Hiking Trail Conditions Forum

Mud? Ice? High water at stream crossings? This is the place to let the hiking community know what you encountered, where and when (be as precise as possible). Suggestion: Make the trail or park name your subject.

To report serious trail problems that need Trail Conference attention, go here. Problems reported here get to the maintainers fast and reliably. Problems reported on the forum below help your fellow hikers avoid problem areas until they get fixed, but not all maintainers read this regularly so also use the problem report form.

To report illegal trail use go here.

Watch out for Oktoberfest at Bear Mt Inn area - bad traffic

See http://www.visitbearmountain.com/calendar.htm for dates and times.

Problems generally begin north of Anthony Wayne on PIP and the circle at the Bridge from any direction.

Harriman - Jackie Jones Fire Tower

Can you climb the stairs to this fire tower?

Jackie Jones Fire Tower

This fire tower is open to the public, and one may climb the stairs to the top.

Dirt bikes in Harriman

Experience indicates that the police can do little unless the perpetrators are caught in the act.  Most helpful is to contact the New York State Park Police at 845 786 2781 immediately when observing the act, if possible.  Useful information is on what trail, what locaton, such as what is the nearest trail juncture.  As the reporter apparently knows. there is only one bike trail in Harriman/Bear Mountain Parks.  Powered vehicles are not legal off road anywhere in these parks. 

Dirt Bike in Harriman

On TUesday 9/16 posted on Instagram tagged #harriman, it appeared on the myharriman.com website in their instagram section. I called the user out and he deleted my comment and removed the harriman tag, but not before I took pictures to document it.  I'm having trouble including the pictures here but I can send via emai if someone wants to pursue this further. The posters name is Curtis Vriesema, park police should locate this guy and pay him a visit.

Dumped Tent

Yesterday I saw a rather large tent, folded up with its poles placed on top, sitting beside the TMI trail, about a quarter of the way between Claudius SMith Den and the Dutch Doctor Lean-to (heading east).  I am assuming that someone brought this out and decided it was too heavy to carry and left it there.  It's a very strange place to place this.  They should have known that this would be a heavy thing to carry on trails.  Another thing I noticed yesterday is a proliferation of fire rings in that general area of the park.

Harriman Problems

Responding to Harriman Problems posted September 8th:

Previous reponses were on the mark.  The TC does not, and is not allowed to, maintain the woods roads. This is in accordance with park rules as posted in various kiosks that users are to keep to marked trails: these roads are not in that category.  As was mentioned, blockage of ATVs is a worthy consideration: usage of powered vehicles off road in the park is prohibited.  

The supposition that the square concrete structures were part of CCC-era is confirmed in Harriman Trails, A Guide and History, William J. Myles and Daniel Chazin, 3rd Edition, Published by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, P. 77.  After noting that the traill passes the foundation of a Civilian Conservation Corps building, the following paragraph includes "The Pine Meadow Trail now crosses the road and follows the north shore of the lake. For much of the way it follows old water and sewer pipes, usually buried but sometimes placed above ground on a rock causeway, which serves today as the trail route.This pipeline, and others around Lakes Wanoksink and Minsi, were built in 1934 to service the camps which were to be built on the lakes.  The pipelines all terminate in a large (but never used) concrete septic tank on Christie Brook."  

The trash situation is a problem of long standing.  PVPatrick's reply that "Obviously, the persons that left the trash are responsible.  But anyone could help take it away." is of course correct.  It is a bit much to expect the trail maintainers to haul out all of this trash.  The shortest distance to carry the trash to a roadside for pickup  is somewhat greater than two miles.  Possibly a volunteer team could be assembled to bag the trash and haul it out.  If coordinated and arranged in advance there is also the possibility that the park would haul it out if bagged and hauled to an agreed upon location accessible by the park.        Removing the trash would temporarily improve the situation but there is no reason to believe that these blocks will not continue to be used for depositing trash. At this time no action plan has been defined. If many of we hikers were to take just a moderate sized bag and haul out some amount when using the trail, the situation could be much improved. Perhaps enough people will see our joint comments and follow this suggestion.

trash in harriman and broken glass

in early summer, may i think--there was a huge pile of trash over by pine meadow lake where the trail meets the road before the dam. one day i saw a ranger there hammering up a "no swimming" sign. he had a big truck right there. he said he is not taking away trash that day, he was just putting up the signs so if anyone drowned they couldnt say they didnt know swimming was illegal. apparently someone did take the trash away but then more piles appeared as the summer went on.... there is a small hand lettered sign that says "please take out your trash". not nearly as big or eye catching as the "no swimming" sign... another thing that irks me is the broken glass, lots of it near the trailheads, near the lakes and also on the early part of the blue disc trail near johnsontown rd and on the white bar. people bring bottles in and smash them?? it is horrible to see this broken glass there and especially if one has dogs..luckily most of the park is lovely and very clean, just a few spots like this.one of the park officials said that minnewaska and the gunks areas dont have these problems. the good news is that i havent seen fishing line around lately as much as earlier in the summer....

Lots of trash at Terrace Pond

We did this hike today



and it was a good hike, with quite a bit of rock scrambling. The trails and blazes were in good condition, but it was sad to see bags full of trash, and more trash scattered around them, on three sides of Terrace Pond. Whose responsibility is it to clean up this park? The rest of the area seems clean.


Terrace pond trash

Jonathan.......Our Trail maintainers and Trail supervisors for this trail area have an almost full time job attempting to keep the Terrace Pond area clear of garbage. The Superintendent and Staff of Wawayanda State park are fully aware of this problem and make regular trips up there to bag and bring down this trash.

At this point we can only suggest that if you bring it IN.....Please Bring it OUT, even if it's not your garbage. It's takes all of us as hiking enthusiasts to do our part if we wish to keep our forests clean, natural and enjoyable......Thanks to all of you that have this same ethic.

Bob & Estelle

I often wish that this forum

I often wish that this forum had a "Like" button or a "Thank you" button and if it did I would click on it now.

Harriman problems

About two weeks ago, I hiked in Harriman, using the Woodtown Road to go South, and came back on the "Old Turnpike."  Not far from where the LP crosses the turnpike and ascends to the shelter where it meets the SBM, I found a large tree that had fallen across the turnpike and almost completely blocked it, trunk and branches.  Does the TC maintain this road and others?  Or does someone else, or is this an act of God that makes it harder for the ATVs and I should be glad for it?


Today, Sept 8, I walked around Pine Meadow Lake on the PM trail.  The north shore has a long series of square concrete structures that I think were part of the CCC-era water system.  3 of them had a lot of trash in them.  Maybe 2-3 kitchen trash bags full.  Who should clean this up?


Obviously, the persons that

Obviously, the persons that left the trash are responsible. But anyone could help take it away.

I don't think so

AFAIK the TC does not maintain any woods roads in the park unless they are part of a marked trail. It says on the map sets that the woods roads may be "severly overgrown, difficult to follow, and impossible to locate".

The only maintenance done by the park would be on the woods roads used by park personnel, and i have no idea which roads those are.

I run on the specific section you are talking about, and don't remember any new trees down in that area when i was last there a few weeks ago. There are a couple of older downed trees that already have "bypass routes" going around them.


I have no info on the PM Trail issue.

Trail conditions on Old Croton Aqueduct

Many thanks for reporting on the Tarrytown encroachments. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct are well aware of numerous encroachments, most of which happened decades ago, in Tarrytown and elsewhere. I'll forward your message to the state manager of the Aqueduct trail, in case there's been any expansion of encroachments in the area you mention, and because it's important that the state hear from the public about the issue. State Parks has long planned to "take back" the spaces that residents have moved into, partly under pressure from the Friends, but it's proving to be an extremely slow process.  There has been at least one important takeback: on the Aqueduct in Yonkers, between Lamartine Ave. and Bishop Walls Place.  Charlotte Fahn

Encroachment on the Old Croton Aqueduct in Tarrytown

While walking on the Old Croton Aqueduct in Tarrytown today I noticed a vast amount of encroachment from the surrounding houses. The owners put up fences and gardens in some cases right up to the path leaving little room to walk.  This goes all through this section just after the school and starting a few blocks down.  There is lawn furniture and other items.  If this stays like this they may try to close the corrodor altogether.  This section should be much wider and as I said, due to the problem it is now narrower than it should be.  As a former trail monitor I can see this will be a problem in the future and the longer they are there the harder it will be to move the fences and other obstacles out. A report has been sent but I want to appraise everyone of this.

Water at Shenandoah

There's a reason it's on again off again/off again on water purity.  I was an assistant shelter maintainer and here's why:

The water supplies are downhill and if you look closely, the privies just happen to all be uphill.  When it rains hard, you guessed it, the water washes DOWNHILL right into the water supply.  Do I need to say more?  How do you think that E-coli gets in there?  Just check and tell me this setup is wrong.  A case in point is the Morgan Stewart shelter.  That' all I have to say right now.


Shenandoah tenting site

Hi, taking a small crew of Boy Scouts SOBO on the AT In October.  I plan to use the Shenandoah Tenting site as a midway camp.  Anyone know if the water available there needs treating? Any advice? 



All of the Dutchess County AT

All of the Dutchess County AT wells are tested monthly during the summer and they sometimes pass and sometimes fail e-coli tests. They are all posted as must treat. 

Another reason to hate

Another reason to hate DuPont.

There's always access from the Indian Rock Trail from the lot at Back Beach Park as well as the other trails mentioned.

School Mountain Rd 3rd Bridge Status

I hadn't hiked this track since Sandy and was dismayed to see all the hard work put into replacing the 3rd steel plate bridge a few years ago completely washed away.  I hiked it Sunday morning and juding by the number of vehicles by Hibbard and the many folks I met on my trek, it is still a very popular trail.  Are there plans to replace it?  I know it's a big effort to get the necessary materials into that area.  Recovering those steel beams and plates requires heavy duty winches and skilled operators.  As an interim solution, maybe you could build a stone stairway into the steep bank heading down to the creek that serves as the detour.  It's quite slippery and I saw a woman lose her footing and land on her back pretty hard.  Luckily she was OK. 

School Mountain Road status

As you can imagine, our crew was very disappointed when hurricane Irene destroyed bridge 3, which we had worked so hard over several months to build. There are a number of problems on School Mountain Road including several damanged or unsafe bridges and severe erosion. The park has begun a planning process to determine what should be done with the trail. Rehabilitating it to again support bicycle, horse, and foot traffic would be very costly and difficult. We have suggested different alternatives, but we can't do major work on the trail until the park decides how to proceed. We will try to build some steps leading down the bank to our temporary bridge soon.

The destruction of many bridges in parks throughout the New York/New Jersey area by recent hurricanes has led us to review our bridge policy and to look more carefully at the sites where bridges are built.

ATV near Tuxedo

As i was finishing my run this afternoon, i saw an ATV on the abandoned telephone line path between the R-D and Triangle trails in Tuxedo. It was long gone before i could get out my camera and take a picture, for all i know it could have been a Park Ranger, although i highly doubt that.

I guess you should add this area to the list of places that need to be watched.

Is Sterling Forest different?

For years, I have noticed that blowdowns that block trails in Harriman are fairly quickly removed---I assume by TC sawyers. Today I hiked in Sterling Forest, using the Lake-to-Lake, Firetower, West Valley, and Sterling Ridge trails.  We had to walk around about 15 trees that almost completely, or completely, blocked those trails.  I last used some of the same trails about a year or two ago, and I remember having to go off the trail to get around some of the same trees then.  Is there a reason the trails in Harriman are promptly cleared, and those in Sterling Forest are left blocked?


Reply to "Is tree clearing in Sterling Forest different?"

The posting  July 18 was a good note and a good question.  It is correct that marked trails in Harriman and Bear Mountain Park  are all maintained by the Trail Conference saw crews.  In Sterling Forest, the Trail Conference has not adopted all of the trails for various reasons, among them, boring and gravelled road (FIre Tower Connector), trails on eroded woods road that we are unable to improve to satisfactory condition (in this writer's opinion), example: Lake-to Lake Trail, and some other trails due to planned future multiuse designation . In addition to the two examples, we do not maintain FIretower or West Valley Trails.  As for Sterling Ridge Trail, we cleared many trees late last year (in snow), but possibly not all of them.  We have no later reports and concede that there may currently be some blockages on Sterling Ridge Trail.  We would be pleased to receive reports of tree blockage there or anywhere else, with approximate locations.  We can forward to the park any reports for trails that we do not maintain; cooperation is typically excellent.  One other consideration, though realizing that the subject posting seemed clearly to relate to significant blockages, we sometimes leave in place trees that are not difficult to get around on foot but may block ATVs, or that are low, lying on the ground and acting as water dams..  Thank you for the report.

ATVs and park police and rangers in Harriman

If the park police and rangers seem disinterested it is because they are not being pressed for enforcement. The request for enforcement should be coming from the Trail Conference. Recently there were ATV tracks ripped down to bare soil on the west side of the Minsi Swamp outlet and bushwhacking up towards the water tower on the ridge. There was no prior woods roads past the old aquaduct and the newly disturbed ground is I believe how invasive plants get there foothold in a new area. With all we have been hearing about the effort to control invasives, the Trail Conference should be taking preventive steps and asking for enforcement.

Illegal ATVs in parks

The Trail Conference staff and lead volunteers are very aware of the use of illegal off-road vehicles in Harriman and other parks. Unfortunately, our parks are woefully underfunded--including for enforcement--and that is not a problem that will be addressed overnight. The public needs to back us up when we urge our public officials to make parks funding a priority. Only then can more rangers can be hired and be better trained.

In the meantime, we continue to urge hikers and other park users to document as best they can the where and when of illegal trail uses. In particular, document where ATVs are coming from. Do not confront ATV users. Take pictures and videos if possible. Report your observations  at http://www.nynjtc.org/webform/illegal-usage-problem-report. Help compile the evidence needed to make the case for funding enforcement.

Then, when budget season comes around, write letters to your public officials in support of adequate funding for parks. 

I, the public, back you in

I, the public, back you in your efforts to make park funding a priority; but, with all due respect, the evidence is as clear as the tire tracks.  I dont think a large funding initiative is necessary.  A focused temporary effort to round up the few persons involved would send a clear message to others thinking its ok to ride the parks because nobody will stop them.  The park enforcement  already has ATVs, why not use them to round up those rascals.

I agree

Georgette, additional funding for our Parks would be lovely. But please don’t continue to duck the issue. The average pay of a PIPC ranger is about $60,000 a year which comes to about $260 a working day. Even at overtime rates, the cost of two rangers would be about $800 for a full working day or $8,000 for 10 full days devoted to enforcement. Truly a drop in the bucket. I know all of the full time rangers working in Harriman and some of the seasonal rangers too. They are professionals. They are also much smarter than the 16 year olds and 26 year olds riding ATVs. It is unkind of you to suggest additional funding is needed so they can be better trained.

Well said.  Am holding my 25

Well said.  Am holding my 25 year old  membership renewal to the NYNJTC to hear some real action points.  Tired of hearing about the expensive new "headquarters".  Get back to basics!

thank you Estelle and NYNJTC

Your second reply below on the Wildcat Ridge trash issue is on the mark and what members espect from the TC. Can we get a similar response to the issue of ATVs in Harriman? They were out again this weekend and this time one entered a wetland area and came close to a rare plant species found in only very small populations.

Harriman ATVs

ATV enforcement

Estelle, why not go straight to PIPC Executive Director Jim Hall and David Barone, General Park Manager. Wouldn't they be the ones to allocate ranger and police resources? Wouldn't they be best for making ATV enforcement a priority? They did meet with the NYNJTC Trails Access Committee recently. Why not ask for an email address where reports and photos can be sent? Why not enlist the aid of the hiking public? As noted by members posting below, ATVs are in Harriman on a regular basis and the rangers already know where. 

State Park Police and Rangers

The Park Police dont seem interested, or are incapable, of stemming the ever increasing horde of loud, speeding motorcycles on the Park Roads in Bear Mt/Harriman; even when it is directly in their face as the motorcycles speed past their headquarters!

As for the Rangers...when was the last time anyone saw a ranger anywhere but on the paved roads of the park?

The Police and Rangers are fine people I'm sure, but seem to be managed with a set of priorities that differ from those of the hiking community as is clear with their inaction on the ATV issue.

ATVs and trash

I don't see anything positive in the Trail Conference responses below. Reporting a problem to a volunteer trail supervisor can't get the kind of action that reporting to authorities can. Members expect advocacy from the TC and so far we are not getting any. 

Wildcat Ridge trash nightmare

In preparation for a multi-day trip to the High Peaks region, ADK, I've been taking to the trails as often as possible. I've probably trekked 50+ miles through the Wildcat Ridge area over the last few months and I've noticed a big problem. Seems like the local kids don't know how to clean up after themselves. They're turning Gatorade bottles into bongs and then launching the evidence into the brush. I couldn't care less about the pot smoking, but these guys are making a giant mess. The worst of the litter is usually found downhill from the bat cave, which makes sense, as it's right near the trail head. I take it on myself to clean up, and have removed a good deal, but it would be easier to do if there were a trash barrel near the batcave viewing platform. Anyone know where I can pick one up from for free?

trash at Wildcat Ridge

Thanks for your info.  And sadly there is trash throughout our trail system, people seem to carry the full stuff in but can't carry the empty stuff out.   Thank you for your efforts to keep this area clean. 

I've contacted the trail supervisor for Farny and for Wildcat with your comments.  You should hear something from them as I have passed on your contact info.  


If you are bagging the trash and bringing out to the parking lot, you could contact Rockaway Twsp DPW and let them know to pick up from the parking lot.   if that doesn't happen, let me know and we'll contact Rockaway.  Generally they are very cooperative.



trash at Wildcat Ridge - further info

Further information:  We have notified NJ Fish and Wildlife who administer Wildcate Ridge.  they will increase enforcement patrol to monitor the parking lot, we have made that request as well to Rockaway Township.   As I said, trash throughout our trail system is a huge problem and we appreciate all hikers and volunteers who help remove that trash.  If you are there again and encounter much trash, you may notify us and we will get volunteers in there to clean it up. (I have contacted you privately, feel free to respond directly to my email.)   We also advised of the bat cave signs being removed or destroyed.  


State of NJ has a new initiative to combat dumping on State Lands and request notification be made per this:

 Please encourage your members to contact us if they witness ongoing illegal activities at any of our Wildlife Management Areas. Our 24 hr. dispatch number is 1-877-WARNDEP.  

thank you again for your report and for caring. 

Batcave sign destroyed

I'd also like to replace the informational sign @ the batcave platform that was destroyed by vandals. Any advice?


The Trail Conference is failing its mission to protect trails and trail lands. Afraid to put a little pressure on Park officials. Not even trying. Thanks to the TC, members have to take vigilante tire spiking action? Criminal, but thank you Gup. 

ATV's (My 2 cents)

If anyone is in doubt as to the physcial damage to trails (to say nothing about the noise pollution that removes all serenity and ability to hear bird songs and calls) from ATV's they need to take a hike on Mt. Beacon.  It is riddled with wide trails from ATVs, noisy, and saturated with invasive plant species as a result of the intrusiveness.  The ban must be strictly enforced throughout Harriman State Park.  Hiking trails and ATV's cannot coexist there.


patrick i looked for a license plate on the last ATVs i saw but there were none--does that mean they werent registered and illegal? i called the park police right away


We had a problem with ATVs in the woods behind our development which is miles and miles of state protected land bordering Westechester and Putnam and is littered with trails.  The cops shrugged their shoulders so a few of us got a half dozen tire shredders and camoed them at strategic points.  This ended the problem quickly.  One guy had to leave his ATV behind as it was impossible to move with 4 ruined tires  stuck in a foot of mud.  Its still there rusting with a sign as a warning to others. It's nice and quiet now except for the occasional pack of coyotes tearing up a fawn or someone's pet but that is just nature doing its thing which we can all accept. Recreational machines don't belong in the woods.    

Interesting thegup, but what

Interesting thegup, but what exactly is a tire shredder?

tire shredders

I believe he means "caltrops"

see wiki about this


I thought maybe he meant one of these:



They sell simpler versions that are flexible, easy to carry. and light, so i could imagine laying one across the trail, and covering it with leaves...


NY State DMV requires all ATVs to be registered and have a plate attached to the rear of the vehicle.  http://dmv.ny.gov/sites/default/files/legacy_files/broch/c29.htm

Again: ATVs in Harriman

Georgette, you have ducked both questions.  1)  Is there an email address for the Park for use by the public? If not, will the TC ask that one be set up? If the TC won't ask, please let us know.    2) Will the TC advocate to keep ATVs out of the Park? We have heard no news in your Trail Walker on this topic in a very long time.

Clearly with the technology available today many hikers "think it would be relatively easy, if so inclined, for the park police/rangers to set up a dragnet one weekend to nab the offenders and make an example of them.  Put them to work fixing the trails, planting trees, etc." If the TC won't put pressure on the Park, nothing will get accomplished. 

ATVs in Harriman

I note the Trail Conference has made no response to the concerns posted below. If the TC does not intend to address the issue, please do let us know. I intend to hold my membership renewal until I hear from you.