Furnace Loop/Indian Hill Loop Trails from Hall Road

Overview

This hike passes the historic Southfields Furnace and climbs to the Indian Hill Loop Trail, which offers several viewpoints of the surrounding countryside and crosses numerous old stone walls.

Details
Time:
3 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
4.3 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Historic feature
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Orange
State:
NY
Maps/Books
Buy Trail Map:

Web Map:

Map:
Sterling Forest State Park Information Center Trail Map (available at visitor center)

Buy Book:
Publication
First Published:
04/22/2013
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Sterling Forest State Park. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Sterling Forest Hall Drive Parking in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.25291145066675,-74.18313950300217
Driving Directions

Take N.Y. Route 17 North through Sloatsburg and Tuxedo, and continue on Route 17 past the intersection with NY 17A into Southfields. About 1.3 miles beyond the intersection with NY 17A, turn left onto Orange Turnpike (County Route 19). In 0.6 mile, turn left onto Hall Drive and park in a parking area on the left side of the road at a curve.

Description

From the parking area, proceed ahead (north) on Hall Drive,heading uphill and following the white blazes of the Wildcat Mombasha Creek footbridge. Photo by Daniel Chazin.Mountain Trail (the blazing along Hall Drive is very sparse). When you reach Orange Turnpike, turn right and cross the road, climb over the guardrail, and descend to cross a footbridge over Mombasha Creek. The trail now turns right and heads east, parallel to the stream.

Southfileds Furnace. Photo by Daniel Chazin.Just beyond, the white-blazed trail ends, and you should continue ahead on the red-blazed Furnace Loop Trail, which passes the remains of the historic Southfields Furnace, originally built in 1805, rebuilt in 1836 and last fired in 1887, on the right. Besides the furnace itself, the stone-arch charging bridge and several walls of the casting room still stand. The trail continues along an old railroad bed, then turns left and begins to climb on a woods road.

After descending a little, the Furnace Loop Trail climbs rock steps below rock outcrops on the left to reach a junction (marked by a cairn) with the white-stripe-on-yellow-blazed Indian Hill Loop Trail (as of this writing, there are also some plain yellow blazes along this trail). You will be continuing north on this trail, but for now, turn left and follow both red and white-stripe-on-yellow blazes. The trail soon bends to the right and, in about three minutes, turns sharply left at a cairn. Continue ahead, now following the yellow-bird-on-green blazes of the Warbler Trail, which soon bears right and descends to the dam of an attractive pond. This is a good place to take a break.

When you’re ready to continue, retrace your steps back to the junction of the red-blazed Furnace Loop and white-stripe-on-yellow-blazed Indian Hill Loop Trails and continue ahead, now following only the white-stripe-on-yellow blazes of the Indian Hill Loop Trail. The trail crosses a stream on rocks and climbs to a panoramic south-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge. It then ascends to the ridgetop, which it follows north.

After a relatively level stretch, the trail climbs to the highest point on the ridge (1,047 feet). Just beyond, South toward the Elk Pen and Harriman. Photo by Daniel Chazin.rock ledges to the right of the trail offer unobstructed views across the Ramapo Valley to Harriman State Park. Green Pond Mountain dominates the view, with the grassy Elk Pen in the foreground and the New York State Thruway below in the valley.

From the ridge, the trail descends gradually on switchbacks. Near the bottom, it briefly follows a stone wall, then turns right onto a woods road. At the base of the descent, it turns left onto a woods road between unusually wide stone walls. Soon, the trail turns right, goes through a gap in a massive stone wall, and continues on a footpath, passing a huge oak tree.

After crossingSterling Forest wide stone walls. Photo by Daniel Chazin. a stone wall, the Indian Hill Loop Trail reaches a junction with a blue-blazed trail that begins on the right (this blue-blazed trail heads north to connect, in 0.4 mile, with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail). Here, the Indian Hill Loop Trail turns left and begins to parallel the stone wall. It soon crosses two more stone walls, as well as a woods road lined on both sides with wide stone walls.

After passing through a wide gap in yet another stone wall, the trail turns left onto a grassy woods road. At a T-intersection, it turns right onto another woods road, which it follows for about a quarter mile to a barrier gate. Here, you’ll see a triple blaze that marks the official end of the Indian Hill Loop Trail. Turn left and climb to the parking area, where you will notice a kiosk on the left and a triple blaze that marks the start of the Indian Hill Loop Trail.

Turn left and reenter the woods on a footpath. The trail proceeds through a hemlock grove, bears right and climbs to the crest of a rise. After descending a little, it climbs through mountain laurel to reach a open granite ledge, with west-facing views over the hills of Sterling Forest.

A short distance beyond, you’ll reach a junction with the red-blazed Furnace Loop Trail (marked by a cairn). Turn right and descend steeply on this red-blazed trail, passing lichen-covered cliffs and interesting rock outcrops along the way. At the base of the descent, you’ll reach a junction with the white-blazed Wildcat Mountain Trail. Turn right, now retracing your steps, and follow the white blazes across the stream and along Hall Drive back to the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

This could have been an enjoyable hike, but...

We did this hike the yesterday (6/15/16). The directions are fine but there are a couple of places where they are a little ambiguous. 85-90% of this hike is fine, but the other 10-15% of the hike miserable, especially if you don't like ticks, thorns, and poison ivy. There are several sections that are very overgrown with vegetation, to the point where you cannot tell where the trail is. I flet like I was rubbing against ticks and poison ivy for so much of the hike that I could not wait for it to be over. (If it was fall and I had long pants I wouldn't have minded so much). When I got home I was picking ticks off my legs, and scrubbing with poison ivy soap for quite a while. This hike is overdue for maintenance, at which point I would probably recommend it, but not before.

Poor description

A friend and I did this hike on 5/3/14. The initial description above is misleading and wrong. Misleading in that you are told to proceed north on Hall Drive following the white blazes -- there are no white blazes along the road. The only while blazes lead up a hill and away from the road. Wrong in that you are instructed to proceed to Orange Tpke and turn right -- do not turn right! You must turn left, and walk up about 100 yards in order to get to the footbridge.

Description is correct

I was very surprised to see your comment -- especially since I just did the hike about a year ago and was virtually certain that my description is correct.  So I made a special trip this afternoon to the trailhead and found that, as I had thought, my description is completely accurate.  There are a few white blazes along Hall Drive as you proceed north.  There is a double blaze on the pavement right by the parking area, and there is also a white blaze on a tree further north along the road.  It is true that the blazing is rather sparse (and I've amended the description to point this out), but, if you look for them, you will notice a few white blazes along the road.  When you reach Orange Turnpike, you turn right (not left), cross the road, climb over the guardrail, and descend to cross the footbridge. Presumably, you headed south, rather than north, on Hall Drive.  If you do this, you then have to turn left onto Orange Turnpike and walk along this busy road for several hundred yards until you come to the trail.  But if you follow the directions and head north rather than south on Hall Drive, the directions are entirely correct as written.

Further Detail

Unlike most trails where you park and head into the woods as you follow the blazes, this one requires you to park, walk in the opposite direction away from the trail and uphill on Hall Drive, then across the street and over the footbridge across the stream. If you do a lot of hiking, the beginning is counter-intuitive unless you read these posts before proceeding. And don't bother looking for the white blazes on Hall Drive - they may be there, but for the normal mortal hiker its a puzzle. As for the walk, I don't rate this area highly. The furnace is interesting to look at and you cover the overgrown slag on your way to the trail but you don't get the kind of views you get on the Hudson trails or in the North Jersey trails. Thanks to Daniel Chazin for revising the trail description.