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Green Pond/Boston Mine Longer Loop from Elk Pen
This loop hike goes through the interesting Valley of Boulders, passes pristine Green Pond, and reaches the historic Boston Mine.
Moderate to Strenuous
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation, Historic feature
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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 at a sign “Hikers’ Trailhead Parking.” Park in the dirt parking area to the west of a large meadow, known as the Elk Pen.
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 instead of making your first right into the parking lot, keep going straight past the "road closed" sign to two white A.T. blazes to turn right onto a woods road between two stone pillars with a chain across (this way you avoid walking thru the Elk Pen meadow with the bristles and mud).
From the parking area, follow an unmarked woods road east across the meadow. At the end of the meadow, you will notice three red-triangle-on-white blazes, which mark the start of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail. Turn right and follow the A-SB Trail south. In about 100 feet, the Appalachian Trail leaves to the left.
Continue ahead along the A-SB Trail, which follows the Old Arden Road, built by Edward Harriman in the 1890s. You’ll notice remnants of an old wire fence to 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. In about half a mile, the A-SB Trail turns left, leaving the road (the junction is marked by a cairn), 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 go around a metal gate and cross a wide wooden bridge over Stahahe Brook, with attractive cascades to the left. Just beyond the bridge, follow the Stahahe Brook Trail as it turns left, leaving the Old Arden Road, and climbs the hillside on a rather steep footpath. It soon turns left onto a woods road and continues high above the brook. After crossing a tributary stream on rocks, the Stahahe Brook Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Nurian Trail.
Turn left and follow the Nurian Trail, which descends on a footpath to cross a wooden footbridge over Stahahe Brook. After climbing over a 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. At the top of the ravine, it goes through an area with many large rocks, known as the Valley of Boulders.
The Nurian Trail now turns right and runs along a long, sloping rock. The trail was formerly marked along the crest of the rock, and you may choose to follow this route (which can be very slippery if the trail is wet or icy). Just 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 the base of the cliff. 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).
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 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 climbs on a footpath. The trail goes around the southern end of Green Pond Mountain and comes out in an area where damage from a recent forest fire is noticeable. Here, just to the right of the trail, there is a west-facing viewpoint from open rocks.
The A-SB Trail now bears 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 right and levels off. After crossing a stream, it again begins to descend, but on a more moderate grade.
Finally, you’ll reach the Old Arden Road. Turn right and follow the road, now retracing your steps for 0.4 mile. Where the A-SB Trail ends, turn left and follow the woods road across the meadow to return to the Elk Pen parking area, where the hike began.