did this hike. Other than that it was a really good hike. Except for the area surrounding the fire tower, the trails were well shaded. The moderate elevation gain makes this a good hike for those warm summer days. In hindsight, I would have done this loop counterclockwise, ascending on the Tower Trail which is slightly more difficult and descending on the Stony Brook Trail which would have been a much easier downhill when I was a little tired.

Please Note: I wouldn’t recommend doing the Tower Trail if the ground is wet or icy. A sturdy pair of hiking boots with good ankle support is advisable for this hike.

Upon arriving at the Stony Brook Day Use Area after a 1-1/2-hour drive, we took a walk to check out Stony Lake and at 8:45am, there was no one else around. The large parking lot was nearly empty.

parking lot - Stony Lake Day Use Area

parking lot – Stony Lake Day Use Area

The water level was a little low on the day that we visited.

Stony Lake - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

The restrooms were clean with running water and flush toilets. More than enough stalls in both the Men’s and Ladies rooms with plenty of toilet paper, full soap dispensers and air hand dryers.

restrooms - Stony Lake Day Use Area

restrooms – Stony Lake Day Use Area

This clockwise lollipop loop begins and ends at the Stony Lake Day Use Area. Ascending on the Stony Brook Trail and descending on the Tower Trail.

Culver Fire Tower Loop from Stony Lake

Culver Fire Tower Loop from Stony Lake

The ascent to the ridge is a longer, but more gradual climb to the fire tower. Descending on the Tower Trail is somewhat steeper on an extremely rocky trail.

elevation profile - Culver Fire Tower Loop

elevation profile – Culver Fire Tower Loop


The Hike:

The hike begins at a gated woods road to the left of the large kiosk, just feet from the parking lot. This is the route of three separate trails – the Blue Mountain Loop Trail (blue blazes), the Tower Trail (green blazes) and the Stony Brook Trail (brown blazes). You will be following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Trail for the first 1.6 miles of the hike so pay attention to the brown blazes. Follow the woods road as it gradually heads uphill in an easterly direction. In about 530 feet, The blue-blazed Blue Mountain Loop Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead, following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Trail.

Stony Lake Trailhead - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Trailhead – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

In another 200 yards or so, the Stony Brook Trail turns left at a junction with the Coursen Trail which begins on the right. Then in about 460 yards from the junction with the Coursen Trail, the green-blazed Tower Trail leaves to the right. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead following the brown-blazed Stony Brook Trail. The trail soon narrows in places and the trail surface becomes quite rocky. In about 0.8 miles from the trailhead, the Stony Brook Trail turns sharp right, crossing a wet area and begins to ascend a little more steeply with Stony Brook (dry when we visited) to the right of the trail.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

When the trail reaches Sunrise Mountain Road, it turns left and runs along the paved road for about 100 feet, turns right and reenters the woods, now climbing more steeply. In about 0.2 mile, a blue-blazed side trail (scarcely blazed) appears on the left. The Gren Andersen Shelter (with water and latrine) is just a short distance down this trail. You may want to take a short detour to check out the shelter which is used by thru-hikers and backpackers.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

The open front lean-to was built in 1958 of oak logs cut from standing trees at the site. The Green Mountain Club contributed all other materials and labor, but upon completion the shelter would be the property and responsibility of Stokes State forest. The name “Gren Anderson Shelter” was selected as a tribute to their president who had died the year before, while still in office. A fund-raising campaign raised about 260 dollars, which proved to be an adequate sum to meet all expenses.

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter - Stokes State Forest

Gren Anderson Shelter – Stokes State Forest

When you are done checking out the Gren Anderson Shelter, retrace your steps to the Stony Brook Trail and continue ahead. In another 150 feet, the Stony Brook Trail ends at a T-intersection with the Appalachian Trail (AT). Turn right at this junction and follow the white blazes of the AT southwest along the forested ridge. There are no views on this section of the AT. The trail, although rocky, is not as bad as some other sections of the AT in this area.

Stony Brook Trail - Stokes State Forest

Stony Brook Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail - Stokes State Forest

Appalachian Trail – Stokes State Forest

In about a mile, the green-blazed Tower Trail begins on the right. You will return to this spot to continue the loop, but for now, proceed ahead on the AT for about another 250 feet to the site of the Culvers Station Lookout Tower.

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Continue past the junction with the Tower Trail

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

There is a picnic table by a rock outcrop with a west-facing view that makes for a good spot to take a break.

View west from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View west from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

A Black Vulture soaring above the ridge.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

View northwest from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View northwest from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

Culvers Station Lookout Tower, which is still in use for spotting forest fires, was erected in 1933. When it is manned, you can climb up the 47′ tower and go inside the 7’x7′ cab.

Culvers Station Lookout - Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service maintains a system of 21 fire towers at strategic locations throughout the state. These towers are staffed with fire observers who monitor for smoke in their geographic region, communicating with other nearby towers to pinpoint the location of smoke. At least one tower in each division is operated whenever the woods are dry enough to burn and all towers are staffed during the months of March, April, May, October and November.

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

Culvers Station Lookout – Stokes State Forest

The images below were taken from just below the cab. It certainly is worth it to climb the tower at least part way to enjoy these fabulous views that stretch all the way into New York and Pennsylvania.

View north over New Jersey and into NY and Pennsylvania

View north over New Jersey and into NY and Pennsylvania

View west of Kittatinny Lake, the Delaware River Valley and into Pennsylvania

View west of Kittatinny Lake, the Delaware River Valley and into Pennsylvania

View south over the Kittatinny Valley

View south over the Kittatinny Valley

View east over the Appalachian Trail as it heads towards Sunrise Mountain and beyond.

View east over the Appalachian Trail as it heads towards Sunrise Mountain and beyond.

High Point, the highest elevation in the State of New Jersey, is 13.5 miles away if you follow the Appalachian Trail (AT) north. The AT passes near the base of the monument.

View northeast of High Point Monument

View northeast of High Point Monument

Stony Lake is visible below, the starting and ending point of this hike.

View of Stony Lake from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

View of Stony Lake from near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

Near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

Near the base of the Culvers Station Lookout

When you are done enjoying the 360° views from the tower, retrace your steps on the AT to the junction with the green-blazed Tower Trail. Turn left and follow the green blazes to a rock outcrop with more west-facing views. Just to the right, the trail descends steeply over rock slabs for several hunred yards. You may have to use both your hands and feet to tackle this section of trail. It’s probably not a good idea to hike this section of the trail in wet or icy conditions.

Turn left on the green-blazed Tower Trail

Turn left on the green-blazed Tower Trail

The start of the green-blazed Tower Trail

The start of the green-blazed Tower Trail

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Once past the initial steep section, the grade moderates as it descends on an extremely rocky footpath. Careful attention should be paid to avoid twisting an ankle or tripping.

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

In about 0.4 mile, the Tower Trail crosses Sunrise Mountain Road diagonally to the right. The trail now descends even more moderately, but the rough rocky trail remains an ankle breaker.

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Trail as it crosses Sunrise Mountain Road

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

In about 0.7 mile from the junction with the AT, the Tower Trail crosses a wooden footbridge over Stony Brook built by the volunteers of the West Jersey Trail Crew in 2019. A short distance beyond, you’ll reach the junction with the brown-blazed Stony Brook Trail. Turn left and retrace your steps about a 1/2 mile, back to the parking lot, where the hike began.

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail - Stokes State Forest

Tower Trail – Stokes State Forest

Turn left at the junction with the Stony Brook Trail

Turn left at the junction with the Stony Brook Trail

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

Turn right to remain on coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Blue Mountain Loop/Stony Brook/Tower trails

coaligned Blue Mountain Loop/Stony Brook/Tower trails

Stony Lake Trailhead - Stokes State Forest

Stony Lake Trailhead – Stokes State Forest


Review:

A really good hike in an area that doesn’t seem to get much foot traffic. The parking lot at the end of the hike was as empty as when we began the hike. The views from the fire tower are the highlight of the hike, but the tranquil surroundings make this trek worthwhile. We drove 1-1/2 hours to do this hike and it was worth the drive. On the way back we stopped to pick up some fresh corn, Jersey Tomatoes and a Cherry-Peach Pie which were all delicious. As stated previously, I would do this hike in reverse, ascending on the Tower Trail and descending on the more knee friendly Stony Brook Trail.

Pros:

Culvers Station Lookout, panoramic views, lightly trafficked trails, well marked and maintained trails, scenic landscape.

Cons:

Rocky ankle-breaker type trails.


Take a hike!

Culver Fire Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest

Culver Fire Tower from Stony Lake – Stokes State Forest


Sources:


Boston Mine Short Loop – Harriman State Park

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


Overview:

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.

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park


Trails Overview:

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.
White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

  • 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.
Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

  • 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.
Nurian Trail - Harriman State Park

Nurian Trail – Harriman State Park


Hike Overview:

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.

Boston Mine Short Loop – Harriman State Park

As shown on the elevation graph, just some minor ups and downs on this hike.

elevation profile - Boston Mine Short Loop

elevation profile – Boston Mine Short Loop


The 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.

Hikers Trailhead Parking on CR 106

Hikers Trailhead Parking on CR 106

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

The White Bar Trail was first marked in 1921-22 by the Boy Scouts.

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

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.

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

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.

bear right to remain on the White Bar Trail

bear right to remain on the White Bar Trail

bear right to remain on the White Bar Trail

bear right to remain on the White Bar Trail

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.

stream crossing White Bar Trail

stream crossing White Bar Trail

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

After turning sharp right, the White Bar Trail descends gradually then climbs a little before leveling off again.

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail - Harriman State Park

White Bar Trail – Harriman State Park

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.

turn left on Dunning Trail

turn left on Dunning Trail

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Black Bears often overturn rocks to scavenge for insects.

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

Ore tailings near Boston Mine.

ore dump near the Boston Mine

ore dump near the 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.

Boston Mine - Harriman State Park

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

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.

Boston Mine - Harriman State Park

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

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.

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

Boston Mine - Harriman State Park

Boston Mine – Harriman State Park

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.

Dunning Trail - Harriman State Park

Dunning Trail – Harriman State Park

continue straight on Island Pond Road

continue straight on Island Pond Road

Island Pond Road

Island Pond Road

turn left on Nurian Trail

turn left on 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.

Nurian Trail - Harriman State Park

Nurian Trail – Harriman State Park