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.


I'm so glad the cool weather is knocking down the gnat population- finally!  They've really been bothering me this year.  Maybe, I'm just getting softer.  I actually quit about 5 hikes this year due to this.

Head Net

Have you tried hiking with a head net? Lack of bugs is one of the many reasons i prefer hiking in cool/cold weather.

Encampment above Claudius Smith Den

On today's hike I went to the cliffs above Claudius SMith Den for the view and found that someone had pitched a tent and made a fire ring right on the cliff top.  They left a pan with aluminum foil over it on the fire ring.  I was not sure if this encampment was abandoned or if the "camper" was merely not there at the moment.  I thought I should inform the park police as to this illegal encampment but am posting it here.

fire ring

No need to tell the police or even the rangers.  This is fairly common in the park.

Harriman State Park, water conditions.

Hiked Bear Mountain to Sloatsburg yesterday (Sept 18), 1777 E Trail, Timp Pass Road, Red Cross Trail, Welch Drive, then roadwalk to Sloatsburg.  The only water source besides the fountains at Lake Welch was Doodletown Brook, it had some standing water in it that didn't look so bad.  Every other stream I saw was dry or had extremely murky standing water.   I don't know when they shut off the water at Lake Welch, I hope they leave it on for a while.  


I would guess fountains will be shut off Oct 31st, same time ancillary roads are closed, if I'm not mistaken.

SRT- Hathorne Lake to Shinhollow Rd.

8/28/2016 & 9/17/2016 Hiked this section of the SRT recently.  The new SRT re-route through the center of Huckleberry Ridge State Forest is wonderful.  While partially routed on existing trails through the forest, this newer route or section takes a hiker through denser forested areas.  Trail is well marked and a pleasure to walk.  Shinhollow Rd./RR intersection has a climb under the bridge that is steep and slippery, mostly loose dirt.  Parking is available here but only for two cars at best, at the dead end.  The bridge over the railway can be crossed but is becoming decrepit and you are taking chances if you cross it.  Leaves are starting to turn color slightly, due to drought conditions. If you haven't been to Port Jervis, NY, the NY Metro North Station is worth taking a brief look at.  It looks like they are in the very initial stages of building a railroad museum.  One very neat feature is a fully operational turntable from the 1850's and a few Erie cars & engine (very good condition).  The engine brings back memories from my childhood when Erie engines were still running passenger service in Bergen County, prior to NJ Transit taking over.

Regarding Water

Wow, this is why I stayed away this year.  Question, are the lakes really the water supply for dry years?  If so, how do you crash through to get to that precious water?  Last year I had trouble too and had to nearly go swimming in Lake Askoti just to get any.Instead I had to walk two miles to Lake Tioroti just to get any.

Last summer I did an

Last summer I did an overnight backpack of the RD Trail from east to west (to Tuxedo) and the only water soruce then was Lake Toriati, at the midpoint.  I got to it in twilight and I used a Steripen on four bottles, and it was fine.  There was absolutely no need for bleach.  Lake Toriati was the ONLY water source on that trail.  Everything else was dry.  Yes, this is the driest summer in my memory at Harriman.

Regarding Water

I've filtered and treated (with bleach) lake water, it helps to put Tang or something in it to improve the taste.  I recall one dry summer a few years ago when water was scarce, it's about as dry as I've ever seen it up in Harriman now.  

Harriman State Park, water conditions.

September 25, 26, and 27th travelled  from Tuxedo to Lake Skenonto and Lake Sebago and back via Victory  and Triangle Trails.  A trickle of water in outlet of Black Ash Swamp, some water running through stream outlet of Lake Skenonto.  As we've had little rain, I reckon things have just gotten worse, water wise.  I was up a week or so earlier and there was plenty of water in Pine Meadow Brook, down by Sloatsburg.  

Visitor Center, snakes, Seven Hills

I hiked from the Reeves Brook Visitor Center in Harriman today. I rarely start hikes here because of the parking situation, but it was not too bad. The center was open--the first time I have ever seen it open--with a shop and restrooms. The man in the shop said that today was the first weekday it had opened. He had maps, snacks, clothing and books. He said the shop was open thanks to funds from the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. We took the 7 Hills Trail, and the climb from where it first meets the HTS to where it crosses the HTS again is badly eroded. Farther along on the 7 Hills we encountered a rattlesnake--which makes 3 in 3 hikes, all in Harriman, for me. The park is very dry.

Ramapo-Dunderburg Traverse

I'm planning on a Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail Traverse next week, from the Jones Point parking lot to Tuxedo.  I plan to ask the bus driver to drop me off at Jones Point and hoping that he does.  I'm going to do this as an overnight backpack with ultralite tent, backpacking alcohol stove (no fires) and bear canister, and catch the train back to Hoboken in Tuxedo the next day.  I have two questions: 1) Do the bus drivers of the Short Line Bus from Port Authority to Bear Mountain usually have no problem with dropping off hikers at the parking lot at Jones Point? and 2) I know from hiking trails in the southwest quadrant of Harriman in the past few weeks, that it is extremely dry lately.  What are the water refill opportunities on the RD trail between Jones Point and Lake Tiorati?  Or do I have to count on reaching the Lake Tiorati area before getting more water.  I will be bringing a Steripen for water sterilization.  Thank you.

RD traverse

bus drivers drop off people at jones pt all the time, just let driver know ahead of time.  its corner of river road in tomkins cove. if you stick to the RD trail there are very few streams now that you could rely on for water before tiorati. i think if you look at your AT map it will have water sources but at this point i wouldnt rely...  as you come down from black mtn you will cross the silvermine ski road. at that point if you go right and head NW ish you will get to silvermine lake on an easy road, or you could come down the menomine to silvermine lake. hopefully you have the NYNJTC trail maps or the map app for your phone and can see what i mean--here is the less than fabulous map put out by the park http://nysparks.com/parks/attachments/HarrimanTrailMap.pdf

Thanks Banjolady!  I have the

Thanks Banjolady!  I have the Harriman Maps and have ordered the new ones with the trail mileage on them and should be receiving them before the end of this week.  THanks for the tips!  I'm really looking forward to this hike.

RD parking

make sure you tell bus driver you want to get off at river road --you will see sign for turning point church. north of anchor monument. big parking lot on left--2 parking lots--use these coords in google maps and you will see exactly where it is...  you can also show driver your harriman map and show where trail head is--parking lot is just a bit north of trailhead 41.281116, -73.962951   https://sites.google.com/site/newyorkareahikemeetingplaces/   this is also useful  

Thanks again.  This helps me

Thanks again.  This helps me to rest easy.  I've been a bit worried about having to start from Bear Mountain, if the driver doesn't stop,  which will add several hours to the whole hike and I want to be able to catch the 4:09pm train back to Hoboken from Tuxedo, the following day rather than wait for the next one which is around 10:45 at night.  Judging from my timing and pace on the SBM traverse I did a couple of years ago, which is about the same total distance, I believe I can do that, as long as I can start it at Jones Point. 

Dont Rely On The Bus Drivers

I've used the bus twice to get to the Jones Point area, and the first time, the driver had no idea where i wanted to get off, and ended up letting me off at the parking area by the Cornell Mine Trail. The second time, i wanted to get off at the trailhead for the 1777 Trail, and the driver ended up letting me off by the Anchor Monument, which is closer to the R-D. In other words, you can't count on the driver to know where to let you off, although maybe you'll get lucky, and have a driver who is familiar with the area. I would ask to be let off at the Anchor Monument, since that is a visible landmark, and a short distance from the R-D. I can't answer your second question about water, but if it were me, i'd rather carry extra water and deal with the weight, than to find myself dehydrated with no refill spots for miles. 

THanks Michael.  I'll show

THanks Michael.  I'll show the bus driver on my Harriman map where I want to get off if he or she doesn't already know.  THanks for pointing this out.  I know the bus stops in Suffern for a bit and I can show them there.  I took this bus when I did the SBM traverse a couple of years ago.  THanks also for the water tip.  I'll start off carrying 4 liters.  I'm doing this hike for the enjoyment of it but also trying out a new backpack before doing a backpack hike up in the western ADK High Peaks at the end of this month, and weighing it down more will be part of the test.  

FIRE DANGER fire near island pond

today we noticed some smoke from a fire near island pond south end. i called the rangers to report. hard to tell if it was a brush fire or campfire. didnt see any flames but definitely smelled smoke.  i am sure i am preaching to the choir here but the woods are very dry now and any kind of fire could be dangerous and butn up a lot of the parkland. the green is beaitiful, lets not have blackened and burned vegetation to look at....

A renovated camp, and hard-to-find trail

I walked today along the paved road into a camp at the north end of Breakneck Pond (maybe Camp Lanowa) in order to find the unblazed trail that climbs up to the Breakneck Mountain Trail. The camp was full of workers, including an AMC trail maintenance crew, and it looks as if all the sad old cabins have been demolished and replaced by brand new structures. Someone has invested a lot of money here. All the work--including new roads within the camp, and clearings around the cabins--made it difficult to find the beginning of the trail, which starts next to Cabin 218.

yes, the Appalachian Money club

is putting $1,000,000 plus into renovations. You will likely find the camp and the entire lake and the trails posted with "private area" signs soon. Bring a high limit credit card along if you want to visit. You'll have to register in advance I'm sure. Sad situation.

amc camp

yes i think you may be right about that. some amc members are trying to find out exactly what will be the policies around this camp and whether our happy days of enjoying the area are now over.  what we have heard so far is that AMC leaders leading day hikes for dues paying AMC members are not allowed to swim at the camp or even stop for lunch without a reservation with the boston AMC HQ. not only that but members are being asked to contribute volunteer labor to the camp at work parties.... members have yet to get a definitive written statement from the NY chapter leaders regarding these policies. there was a tour of the camp for AMC leaders a week or so ago and one of the attendees reported that the AMC has leased the entire lakeshore and will build a trail all around the lake with "backcountry" campsites. right now they are doing all they can to get the camp ready for opening day july 1. hopefully we will still have access to other areas of the lake not in the actual camp until they get this trail done which may take a while. so even if you bring your high limit credit card it may not work if you have not made an advance reservation with AMC Boston corporate HQ!!!  not sure what any of us can do about this until we get clear statements of facts regarding the policies...

Details in recent article in the Journal News

40 year lease. AMC pays $10k per year. Tax payers footed the bill($500,000) for a new water system.  Rentals run from $18 to $400 per night. AMC paid $1.5 million to ugrade buildings and grounds. Over 40 years even the cost of the water upgrades won't be covered by the annual fee to the park. I wonder if there was competitive bidding on this,or just a gift to the AMC?

Map updates.

Is there a way to report trails that are not shown on current maps to be shown on the next updated map set?   Across the street from the Echo Lake Office is a woods road which is not shown on the North Jersey Map set.   Also, in Back Beach Park (Wanaque), there is a maze of trails, maybe a map insert could be included in the next version since there are trails running within 50 feet of each other.

Thank you for the report

Posting here is one way to report map items like this, or on the other applicable pages on our site (for instance, the North Jersey map set product page or Pequannock Watershed park page).

In general, our maps attempt to show all routes on the ground, including unmaintained woods roads and trail.  As Estelle alludes to below, we do work closely with park managers and others to review whether any routes should not be shown.  So I have made note of this for us to consider with the next map update.

For Back Beach Park, which only includes one officially marked trail that connects to Ramapo Mountain State Forest, there isn't quite enough justification to produce a special inset map for the maze of unmarked trails and social paths.

Thank you for the suggestions, and certainly feel free to provide input about the maps in the future!

TC Cartographer

Echo Lake unmarked trail

The unmarked trail is not a maintained trail nor is a Trail Conference Trail.   Our maps do show dotted lines for unmarked trails or woods roads that are near our marked trails.  This trail should not be shown as it does not connect to any of our trails and in some places abuts private property.  Also, a City of Newark permit would be required to access that property.  There are miles of marked trails available for the public to hike.    I can't answer about Back Beach, but again, posting many dotted lines would serve to only confuse a hiker who will then call for help to find their way back.  We generally show marked and maintained trails.  It's important that hikers be kept on marked trails.  If you like exploring these, suggest you carry a compass and a flash light and have an appropriate permit if on Newark property. Estelle Anderson  co-chair Central North Jersey Trails 

Pipeline Work on LP in Cheesecote Park

Hiked the Long Path from Mt Ivy to Dunning Trail/Bald Rocks yesterday, and over all the trail is in great shape. However there is MAJOR construction going on at the point where the LP crosses a gas pipeline in Cheesecote Mt Town Park. I was barely able to cross the construction zone, and if they add the next section of pipe (a large green pipe or tube), passing at that point will not be feasble. I don't how much time passes before they bury the pipe sections after they are added, but while the pipe is above ground, a detour will be necessary. Perhaps the TC can find out how long this construction is expected to last, how long it wil affect this crossing, and put up a warning on the trail alerts page. I would hate to see someone's hike get ruined because they were unaware of this construction and any necessary detours.

pipeline work

  Thanks for the heads up. Notes have been posted in Trail Alerts and in Section 5 of the online Long Path Guide. Jakob

Thank You

Thanks for the quick updates. Hopefully it won't be too long before they get this section of pipe connected and buried, so normal crossing can resume.

Lenape Trail Bridge Closure

I submitted a trail problem report #11355 on 4/25/2016 but I am unaware of its status. In any case, on 4/24/2016 I observed that bridge / dam over Third River (in Clarks Pond Park) is closed, rupturing the Lenape Trail. (Clark's Pond Park is located in Bloomfield, after turning off of Clair Street, the trail is routed through Clarks Pond Park, over Third River to Bessida Street.) Status and/or recommended alternatives would both be appreciated.

Hornbecks Creek Trail near Del. Water Gap

Does anyone know how bad the Hornbecks Creek Trail is between the Upper and Lower Indian Ladder Falls? The trail is just north of the Pocono Environmental Education Center, and the Natl. Park Service says that the section between the falls is washed out, etc. Is it impassable? Thanks.

Checking on status of this trail

We are currently working on an update to our Kittatinny Trails map set, which covers this area, and we are working with National Park Service staff to resolve various items with the map update.  The condition of the Hornbecks Creek Trail is one of those items, but we do not yet have an answer.  This middle section of the trail is still officially closed by the park, so it should be avoided until it has been reopened.

TC Cartographer

Bridges and no bridges

We wanted to take the Sterling ridge trail from Long Pond Ironworks up to the Lake-to-Lake trail, but the stream just north of the ironworks was too fast-flowing to cross safely. Will the bridge that was once there ever be replaced?  This site has had no update since January 2015.  Thwarted, we drove up Sloatsburg road and parked in Ringwood Manor. We wanted to take a white trail--I think it is the Crossover--to reach the Cooper Union trail on the other side of the road. the footbridge over the brook just before the road was blocked with 2X4s nailed to the bridge and 2 traffic cones. We climbed over the barrier and the bridge seemed fine. It held up on the way back, too. I could not see why it was closed.

Status of bridges

1. The Sterling Ridge Trail/Highlands Trail bridge across the Wanaque River has been out since 2011, when Hurricane Irene swept through the area.  The Trail Conference has been working closely with NJ State Parks to replace this bridge, and due to several factors including the length of the bridge, it has been a significant undertaking.  Progress is being made, so we hope in the near future to be able to provide a better timeframe of when this bridge may be completed.

2.  The Crossover Trail bridge was closed around 2014 due to being in poor condition, and the park closed that section of trail between Sloatsburg Road and Ringwood Manor.  The park's hope was to reopen that short section once the bridge had been rebuilt, but this has not yet occurred.  Alternative ways to reach the Cooper Union Trail include the Shepherd Lake or Skylands Manor parking lots, or roadside parking along Morris Avenue at the bridge where the Crossover Trail crosses.

TC Cartographer

Long Path Otisville to Wurtsboro ridge state forest

Did this stretch on Friday. The trail along bashakill was pretty dry, with great scenery. It was awesome to see spring was really kicking in. Heading northbound, almost immediately after going under 17 the trail was completely flooded out with flowing water for about 20-30 feet. Not wanting to backtrack, I took my shoes off and decided to just slop through it and it wasnt too bad. I headed up the ridge into Wurtsboro forest but had to cut it a little short halfway to Ferguson road or so, I made my way down to the railroad bed right at the major saddle in the ridge. The railbed back to the VFW was filled with quite a bit of trash unfortunately. The trail in wurstboro ridge has amazing scenery, I would recommend it highly to anyone who hasnt seen it. Everything I walked that day was very well marked, and well maintained. Whoever handles tese sections does a great job.

Suffern to Bear Mtn. Trail - Rt. 106 to Bear Mtn. Inn

4/10/2016  Last section of the trail.  Good weather, cold, breezy, sunny, with very good views of NYC and the Hudson River from top of Pyngyp.  Scutt Memorial always a pleasure to visit, still intact.  Very good views at Cats Elbow and West Mtn. Shelter.  West Mtn. Shelter was in good condition and the new roof was noticable.  One long, roller coaster boulder field.  Trail was clear, needs a little TLC on the blazes.  Birds and plants starting to appear, after this extended cold weather.

Suffern to Bear Mtn. Trail - Ramapo Equine Center to Rt. 106

4/3/2016  Hiked this section of the SBM today.  What a fantastic day to go!  Snow and high winds made this section very dramatic.  The trail itself melted off the snow very quickly and was completely clear.  No ice or mud, while to each side of the trail snow covered the ground throughout the hike all day.  It looked like someone had dumped raw cotton all over the landscape.  A strange circumstance to say the least.  Trail was clear, the views were great with the cold, clear air and the constant winds.  Highest gust was about 20 mph that we measured on the trail, temp just about 35 F.  One interesting observation was the snow sticking to the trees only on the WNW side of each tree and no other part of the trunk, due to the rain last night and early this morning, and the following snow fall sticking to the water and freezing.  Made for a unique effect.

Suffern to Bear Mtn Trail- Suffern to Ramapo Equine Center

Hiked this section on Saturday March 19, 2016.  Definitly a moderate hike for difficulty for this section.  I hiked this trail 30 years ago.  It was not easy then and is still challenging now.  One long boulder field, with some good ascents/descents.    Trail was clear and marked well.  Thanks to the recent maintainers who appear to have performed alot of chainsaw maintenance on the trail.  Shelter was busy.  Lots of people camping overnight prior to the Sunday  storm.  Views south to NYC were very good, would have been great if it had been sunny and a little clearer.   Comments: 1. The Equine center is a good place to park but be prepared to encounter an aggressive german shepard the maintenance staff has on site.  The owner will leash the dog so you can get through to the trail head if you hail him.  Unfortunately the trail head's locations forces you to have to walk past this animal. 2. No comprehensive, overall trail description was found on the TC's web site.  Only a brief circuit hike for the northern end near Bear Mtn.  This trail is long enough (24-26? miles) it might be helpful to have such a description on line, like some of the other longer trails, and recommended camping sites for folks hiking the trail as through hikers.

We generally post only hike descriptions to the website

We generally post hike descriptions on the website (there are more than 35 hike descriptions for Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks alone), but not trail descriptions (except for certain long-distance trails, such as the Long Path and the Highlands Trail).  As you indicate, there is no hike description that features the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail in its entirety -- and we generally don't put 25-mile-long hikes on the website.  However, the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, along with all other trails in these parks, is described in detail in our Harriman Trails guidebook.

Slide Mountain

We are opening our horizons to the catskills this summer! We have plenty of experience in the southern NY/ northern NJ parks. Now from what I understand, the catskill peaks can be somewhat of a different animal. I have read about how when you get 'up there' in elevation, you tend to run into snow and ice far after its gone in the lower places.   That said, Slide mountain is on the southern end, its the highest peak and from what I have read, when approached from the west its one of the easier climbs....so we decided it would be where we break ourselves in to hiking the catskills.   My question is when can we expect to not have to use traction aid to climb it? Just how bad is the 'mud season' afterward? And finally if anyone has any tips for a catskill noob I would appreciate it! Thank you.

Some ice persists

My BF and I have done a few Catskills hikes in the last month. The ice is dwindling, but it persists in the high forests and slopes that don't see much sun. Bring microspikes. The mud also tends not to appear until at higher elevations. On our last hike, on Peekamoose Mountain, there was no mud until we passed 3500 feet. The rock ledges were for the most part dry and easy to climb, but they were exposed and on a southern slope.

Slide Mtn Hike in early March

Having experienced this area in the past in December and about this time of year, I would not go without traction.  Evergreen trees cover the trail overhead so any snow or ice underneath melts sloooowwwwly.  Additionally, the trail is very rutted from years of use, so melt water goes into the rut and refreezes in the main trail path, making it an ice rink.  My experience was to walk off trail and uses tree trunks for support.  This is by no means limited to this trail either.  Having walked the LP through this area in winter and early spring, these conditions tend to repeat themselves throughout the area.   If you are intent on going now, spend the money and get the traction gear.  You'll be happier, safer and have it for future walks.  Micro spikes or stabilicers will do the trick.  Good luck......

RPH Shelter / Parking

The RPH Shelter is listed as being open in April.  I would like to leave a car in this area for a week, starting 4/15.  Most of the road crossings have limited parking on the road shoulder.  Does anyone know if any of these parking spots are good for long term parking?  Is there a contact for the RPH caretaker / Ralph?

Responded to privately with

Responded to privately with some alternate safe parking. The shelter is now open year round. The is limited parking outside the gated road into the shelter which has not had any vandalism reports. There is no permanent caretaker, but several who monitor it frequently.

Southern Harriman Trail Report

This past weekend I hiked Harriman from the Reeves Visitor Center. I took a long loop using the Pine Meadow Trail (East), then Seven HIlls (south), the Ramapo Torne section of the HTS, then back north on the Seven Hills and back to Reeves. I'm happy to say that trail conditions were excellent. With the moderate temperatures, I found very little ice, no snow and not nearly as much mud as I would have expected. All the streams are running high and C-O-L-D right now, so take extra care when crossing, lest you get wet feet at the time of year when that is likely to ruin your hike.   I must note that twice on the Seven Hills Trail I lost the trail. My GPS track shows what appears to have been the ramblings of a drunken man in those spots. The location specifically was 7 Hills segment between Reeves Brook Trail and the HTS. The markers in a few places were indistinct or hard/impossible to see. If they're hard to follow now, with the trees bare, I imagine when the leaves sprout there will be others getting off trail as well.

7 hills between reeves brook and hts

there are  a few areas between the reeves brook and hts on the 7 hills. if you are heading north from the reeves brook trail toward pine meadow on the 7 hills it crosses the HTS by the "table rocks" and then crosses the pine meadow trail and then from the kakiat it heads up diamond mt where it crosses the HTS again near the top. my guess is that you are talking about the part where it heads up hill from the kakiat?? i  im in the park almost every day --i know it very well and still had trouble there a few weeks ago but  now its pretty easy to follow if you pay close attention.

High Mountain

The majority of the Red Trail in High Mountain is a stream/puddle. There are some dry sections but for most of hike, you have to hike off the trail alongside it.

Anthony Wayne trail in Harriman State Park

The section of the Anthony Wayne trail between 7 Lakes Dr and Rte 6 is usually wet at certain times, and today was one of them!   Much of the trail is lined with prickers.  Some wet spots were at least a few inches deep.  This section could really use some maintenance in the form of improved drainage or at least some stepping stones.