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Diamond Mountain/Stony Brook Loop
This loop hike at the southern end of Harriman State Park follows several picturesque streams and climbs to a viewpoint over Lake Sebago.
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation
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Take N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway and take the first exit, Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north, and continue through the Village of Sloatsburg. Just past the village, turn right at the traffic light, following the sign for Harriman State Park. Cross an overpass over railroad tracks and continue along the Seven Lakes Drive, passing under the Thruway overpass, and soon entering Harriman State Park. Proceed for another mile (from the Thruway overpass) to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on the right side of the road. Park in the Visitor Center parking lot.
Take the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line to the Sloatsburg station. From the station, cross the railroad tracks and head north on Ballard Avenue. When Ballard Avenue ends, turn right onto Academy Avenue and continue to Seven Lakes Drive. Turn right on Seven Lakes Drive, continue under the New York State Thruway, and pass Greenway Road and Laurel Road on the right. A short distance beyond, about 0.9 mile from the train station, you'll reach a bridge over the Stony Brook. On the bridge, you will notice a triple red-square-on-white blaze and a directional arrow, which mark the trailhead of the Pine Meadow Trail. Turn right, leaving the road, and follow this red-on-white-blazed trail for another 0.8 mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.
From the parking lot, head east (left when facing the woods), passing the Visitor Center to the left. You are following the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, which parallels Stony Brook, to the left. Continue ahead along this wide trail for 0.4 mile until you reach a fork. The yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail, which proceeds straight ahead, will be your return route, but you should bear right and continue along the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. After dipping slightly to cross Quartz Brook, the trail crosses a gas pipeline right-of-way and continues to follow a wide path along the hillside, high above Stony Brook (which can be heard below to the left).
About 1.2 miles from the start, you'll reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail, which leaves to the left. Turn left and follow this trail down to Pine Meadow Brook, which is crossed on a footbridge just above the scenic Cascade of Slid. NOTE: This footbridge was washed away by Hurricane Irene. See comment below. On the other side of the bridge, turn right onto the white-blazed Kakiat Trail, which follows the north side of the brook. In another third of a mile, the blue-on-white Seven Hills Trail joins, and a complex junction is reached just beyond. The Kakiat and Seven Hills Trails turn right to cross the brook, but you should continue straight ahead, now once again following the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail.
The trail ascends gradually through mountain laurel thickets, with the brook to the right. In another third of a mile, several huge boulders may be seen to the right. These boulders are known as Ga-Nus-Quah (Stone Giants). There are attractive cascades in the brook here, and this is a good spot to take a break.
After proceeding through a fairly level area, the Pine Meadow Trail bears right and climbs to a stone foundation, topped by concrete pillars - the remains of a building that served as the headquarters for several Civilian Conservation Corps camps in the 1930s. The "CCC boys" built several lakes in the area and the infrastructure for children's camps around the lakes, but the camps themselves were never completed. A broken, rusty pipe atop the foundation is a remnant of a water system installed but never used.
A short distance beyond, the Pine Meadow Trail curves right to cross Pine Meadow Brook. Here, a trail with blacked-out yellow blazes leads left, uphill. Leave the Pine Meadow Trail and follow the blacked-out blazes to the left. In 100 feet, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Diamond Mountain-Tower Trail. Turn right and follow the yellow blazes, which soon pass a large concrete structure in the valley below. This is a septic tank, built in 1934 but never put into operation.
Soon, the yellow-blazed trail turns left and begins a rather steep climb of Diamond Mountain. Near the top, the trail turns right and runs along open rock ledges, with views to the right over Pine Meadow Lake (to the right) and Lake Wanoksink (to the left). The yellow trail then bends to the left and descends slightly to end at a junction with the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail. Turn right and follow the Seven Hills Trail, which heads northeast along the ridge of Diamond Mountain.
The trail soon comes out on open rocks, with an unobstructed view to the north of Lake Sebago. This is another good place for a break. Continue ahead along the Seven Hills Trail, which briefly joins a woods road and then turns left, leaving the road, and descends.
About a quarter of a mile after leaving the road, you'll reach a junction with the Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail, blazed with a red dash on white. Turn left and follow the Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail downhill through thick mountain laurel thickets. The trail crosses Diamond Brook, climbs a minor rise, then descends to reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail just before reaching Stony Brook.
Turn left and follow the orange blazes. In about 500 feet, the orange blazes turn left again and proceed uphill, but you should continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail, which begins here. For the next two miles, the Stony Brook Trail parallels the scenic Stony Brook, which is to the right. At first, the trail detours to the left to cross Diamond Brook (some of the yellow blazes in this section have faded to white), but for most of the way, it runs close to Stony Brook. In about a mile and a half, the Stony Brook Trail is joined by the white-blazed Kakiat Trail, which comes in from the left, and both trails cross a footbridge over Pine Meadow Brook. A short distance beyond, the Kakiat Trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail.
After crossing a gas pipeline right-of-way and then Quartz Brook, the Stony Brook Trail ends at a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. Continue ahead, retracing your steps on the Pine Meadow Trail back to the parking lot where the hike began.