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.

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? 

 

Thanks!! 

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 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 in throughout 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?

Jonathan

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.

 

Estelle 

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?

ATVs

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.

atvs

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

ATVs

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

Or

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...

Yes

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.

ATVs in Harriman

 

These reports have been forwarded to the volunteers and staff who work in Harriman. 

Illegal activity in our parks is best reported immediately to Parks Police, in our area: 845-786-2781.

Short of that, illegal activity can also be reported via a web form that goes immediately to the appropriate volunteers or staff: http://www.nynjtc.org/webform/illegal-usage-problem-report

Thank you all.

FISHING LINE DANGER

ok i just need to rant about an issue that really bothers me. last month around turkey hill lake we saw a bunch of guys coming toward us with fishing rods and lines, said hello pleasantly and passed on. a few hundred yards up the trail we were all of a sudden caught in a web of fishing line, the dogs were NOT HAPPY --i was with a friend and we each had 2 dogs and none of us could move. luckily i had a handy knife tool and was able to cut some of the line and free ourselves up but it was very upsetting. now today 6/1 we found a makeshift rod from a stick with fishing line and A HOOK left on the rocks at island pond!!!! my friend's dogs got caught in the fishing line and luckily managed to avoid the hook. please if you all see people that have fishing gear please tell them to keep track of their fishing line and hooks and not leave them lying around. it can have disastrous results for wildlife as well as people and dogs. 

atvs

saw another one today, i was coming down the pine meadow trail toward the EQ center on the power line and there was one way ahead of me. either the atv rider had a dog or a dog was chasing along side the ATV. i couldnt get near enough to take a picture or report it.it was heading SW on the power line toward the sherwood path...maybe they come in from there on 202

atvs

i was hiking with my dogs in the ladentown area a few weeks ago and all of a sudden heard a huge VROOOM....  i was on an unmarked trail/woods road. i got the camera out and took pictures of 2 atvs.... i called the park police immediately and told them the location. i believe the # is on the maps. 845 786 2781. the regular park # is rarely answered and not on weekends. i emailed with a park official who told me that they are investigating and thanked me for the photos. i do not have a public email yet to send such photos but i can ask next time our committee meets w the park. the atvs really trash the trails and they are not allowed on the woods roads either....perhaps they think because the trails are not marked in certain areas that they can bring their atvs there

Mountain Bikes

About a month ago, i passed some guys riding mountain bikes on the TMI trail, also near Ladentown- those aren't allowed either, correct?

Mt bikes are permitted only

Mt bikes are permitted only on the Horn loop by Anthony Wayne in Harriman State Park.  Although I understand another mixed use trail is being considered somewhere between Harriman and Sterling Forest.

Ive seen these ATV riders

Ive seen these ATV riders dozens of times in that section (around reservoirs!) of Harriman. Clearly these are local people.  You would 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.

Also, ATVs, if they are registered properly, have a licence plate on the rear of the vehice which should help identify the offender.

ATVs all over Harriman on Memorial Day (8 of them)

Why can't the Trail Conference publish a phone number and email address to report illegal trail use directly to the Palisades Interstate Park police and rangers? If the Park received cell calls or emails and photo reports promptly when ATVs are seen, the rangers/police might be able to take action. The rangers do have ATVs and do ride them. If the Park knew the public was unhappy with ATVs destroying trails and beautiful woods roads, it would be a lot more effective than stale reports forwarded a day or more later by the Trail Conference. Has anyone ever had any real feedback from reports to the TC? Does anyone think that reports filed with the TC as a middleman have been effective? When was the last time you heard the Trail Conference was honestly trying to make an issue over illegal trail use? 

 

Kakiat Trail

is in rough shape from the trailhead in Tuxedo to the point where it meets the White Bar Trail. Numerous muddy/swampy sections, as folks are creating bypasses. I would highly recommend that the Trail Supervisor for this area walk the trail and consider rerouting portions of the trail to higher/drier ground. 

If anyone is planning on using this trail in the near future, be prepared to either have wet feet, or to be forging through side paths along the trail.

Suffern Bear Mountain Trail, Southern Terminus

I've read that the trailhead is off the sidewalk 500 feet N of the 87/287 overpass. Looking on Google Maps I don't see any marking or what looks like a trail leaving the sidewalk. Does anyone know if there is a sign, blaze or landmark that indicates the location of the trail head?

Also, I'm planning on taking the train from NY Penn Station to the Suffern Station and walking to the trailhead. Does this seem reasonable?

Trailhead of S-BM Trail in Suffern

The trailheadof the S-BM Trail  is in fact right off the sidewalk, about 500 feet north of the I-87/287 overpass in Suffern. You just walk north under the very wide overpass and continue past a few houses. You then encounter a huge rock adjacent to the sidewalk, and just beyond it there is a stone wall. Just past the stone wall, you will see a triple-yellow blaze on a boulder, which marks the start of the trail. The continuation of the trail uphill is plainly marked with yellow blazes.

It's not surprising that you don't see this trail on Google Maps.  Very few trails are shown on Google Maps, and you can't rely on it as a source of information about trails. The trailhead is plainly shown on the Trail Conference's Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map 118.

The distance from the Suffern station to the trailhead is about 0.4 mile, which is certainly walkable.

Agree with everything Daniel

Agree with everything Daniel said, just be aware that the initial climb from the trailhead is very rocky, and steep in some spots, so if conditions are wet, you will need to take extra care.

I haven't been to this area in over a year, but the last few times i was there, this part of the trail was in desperate need of some trail maintenance.

The walk from the station to the trailhead is one of the shortest from public transit to trails you will find in the area .

Suffern Bear Mountain Trail

Thanks to you both. I've since "re-looked" at Google Maps street view and see the blazes indicating the start of the trail.

What I'm trying to figure out now is how to get back to NYC (preferable Penn Station) from the Bear Mountain end of the trail.

All I've been able to find so far is: cross the BM Bridge to Manitou Station and take Metro North? back to Grand Central Station.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks again for the help.

 

Bob

 

Taxi option

Some people arrange for a taxi from the front of the Bear Mt Inn to Peekskil train station.

Bus!

There is a Shortline bus that goes from Bear Mountain to Port Authority. It doesn't run often, and I believe the last one on weekends is at 5:15. I think it stops at the Bear Mountain Inn.

Other than that, your only option that i know of is the train from Manitou.

Are you planning on hiking the entire SBM in one day?  If so, are you familiar with the trail?  It is one of the toughest in the park IMO, and you should figure at least 10-12 hours minimum to finish it.