Iron Mines Loop #2 (Southwest) in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks

Overview

This loop hike climbs to viewpoints from the summit of Black Rock Mountain and passes the historic Hogencamp, Pine Swamp, Surebridge and Boston Mines.

Details
Time:
5.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate
Length:
8.5 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Historic feature
Publication
First Published:
06/19/2003

Updated/Verified:
11/08/2015
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Hikers Parking Rt. 106 in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.234516,-74.148972
Driving Directions

Take N.Y. Route 17 north through Sloatsburg and Tuxedo. About 2.4 miles north of Tuxedo, take the exit leading to N.Y. Route 17A. Turn right at the top of the ramp onto County Route 106 and continue for 2.2 miles to a parking area on the right side of the road, just beyond a sharp curve.

Description
From the parking area, cross the road and turn left on the White Bar Trail, blazed with white horizontal rectangles. The White Bar Trail parallels the road for about 500 feet, then turns right and crosses a stream on a metal culvert. A short distance beyond, it bears right at a fork (the road that goes off to the left will be your return route) and continues ahead on a woods road.  In another quarter of a mile, you’ll reach a junction with the Nurian Trail. Both trails are blazed white, but the rectangular blazes of the Nurian Trail are vertical, rather than horizontal. Turn right and follow the Nurian Trail, which descends to cross a stream on rocks. After briefly paralleling the stream, the trail bears left and ascends rather steeply. Several steep pitches alternate with more moderate sections. As the trail approaches the ridge of Black Rock Mountain, it bears left below a huge boulder, then climbs through a narrow cleft in the rock to reach an expansive west-facing viewpoint from open rock ledges. Just beyond, the Nurian Trail ends at a junction with the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail. Continue ahead (north) and follow the red-and-white-blazes along the ridge of Black Rock Mountain, marked by bare rock ledges. After passing another west-facing viewpoint, the trail descends into a hollow, then climbs to regain the ridge. Soon after coming out again along the ridge, you’ll reach a large flat area of bare rock ledges, known as Bald Rocks. To the left of the trail is a rock outcrop that marks the highest spot in Harriman State Park (elevation 1,382 feet). The trail itself (marked by paint blazes on the rocks) bears right and continues northeast along the main ridge, but it is worthwhile to take a short detour to the high point, which offers panoramic views to the west and north.  After reentering the woods, you’ll notice the Bald Rocks Shelter to the right. This shelter – built out of huge granite slabs – was constructed in 1933, and it’s worth a visit even if you don’t intend to stay there overnight.  A short distance beyond, at the base of a short descent, the R-D Trail reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. Turn right onto the Dunning Trail, which follows the route of an old mining road, known as the Crooked Road. After crossing a stream, it traverses a level area of bare rock dotted with boulders, known as the Bowling Rocks. About a mile from the junction with the R-D Trail, the Dunning Trail curves to the north and passes a wetland on the right. Just beyond, you’ll pass remnants of the Hogencamp Mine, which operated from 1870 to 1885. On the left side of the trail, you’ll notice a water-filled mine shaft, about 25 feet in diameter, with a seven-inch cast-iron pipe (once used to dewater the mine) jutting out of the water. Use extreme caution when approaching this shaft! On the opposite side of the trail, iron rods may be seen protruding from a crumbling concrete base (now covered with grass). A short distance ahead, there is a stone platform to the right. It was built out of tailings – the technical term for the pieces of rock discarded during the mining process. Piles of tailings may be found throughout this mining site. After crossing a stream, you’ll notice old stone foundations on both sides of the trail. These are the remains of a village that once housed the miners. Just beyond, the aqua-blazed Long Path joins from the left and then leaves to the right. Continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. In another half a mile, you’ll pass the interesting Pine Swamp on the right. To the left, you’ll notice a huge pile of tailings – a remnant of the Pine Swamp Mine, opened in 1830 and worked intermittently until about 1880. A long, narrow mine opening (partially obscured by fallen trees) may be seen to the left of the trail a short distance ahead. About 500 feet beyond this mine opening, you’ll reach the triple yellow blaze that marks the end of the Dunning Trail. Turn left and follow the red-triangle-on-white Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail, which climbs gradually on another old mining road. In half a mile, you’ll reach a trail junction known as “Times Square” (the name is painted on a boulder to the right.) Continue ahead, now following both the A-SB Trail and the aqua-blazed Long Path. When the red-on-white and aqua blazes leave to the left, continue ahead on the grassy woods road you have been following, known as the Surebridge Mine Road. The next section of the road can be flooded at times, and you may end up getting your feet a little wet. The road continues through mountain laurel and rhododendron, with the attractive Surebridge Swamp to the left. Near the end of the swamp, you’ll notice another mine pit to the right of the trail. This is a remnant of the Surebridge Mine, active during the Civil War period. As the trail descends, you’ll reach a junction (marked by a cairn) with the Bottle Cap Trail. Turn left and follow this unofficial trail, marked with bottle caps nailed to trees. While some of the bottle caps are yellow or white, most are dark colored, and they are much smaller (and much more difficult to see) than the standard trail blazes. The trail can be followed with care, but you will sometimes have to look very carefully to find the next bottle cap. Follow the Bottle Cap Trail as it crosses a stream and climbs to the ridge of Surebridge Mountain. The trail heads southwest along the ridge, then bears right and descends through a hemlock grove to end at a junction with the A-SB Trail/Long Path. Continue ahead, following the aqua and red-triangle-on-white blazes, for only about 300 feet. Just after crossing a seasonally wet area, look carefully for three horizontal white “WB” blazes on the left. Turn left and follow the White Bar Trail southward. In a quarter mile, the White Bar Trail joins a woods road, which it follows south through a pleasant valley. In another two-thirds of a mile, the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail joins from the left. When the Dunning Trail leaves to the right, follow the yellow blazes. The Dunning Trail goes down to a valley – passing a large cliff on the way – then climbs to a ridge, from where it descends to the base of the Boston Mine. This mine -- a large open cut into the hillside, partially filled with water -- is reached by a short path to the right. It was last worked around 1880. Continue ahead on the Dunning Trail, which soon turns left and begins to follow Island Pond Road, a woods road. When the yellow blazes turn off to the right a short distance ahead, continue ahead, following Island Pond Road, which leads back to a junction with the White Bar Trail just north of Route 106. Bear right onto the White Bar Trail and follow it back a short distance to the parking area where the hike began.

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

Bottle Cap trail

I have to agree with the person that posted that the Bottle Cap trail is hard to follow. The ground was so thickly covered by leaves, that the trail wasn't obvious. And except for a couple of bright yellow plastic bottle caps, most of the bottle caps are from beer bottles, so they are much harder to see. Someone does have good taste in beer though ;)  Luckily our dog can easily stay on the trail in times where we cannot easily find it. If it weren't for him, we'd probably have spent much more time looking around trying to find the next bottle cap. Some photos: http://agiletrekker.blogspot.com/2015/11/iron-mines-loop-2-southwest-har...

Great hike ...

  This is a great hike with a lot of views, varied terrain and historic features. Saw many hikers, groups of hikers and campers along the trail. Such a great time of year for hiking. Unfortunately , I missed the R-D / Dunning trail junction so did not get to visit the Bowling Rocks and Hodgencamp Mine. This was simply me being non-attentive. I continued on the R-D trail all the way to Times Square and picked up the hike from there.    One observation on the Bottlecap Trail...I hiked this trail previously and you must keep a sharp eye out for the bottlecap markers on the trees. As you might imagine, they are very small and many are dark and / or weathered making them a bit of a challenge to see. This coupled with the fresh fallen leaves this time of year and  the light use this trail gets, makes it difficult to follow at times. Just north of the Surebridge Mine Rd, you will have to scale a crag in the rock face, not too difficult but the way is not very obvious.

great hike today

Hiked this trail today, Sat 18th June 2011, with the wife and 2 kids (12 ans 10). this time of year is a good time to visit as the dogwood is in full bloom making the trails very picturesque. the turnoff for the nurian trail was poorly marked and we missed it at first and had to double back... beware....! we didn't see very much at hogencamp mine, but at pine swamp we climbed up off the trail 200' to the left and found the main mineworkings and the kids had a blast exploring. we decided to skip surebridge mine and instead we turned left onto the R-D at times square and back down on the lichen trail - this is strongly recommended as the views are spectacular. at the turn-off L onto the white bar we went straight on and let the kids have a go at the lemon squeezer, after which we returned to the white bar. after near 6 hours hiking the family decided to skip the detour along the dunning to boston mine and we went straight on down the white bar to the parking area. covered 9.6 miles with 1500' ascent in 6 hours or so - very enjoyable hike! parking at N 41° 14.159 W 074° 09.055

Main warning: Wet and Mosquitoes

Harriman State Park's wonderful vegetation is always inviting; and the hike was extremely pleasing that way. One main trick that we missed out on: Having mosquito repellants - especially since we were encountering atleast 3 swamps on the way..Another mistake we made was to not wear water-proof shoes; it had rained earlier in the week, and that made our hike slightly uncomfortable in places. Otherwise, a really nice hike. The Boston Mine was much more distinctly visible than the other two...