Indian Hill Loop Trail

Overview

This loop hike climbs to several panoramic viewpoints and traverses second-growth forests, crossing numerous old stone walls.

Details
Time:
2.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
3.6 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
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:
02/14/2002

Updated/Verified:
04/22/2013
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Sterling Forest Hall Drive Parking in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.260001,-74.173508
Driving Directions

Take NY 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) and continue for 1.3 miles to the park entrance on the right (marked by a sign for “Indian Hill”). Turn right and follow the dirt road ahead for 0.2 mile, then turn right into the parking area.

Description

This hike follows the white-stripe-on-yellow-blazed Indian Hill Loop Trail, described here in a counter-clockwise direction. (As of April 2013, there are also some yellow blazes along the trail.) From the information kiosk in the parking area, the trail proceeds through a hemlock grove, turns 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, the red-blazed Furnace Loop Trail joins from the right. Continue ahead, now following both white-stripe-on-yellow and red blazes, as the joint trails climb to the ridgetop and descend into a valley, crossing several stone walls. After climbing to another rock ledge, with views to the south and east, they descend to a junction with a woods road. Here, the trails turn right onto the road, and the yellow-bird-on-green-blazed Warbler Trail begins on the left. You may wish to detour to the left on the Warbler Trail, which leads in 200 feet to a dam and a picturesque pond.

The joint white-stripe-on-yellow and red trails soon turn left, leaving the woods road. Just beyond, the red-blazed Furnace Loop Trail leaves to the right. For the remainder of the hike, you’ll be following only the white-stripe-on-yellow blazes of the Indian Hill Loop Trail. The trail now 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, 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 crossing a stone wall, the Indian Hill Loop Trail reaches a junction with a blue-blazed trail that begins on the right and 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 the barrier gate just beyond the parking area. Turn left and climb to the parking area, where the hike began.

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

Rock walls?

Did this trail yesterday and was amazed at the size and complexity of the rock walls. These couldn't just be property marker type walls. Anyone have any info on them? 

Rock walls are a mystery

As far as I am aware, no one has been able to figure out why these massive rock walls -- far wider than the ones typically used to mark property boundaries -- were built.

Just hiked today. Path is

Just hiked today. Path is clear and the views were great. A quick hike and enjoyable.

Signs in Parking Area

I noticed two signs in the parking area. The first sign makes it appear that a permit is required even for non-hunters to park in the parking area. Does that sound right?   State Park Lands Hunting AreaObtain permit before parking or hunting in this areaArea is patrolled   Also - just a note for those hiking there. Be aware hunting is allowed in May.   Hikers wear bright colorsHunting SeasonOpen dailyOct. 1 - Feb. 28 and May

Neat stone walls, near Southfields furnace

I hiked this in early April 2010. The stone walls in the forest are very extensive and well worth the hike, especially if it is early spring, late fall, or winter, when no ground coverage obscures them. Photos of walls along the trail.

You can extend the hike by just under a mile if you include the red-blazed Furnace Loop Trail as well. Or, park at the trailhead by Hall Drive and Orange Turnpike, and just visit the furnace without adding the extra hike. Google Maps: Park at A and walk to B.

Photos of the furnace and surrounding area.