Appalachian Trail/Long Path Loop from Silvermine Picnic Area

Overview

This loop hike follows portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Long Path, passing Silvermine Lake and Lake Nawahunta.

Details
Time:
4.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
7.6 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Publication
First Published:
07/28/2006
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Silvermine Parking Area in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.295607,-74.05961
Driving Directions

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 Seven Lakes Drive/Harriman State Park. Continue along Seven Lakes Drive for about 12 miles to the Silvermine Picnic Area, on the right side of the road (the Silvermine Picnic Area is 2.1 miles beyond the Tiorati Circle). Park in the large parking area near the entrance (a parking fee is charged on weekends in the summer).

Description

This hike climbs over a series of ridges in the northern portion of Harriman State Park. It includes sections of two long-distance trails – the Appalachian Trail, which extends for over 2,150 miles from Maine to Georgia, and of the Long Path, which runs for about 350 miles, from the George Washington Bridge to near Albany, New York. The hike offers only limited views, especially in the summer, when the leaves are on the trees. But blueberry bushes are plentiful along the entire route, and hikers can enjoy the ripe blueberries during July and August.

To begin the hike, find the bridge over the stream at the southern end of the Silvermine Picnic Area (marked with a sign “Welcome to the Silvermine Boat Launch”). Here, you will see a yellow blaze of the Menomine Trail, which you will be following for the first part of the hike. Cross the bridge, then turn left onto a dirt road, passing two park maintenance buildings. Just before reaching Silvermine Lake, turn right, then bear left when you reach a brown-painted cinder block building. Here, the yellow blazes resume. Follow the trail into the woods on a rocky footpath.

Soon, you’ll again reach the shore of the lake. In a short distance, the trail widens to a woods road – the old Bockey Swamp Road. Before Silvermine Lake was created in 1934, the road followed the edge of what was then known as the Bockey Swamp. When the lake was filled with water, the northern portion of the road was submerged, and the old road emerges from the lake here.

Continue ahead on the level woods road. After passing the southern end of the lake, the road begins to climb, and it soon reaches a T-intersection. Continue to follow the yellow blazes of the Menomine Trail, which turns left onto another woods road. After crossing the inlet of the lake, the road begins to climb, first gradually, then more steeply.

At the top of the rise, the stone William Brien Memorial Shelter is on the left. Overnight camping is permitted here, and the shelter is frequented by thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, who hope to complete the entire trail from Georgia to Maine (if you’re lucky, you might meet a thru-hiker along the trail!). Built in 1933 as the Letterrock Shelter, the shelter was renamed in 1973 in memory of Mr. Brien. This is a good place to take a break.

When you’re ready to continue, proceed for about 50 feet ahead on the Menomine Trail to a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (R-D). Turn right onto the joint A.T./R-D, which climbs to one of the peaks of Letterrock Mountain, with a dense understory of blueberries. You might get a glimpse of the Hudson River from the crest of the rise, but most views are obscured by the trees. The A.T./R-D descends from the peak, then levels off through dense mountain laurel.

After crossing the intermittent Bockey Swamp Brook, the A.T. diverges from the R-D. Bear left, leaving the A.T., and continue to follow the red-dot-on-white-blazed R-D Trail. The R-D now begins a steady, gradual climb of Goshen Mountain. At the top, it crosses the summit ridge. Upon reaching the 1,320-foot summit at the southern end of the ridge (with a limited west-facing view), the trail turns sharply right and begins a steady descent.
Soon, the R-D levels off on a woods road. It follows the road for about half a mile, then – with Tiorati Brook Road visible ahead in the distance – turns sharply right. The trail now follows an old woods road that has, for part of the way, narrowed to a footpath. After a level stretch, the trail begins a gradual descent to Seven Lakes Drive.

The R-D crosses Seven Lakes Drive and continues on a wide dirt road that leads into Youmans Flats, a park maintenance area. To the left, the ridge of Fingerboard Mountain may be seen across a wetland. At the entrance to the maintenance area, the trail turns left along a chain-link fence and begins to follow a grassy woods road. Soon, the road bears left, crosses a wooden bridge over a stream, and begins a gentle climb.
In a short distance, you’ll reach a junction where the A.T. crosses. Here, the R-D turns left and once again begins to run jointly with the A.T., but you should proceed straight ahead, leaving the R-D, and continue along the grassy woods road. Although unmarked, the road is clear and easily followed, even in several places where it is partially overgrown by vegetation and has narrowed to a footpath.

When you reach the crest of the rise, watch for a cairn (pile of rocks) on the right. Turn sharply right here onto the aqua-blazed Long Path, which heads north, following the ridge of Stockbridge Mountain. The trail climbs steeply over a rise, then descends. After a level stretch, the Long Path again begins to climb, eventually reaching the 1,340-foot summit of the mountain – the highest point of the hike. The summit is marked by a large rock ledge, with a limited view to the west through the trees.

The trail continues north along the ridge of the mountain, with some ups and downs. In about a mile, as the trail descends, you’ll notice a large cantilevered rock – known as Hippo Rock – to the left. Just beyond, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Menomine Trail.

Turn right and follow the Menomine Trail, which descends on an old woods road. It soon bears left and levels off, then turns right and resumes its descent. Near the base of the descent, you’ll pass through a pine grove and cross the outlet of Lake Nawahunta. The trail briefly parallels the lake, then bears right onto the Nawahunta Fire Road, which it follows to Seven Lakes Drive.

The trail crosses the road and reenters the woods. After crossing the entrance road to an abandoned parking area for the former Silvermine Ski Area (this parking area is now overgrown with vegetation), the trail follows a dirt road through a picnic area and soon reaches the parking area where the hike began.

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

directions are correct

Daniel is absolutley correct as usual. It is a little confusing at the shelter, we too missed the south turn on the AT for about 100 yards - but, having a map, went back and found the south turn. Trail is easy, 3.5 hours. Thanx as always, Daniel.

Poor directions

My friend and I used these directions and they are completely inaccurate. They say you cross Seven Lakes Drive when its really the Palisades parkway. Also, the "unmarked but clear" trail is unfindable.   After having to buy a map at the Palisades Parkway Visitors Center, we found our way back. After we compared the accurate map to the directions, we realized the directions did not make any sense whatsoever. They would tell us to turn onto trails that were miles away and did not even intersect with the trail we were on.   The first half is amazing-up until the point where it instructs you to "cross Seven lakes Dr" (which is really the Parkway). You can either buy a map to figure out where to go from this point on or turn around and hike back the way you came, but do not follow these directions!

This Hike Description is Clear and Accurate

I've followed these directions on this hike a few weeks ago. I did not have any problems, I did not get lost, and I had a great day - these directions are just fine. I've followed Mr. Chazin's directions here and on about 10 or more other hikes and have never gotten lost. But even though I trust Mr. Chazin's descriptions, I will never undertake a hike without a trail map and a pocket compass. If it's my first time doing a particular hike described by Mr. Chazin (or other), I make sure to spend 5-10 minutes before the hike reading through the entire hike description, with the map in hand, following the described route on the map. Lack of simple, basic preparation; momentary absent-mindedness; or general carelessness are to blame for having gotten lost - these directions are not to blame. Thank you Mr. Chazin for your generous contributions.

Hike directions are accurate

I was puzzled by your allegation that my directions for this hike are "completely inaccurate." Having written descriptions for over 250 hikes that currently appear on the Trail Conference website, I take pride in the accuracy of my descriptions, and I carefully check out each hike before writing the description. I would never mistake the Palisades Interstate Parkway for the Seven Lakes Drive, and I know that the "unmarked but clear" trail that I refer to is obvious and can easily be followed. I also could not understand how, if you were lost in the woods, you could somehow stumble upon the Park Visitor Center, where you were able to purchase a map.   Having now had the opportunity to examine the map and compare it against my description, I think I understand what happened. When you reach the William Brien Memorial Shelter, the hike description states: "Proceed for about 50 feet ahead on the Menomine Trail to a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (R-D). Turn right onto the joint A.T./R-D." It seems clear to me that, instead of turning right on the A.T./R-D., you turned left. If you turn left on the A.T./R-D., you would eventually reach the Palisades Interstate Parkway, with the Park Visitor Center about half a mile to the north. That would explain how you got to the Visitor Center. And it would also explain your erroneous comment that the directions "would tell us to turn onto trails that were miles away."   Next time, please follow the directions more carefully.   Again, to repeat, the directions given for this hike are accurate, but – like all hike descriptions – they need to be followed carefully.   Finally, I should add that one should always take along a map -- even if you are following my directions.  I always take a map along, even if I am very familiar with the trails.  While I try to write my trail descriptions so that they can be followed by a hiker without a map, I strongly encourage all hikers to take a map along on every hike.

hike directions

Daniel, We took this hike this past weekend as well as another and can say that any messups were our own and if you don't see a marker within a few minutes, you should know enough that you did something wrong.   What, however, is confusing about this hike is the junction at the Brien shelter.   Maybe this has changed over time as hikers have redefined the main trails.   I would currently describe the yellow Menomine Trail as passing directly in front of the shelter.   I would ALSO describe the AT trail as passing directly in front of the shelter making the two trails overlap for that short distance.  So, if you pass the shelter on the left and continue 50 feet down the yellow trail, you've technically passed the AT junction you wanted to turn right on.  There was a red on white maker for the RD trail that you will see but many campers use that area as well and you might end up walking through their camp.   Even if you do that, you can get confused because there are some other white looking markers that you can confuse for the AT markers that take you to a small spring.   We followed those and then saw no more markers wondering where we got lost..   We were later told by another hiker who agreed that those markers may look white but are technically real light blue and actually do just take you to that spring and that's the end of them.   So, the right turn you want really is slightly BEFORE the shelter.   Hopefully, this will help other hikers.