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Appalachian Trail/Iron Mountain Trail/Double Pond Trail Loop from Park Headquarters
This relatively level loop hike follows woods roads through this scenic park, passing through thick groves of rhododendron and hemlock, and goes by Wawayanda Lake and the historic Wawayanda Furnace.
Allowed on leash
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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Take I-287 to Exit 57 (Skyline Drive) and continue on Skyline Drive to its western terminus at Greenwood Lake Turnpike (County Route 511). Turn right and proceed north on Greenwood Lake Turnpike. When you reach a fork at 7.0 miles, bear right to continue on Greenwood Lake Turnpike. Then, at 8.5 miles, again take the right fork to continue on Warwick Turnpike (still County Route 511). Proceed for another 4.5 miles to the entrance to Wawayanda State Park, on the left. Follow the entrance road for 0.3 mile to the parking lot at the park office.
DescriptionFrom the kiosk at the north end of the parking lot, follow the blue-blazed Hoeferlin Trail, which heads north on a woods road, passing through a forest of hemlock, mountain laurel and deciduous trees. In a quarter of a mile, you'll reach an intersection with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Turn left and follow the A.T., which heads into the woods on a footpath. In a short distance, a blue-blazed trail on the right leads to the Wawayanda Shelter, situated on the top of a rise. Overnight camping by A.T. hikers is permitted here, and you might want to take a short detour to this wooden shelter. Continue ahead on the A.T., which descends gradually. Soon, you'll cross the wide Wawayanda Road, a dirt road. The A.T. climbs a rise, with Kazmar Lake visible through the trees to the left, then descends gradually, crossing a woods road along the way. About half a mile from Wawayanda Road, follow the A.T. as it turns left onto dirt Iron Mountain Road and begins a steady descent. To the north (right) along Iron Mountain Road, a path leads to the ruins of the former Kazmar home. A chain-link fence surrounds the site, but the stone foundation and brick-and-stone chimney may still be seen. At the base of the descent, the road crosses Wawayanda Creek on an iron bridge that dates to the 1890s (although the wooden deck and railing is newly built). Just past the bridge, the A.T. bears right, leaving the road, but you should bear left to continue on Iron Mountain Road, now officially designated as the Iron Mountain Trail. The Trail Conference map incorrectly shows this trail as blazed red. In fact, it is blazed blue, but the blazes are few and far between, and mostly faded. However, the road is clear and unmistakable and can be easily followed. Continue along Iron Mountain Road, which climbs a rise, descends to cross a stream, and then follows a relatively level route. In 1.2 miles, you'll approach the park entrance road and reach a fork. There is a small shelter with a bench to the left if you want to take a short break, but to continue on the trail, follow the right fork down to the entrance road, cross it (note the blue-blazed plastic wand at the crossing), and proceed south along the woods road. Soon, you'll reach the southern end of the Iron Mountain Trail at a green handicapped-accessible restroom adjacent to the parking lot for Wawayanda Lake. Head towards the lake, but when you reach the edge of the parking lot parallel to the lake, turn left and walk towards the southeast corner of the parking lot. Here, you will find the start of the yellow-blazed Double Pond Trail. Head east, parallel to an arm of the lake, along the Double Pond Trail, which follows a wide dirt road. "Double Pond" was the original name of Wawayanda Lake, which consisted of two separate bodies of water before the Thomas Iron Company constructed a stone dam in 1862. As you continue along the trail, the stone dam may be seen to your right. The blue-blazed Wingdam Trail begins at the dam and heads south, but you should continue ahead along the yellow-blazed Double Pond Trail. Soon, you'll cross a wooden footbridge amid stone ruins and reach the historic Wawayanda Furnace. Built in 1845 by Oliver Ames and his sons to smelt the iron ore mined in the area, it was in operation for less than 20 years. The furnace is largely intact, and plaques on its east side relate some of its interesting history. After taking some time to explore the area, continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Double Pond Trail, which bears left as the blue-blazed Laurel Pond Trail begins ahead. The Double Pond Trail crosses a bridge over a stream and passes a park sign indicating that the trail is blazed yellow. After passing through a group campsite, the trail descends slightly to cross a wetland on a bridge, with a boardwalk along the right side. Just beyond, the Red Dot Trail begins to the right, but you should continue ahead on the Double Pond Trail, which goes through the Wawayanda Swamp Natural Area - a fascinating and ecologically significant tract. The vegetation changes to a dense mix of hemlock and rhododendron, with rhododendron soon becoming the dominant species. In places, the trail narrows as it tunnels through dense rhododendron thickets. Especially after heavy rains, portions of the trail may be quite wet (unless you wear waterproof boots, be prepared to get your feet wet), but the beauty of the rhododendron thickets makes this trail section one not to be missed! The trail is particularly spectacular when the rhododendron is in bloom - usually, the first week in July. About a mile from the furnace, you'll come to a fork. The blue-blazed Cedar Swamp Trail takes the right fork, but you should bear left to continue on the Double Pond Trail. In another half a mile - just before a turnaround at the end of the driveable road - turn left onto the blue-blazed Hoeferlin Trail and immediately pass through a dense rhododendron tunnel. Although the Hoeferlin Trail follows a woods road, it is badly eroded, and stretches of the trail are quite rocky. The vegetation becomes a mix of rhododendron, hemlock and mountain laurel, with deciduous trees gradually becoming more dominant. After about a mile, at a bend in the Hoeferlin Trail, the Black Eagle Trail begins to the left. Continue ahead on the Hoeferlin Trail, which begins a steady descent, reaching the park office in another half a mile. The parking lot where the hike began is just to the right.