West Mountain (Timp-Torne/A.T. and Beechy Bottom Road) Loop from Anthony Wayne Recreation Area

Overview

This loop hike climbs to the ridge of West Mountain, passing several expansive viewpoints over the Hudson River and the surrounding hills.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Orange, Rockland
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
07/30/2009
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Photo by Daniel Chazin

Parking


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Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.297598, -74.027274

Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 17 (Anthony Wayne Recreation Area) and park in the large parking area just to the right of the entrance kiosk.

Description

From the parking area, walk back along the entrance road until you reach a gravel road on the right blocked off with a gate. Turn right and follow this road, marked with the white blazes of the Anthony Wayne Trail. Bear right at the next fork and continue uphill, proceeding ahead across a four-way intersection.

When you reach a T-intersection, turn left. Then, in 25 feet, you'll notice three red-"F"-on-white blazes on a tree to the right, which mark the start of the Fawn Trail. Turn right onto the Fawn Trail, which climbs, using switchbacks and rock steps for part of the way, to reach a junction with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail.

Turn right onto the Timp-Torne Trail and climb steeply over rocks to reach a viewpoint to the left over Bear Mountain (with the Perkins Memorial Tower visible at the summit). After a short level stretch, the trail continues its steady climb, steeply in places.

In about a third of a mile, you'll emerge onto a panoramic viewpoint from an open rock ledge, with Bear Mountain and the Hudson River visible to the left, the north parking area at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area (where the hike began) below to the right, and Black Mountain in the background.

After another relatively level stretch, the Timp-Torne Trail climbs to reach a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Continue ahead, now following both blue and white blazes. Soon, you'll reach another viewpoint to the left over Bear Mountain and the Hudson River. The trail now swings to the west side of the ridge and emerges at a west-facing viewpoint over Black Mountain, with the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the two large parking areas for the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area visible in the valley below.

The joint A.T./Timp-Torne Trail proceeds south along the ridge for about two-thirds of a mile, passing more viewpoints to the west. After reaching another east-facing viewpoint, with a tower of the Bear Mountain Bridge visible between Bear Mountain and Anthony's Nose (on the east side of the river), you'll come to a junction, marked by a sign. Here, the A.T. continues ahead, but you should turn left and follow the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, which heads southeast, crossing a fire-scarred ridge.

Soon, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail. Turn right and follow the S-BM Trail, which descends to a valley, where it crosses a stream. After climbing out of the valley, it crosses another fire-scarred area, with some young pine trees. It then descends from a rock ledge, joining the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail on the way down.

The joint trail soon comes out on a slanted rock ledge (near a steep climb known as "Cats Elbow") with a panoramic south-facing view (the Hudson River is visible to the east). Here, the two trails split. You should turn right (west) and follow the R-D Trail, which descends steeply on a long switchback, then more gradually through dense mountain laurel thickets.

At the base of the descent, the R-D Trail crosses the wide Beechy Bottom Road, blazed with blue-on-white Bike Trail markers. Turn right onto this pleasant woods road (improved by workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934), which you will follow gently downhill for the next 1.4 miles.

In about a quarter of a mile, the white-blazed A.T. crosses. When you reach a T-intersection in 1.0 mile, turn right, then immediately bear left, continuing to follow the Bike Trail markers. Then, at the next Y-intersection, bear left and follow the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail downhill, retracing your steps to the north parking area at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, where the hike began.

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

I would disagree with "moderate to strenuous"

We've done lots of the Trail Conference suggested hikes, including a few "strenuous" ones.  I would take the "moderate" out of this one.  Some of the rock scrambles, angles of the slickrock, and  descents scared the heck out of me (and also caused quite a bit of lactic acid burn in the legs).  Also, there was some ice right in the trail path on some of the more treacherous descents, necessitating a bit of off-trail scrambling.  Beechy Bottom Road, which I suspect was horribly muddy just last week, was an ice skating rink for about 1/5 of its length.  Traction control recommended if you're unsteady on your feet and don't have trekking poles.  Took us 5 hours, with a 20 minute lunch break.  Beautiful hike though.

Rating of this hike

Any hike rating is quite subjective.  What might be "strenuous" to one hiker could be considered "easy" by another.  I remember how, a few weeks after I suffered a back injury two years ago, I decided to embark on one of my hikes in the Flat Rock Brook Nature Preserve which I had rated "easy."  Well, given my recent injury, the hike ended up not being so "easy" for me!  All I can say is that I do my best with the ratings, and that, as far as I can recall, this hike is not quite as difficult as some other hikes that I have rated "strenuous."

I should also point out that my ratings do not -- and cannot -- take into account the presence of ice on the trails.  As you yourself admit, even a wide, flat trail, such as Beechy Bottom Road, can become "treacherous" if it is covered with ice.  Steep descents that are covered with ice can be impassable without proper traction devices -- and extremely difficult even with the appropriate devices.  Although they cannot be factored into hike ratings, hikers in the winter must consider ice and snow conditions.  Wintry conditions can convert even the easiest hike into a very difficult one if one is not properly prepared.

Appreciate the reply!

All very good points, Daniel.  It could definitely have been the presence of increased ice and the winter temperatures which were influencing my feelings out there on the trail.  All I can do is keep working out and hiking as often as possible so that eventually I will come on here and dispute a "strenuous" hike to suggest you rate it "easy!"