Green Pond/Boston Mine Longer Loop from Elk Pen

Overview

This loop hike goes through the interesting Valley of Boulders, passes pristine Green Pond, and reaches the historic Boston Mine.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
4.3 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Public Transportation, Historic feature
Publication
First Published:
12/17/2004

Updated/Verified:
07/03/2015
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Harriman State Park. Green Pond. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Elk Pen in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.264792, -74.15426
Driving Directions

Follow 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. Continue on Route 17 through the villages of Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and Southfields. About two miles north of Southfields, turn right onto Arden Valley Road. Cross the bridge over the New York State Thruway, then make the first right and park in the paved parking area to the west of a large meadow, known as the Elk Pen.

Bus

Take Shortline bus from Port Authority. Buy tickets to Southfield, but ask the bus driver to let you off at Arden Valley Road in Arden next to a "Welcome to Harriman State Park" sign (a couple of miles north of Southfields).  Return bus stops across the street - wave the driver down.  After you get off the bus, make a right onto Arden Valley Rd., walk across the bridge over the NY State Thruway,then make the first right  Continue through a paved parking area to the west of a large meadow, known as the Elk Pen

Description

Broken fence once used to enclose elk in The Elk Pen. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

From the parking area, proceed east across the meadow, followingthe white-blazed Appalachian Trail (the white blazes are on posts). At the end of the meadow, the trail curves to the right. In another 100 feet, the Appalachian Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead, now following the inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail.

You are heading south along the Arden Road, built by Edward Harriman in the 1890s. In places, the old road has narrowed to a footpath. You will notice remnants of an old wire fence on the right. This fence was built to enclose an area once inhabited by elk brought from Yellowstone National Park in 1919. The elk did not thrive, and the small remnant of the herd was relocated in 1942. The area formerly enclosed by the fence, though, is still known as the Elk Pen.

Cascade in Stahahe Brook near where the Stahahe Brook Trail turns off of Arden Road and begins to climb along Stahahe Brook. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

In a third of a mile, the A-SB Trail turns left, leaving the road, but you should continue ahead along the road, now following the Stahahe Brook Trail, marked with red-horizontal-stripe-on-white blazes. In another third of a mile, you’ll reach Stahahe Brook, with attractive cascades on the left. The road formerly crossed the brook on a stone-arch bridge, but the bridge was washed away during Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Follow the Stahahe Brook Trail as it turns left and begins to climb on a footpath parallel to the brook, visible below to the right. In about 0.4 mile, after a brief descent, the Stahahe Brook Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Nurian Trail. 

Turn left onto the Nurian Trail, which climbs on switchbacks, passing through an area where many trees were felled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. From the crest of the rise, the trail descends to cross the outlet stream of Island Pond, with a cascading waterfall to the left. It then turns left and begins to parallel the stream, passing more cascades and waterfalls, as well as an interesting grassy meadow. At the top of the ravine, it goes through the Valley of Boulders – a narrow passage between large rocks.

Nurian Trail as it passes through the Valley of Boulders. Photo by Daniel Chazin.The Nurian Trail now turns right and runs along a long, sloping rock, then continues along the crest of the rock, with limited west-facing views. A short distance beyond the end of the rock, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. Turn right, leaving the Nurian Trail, and follow the yellow blazes.

The Dunning Trail soon reaches a rock ledge overlooking Green Pond. This pristine pond – one of the very few in the park that was not enlarged by the construction of dams – is surrounded by reeds. You’ll want to take a break here to enjoy the wild beauty of this special spot.

The trail continues along the shore of Green Pond, following a rugged, rocky route. At one point, the trail passes beneath an overhanging rock. After moving away from the pond, the Dunning Trail briefly joins the white-blazed Nurian Trail, then turns left onto Island Pond Road. Soon, it turns right, leaving the road, and - in about 150 feet - reaches the entrance to the Boston Mine. This mine, which was last worked in 1880, is cut into the hillside, with a water-filled pit at the northern end. The mine entrance is usually quite wet, and caution should be exercised (do not approach the water-filled pit).

Northern end of The Boston Mine. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After taking a look at this interesting mine, go back to Island Pond Road and turn right. There are no blazes to guide you along this stretch of the road, but the route is clear and unmistakable. The road gradually descends through hemlocks and mountain laurel. After about a third of a mile, the A-SB Trail (red triangle on white blazes) joins from the right. You’ll be following this trail for the nearly the rest of the hike.

Just beyond, you’ll reach a fork. Follow the red-triangle-on-white blazes, which bear left and soon cross the outlet stream of Island Pond. This area is often wet, and it can be flooded after heavy rains. Watch carefully for a turn, where the blazed trail turns left, leaving the road, and continues on a footpath. The trail climbs over a rise, goes around the southern end of Green Pond Mountain, and comes out in an area where young hemlocks and pines are beginning to revegetate an area damaged by a forest fire. Just before the trail begins a steeper descent, an unmarked side trail on the right leads to a limited west-facing viewpoint from open rocks.

The A-SB Trail now turns right and begins to run along a ledge, with a fairly steep drop to the left. After passing by an overhanging rock, it turns sharply left and begins a rather steep descent on switchbacks. At the base of the steep descent, it bears left, crosses a stream, then turns right and levels off. Soon, it again begins to descend, but on a more moderate grade.

After crossing another stream, you’ll reach Arden Road. Turn right and follow the road, now retracing your steps. Where the A-SB Trail ends, turn left and follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail across the meadow to return to the Elk Pen parking area, where the hike began.

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

elk pen paved, whoa, i need

elk pen paved, whoa, i need to see that with my own eyes

Nice fall hike

I love this hike in the fall - the view above Green Pond always has a lot of nice color.

Some photos: http://www.agiletrekker.blogspot.com/2013/08/green-pond-boston-mine-longer-loop-from.html

Awesome

This hike shared the best of Harriman, including beautiful ponds, cool rock features, and tranquility of the woods and great views. I read in the forum that the trail was rerouted as to not cross the stahahe brook trail. Can you guys update this in the write up? It may throw some hikers off. They don't wan't to miss this great hike. Thanks!

Rare chance to take the original trail

Today the Stahahe Brook was so low, it was just a trickle and it was easy to cross and take the original trail, though the blazing is a little spotty it was still easy to follow.  A rare opportunity!  Great hike! And since the last time I was here, the Elk Pen parking lot has been nicely paved and the access road has been redone, so it's a lot easier to drive in!

Hike description has been updated

You are correct that the Arden Road bridge over Stahahe Brook was washed out by Hurricane Irene and will not be replaced.  As a result, the trail has been rerouted onto the other side of the brook to eliminate the need for this crossing.  The hike description has been updated.

Thanks

Great and thanks for everything you've done!

Green Pond hike

I really enjoyed this hike yesterday; there was so much to see.  Although I've seen many boulders in Harriman State Park, I found the Valley of Boulders very interesting; so many large boulders in one place.  Green Pond was a treat.  A beautiful pond on the top of the mountain AND it had a beaver lodge in it.  The Boston Mine was surprising as it just appeared in a rock formation.  I wonder how the miners knew there was ore (iron I'm guessing by the rust colored walls of the mine)?  I extended the hike by continuing along the trail after passing the Arden-Surebridge turn off to view the Garfield mine.  It was no where near as interesting as the Boston Mine.  It was basically a hole in the ground filled with water - a small pond.  All in all, a very enjoyable hike.

Great Hike

We just completed this hike this afternoon and we really enjoyed it. 

The only issue that we ran into is that both of the footbridges that cross the Stahahe Brook are no longer there.  For the second crossing it was not  huge deal, as there is a down tree that we could walk across.  The first one proved to be much more challenging as this is a large brook and we had our 7 pound Yorkie with us.

Despite the bridges not being there, we had a great time!  Thank you!

Thank you for this hike. I

Thank you for this hike. I really enjoyed it.

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Hike was great

Did this hike yesterday. Trail conditions were good, hike was exactly as described. Fantastic ice flows & icicles were seen when coming down off the final viewpoint. My Omron pedometer always tells me that these 4+ mile hikes are around 6 miles however. How is the distance measured?

Measurement of trail distances

In some cases, the distances given for the hikes on our website are just estimates.  However, in the case of hikes in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks, all of the trails have been carefully measured with a measuring wheel.  These detailed measurements appear in the guidebook Harriman Trails: A Guide and History, the new edition of which should be available within a week.  So, the measurement of the length of this hike should be exactly correct.

I have found pedometers to be quite inaccurate, especially when hiking on rocky, steep trails.  Remember, a pedometer measures distances by counting your footsteps, and it is normal to take a shorter step when negotiating rocky or steep terrain.  So I am not entirely surprised that your pedometer would normally record a greater distance than that indicated by measuring the trails with a wheel.

Thanks Daniel

This makes sense. I normally have a very long stride and when walking on the street, the distances on my pedometer always match almost exactly to my mapped distances using the gmaps pedometer hack. It's a great pedometer (Omron) so I really didn't think it was the problem. However, now that you brought my attention to it, I do tend to take very small steps while hiking. Especially yesterday on the downhills, I was quite hesitant due to lots of acorns & slippery leaves underfoot, & probably took many more steps than usual to cover the same distance. Appreciate the explanation! Debra

Great Hike!

I did this hike today with my husband and my dog. The above trail guide was dead on and easy to follow. Not only was the hike beautiful, it was extremely diverse with climbs, descents, ponds, waterfalls, streams to cross. On top of that, it was so well blazed. We've hike a lot in the area, and it was our favorite. Thanks for the wonderful directions!! It was really nice to be able to find a great trail without subscribing to some organization that costs $50 for a yearly subscription!

Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks for your feedback. We're glad you enjoyed the hike. Though we don't require a subscription to access the info on our website, donations and/or membership in the Trail Conference help keep this website up and running AND support the work we do to keep 1700+ miles of trails in our region open and in good shape for trail users. We appreciate your support!

Another problem with the description

I tried to take this hike today, but had some problems. I had this page printed out, as well as the New York Walk Book with the trail map. We never found the Dunning trail. As we were on the Nurian trail, we came to a broken up/paved asphalt road that wasn't on the description. we doubled back and followed the white blazed trail, which we presumed to be the Nurian trail, and we kept looking for the junction of the Dunning trail, but it led us back down toward 87. We hiked back up to the asphalt road, and followed it around the 200 yards or so that our map and NY Walk Book mentioned. At this point, we were at the tip of Lake Stahahe, and we followed the orad around, but found no trail that led back into the woods. We came upon a camp with a few buildings, and open field, and 2 woods roads, but we could never fine the Dunning trail or any yellow blazes. Did we miss something? Thanks.

Hike description has been fixed

I'm really sorry that you were unable to follow the description.  It seems that a critical paragraph was deleted from the online description -- how, why and when, I have no idea.  In any event, guided by the next paragraph that did appear, you turned right on the Nurian Trail, when in fact, you should have turned left.  That's why you got lost -- and it was not your fault.  The missing paragraph has been put back in the description, and you and others should now be able to complete this beautiful hike without getting lost.  Again, I apologize for the problem, and I want to thank you for bringing this important error to our attention.

This trail description

Haven't hiked it yet but I'm concerned. The description talks about a mine in para. 5 but has no reference beforehand. Has the appearance of some missing or out of place text. Out of place would serve to get a hiker lost. Just wondering. Answers? Also, wondering if last half of this hike is suitable in near-dark (that is, is last half on very clear paths?).

Problem with hike description

You are indeed correct; it seems that, in the course of uploading the hike description to the web site, two paragraphs were omitted.  I have fixed the hike description, and the missing paragraphs have been restored.  Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention!

As to your second question, portions of the last part of the route follow footpaths where you must pay careful attention to the blazes.  I would not recommend doing this part of the hike when it is nearly dark.