Iron Mines Short Loop

Overview

This hike in Harriman State Park leads to interesting remnants of old iron mines and climbs to a viewpoint from open rocks.

Details
Time:
2.5 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
3.8 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Historic feature
Publication
First Published:
05/07/2009

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

Photo

Parking


View Lake Skanatati in a larger map

See also
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.241997, -74.102354
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. Follow Seven Lakes Drive for about 8 miles to the parking area for Lake Skannatati, on the left side of the road. The turnoff to the parking area is 0.7 mile beyond the Kanawauke Circle.

Description

At the northwest corner of the parking area, find the aqua-blazed Long Path, marked at the trailhead with a distinctive circular disk featuring the Long Path logo. Follow the Long Path along the north shore of the lake on a rocky footpath through a mountain laurel thicket. After about ten minutes, the trail bends away from the lake, crosses Pine Swamp Brook, and passes by a huge rock ledge to the right. A little over a mile from the start, you'll climb to a junction with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail.

Follow the joint Long Path-Dunning Trail for about 100 feet, then bear right where the trails diverge, continuing on the aqua-blazed Long Path. Just before reaching a massive boulder (known as Cape Horn), you'll see remnants of 19th century mining activity below to the left. Directly below the trail is a shaft of the Hogencamp Mine, which was active from 1870 to 1885. Use caution if you wish to explore this interesting area.

The Long Path now begins to climb, passing a split boulder on a hill to the left and entering an area devastated by a forest fire in 2001 (many burned trees are still visible). After a level section through a valley, the trail climbs slightly and passes stone foundations. A tramway from the Hogencamp Mine, used to transport the iron ore to a mine road, passed through this valley, and the stone foundations are probably remnants of structures built for the tramway. You'll also notice some old bricks embedded in the treadway of the trail.

After descending through an area with many young hemlocks, you'll reach a junction with the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail, marked with inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes. Turn sharply right and follow the A-SB Trail, which begins a steady descent through a valley on an old mine road, passing through an area with many trees felled by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. (NOTE: If you pass a large rock on the right with the inscription "Times Square," or if you find yourself following a route blazed with both the aqua blazes of the Long Path and the inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes of the A-SB Trail, you have gone too far. Turn around and follow the inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes in the opposite direction, taking care to continue following these blazes as you head east.)

In half a mile (2.5 miles from start of the hike), you'll reach the northern end of the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. Continue ahead on the A-SB Trail, which crosses a stream below an attractive cascade. Just beyond the stream crossing, you'll notice a large rectangular cut in the hillside to the left of the trail. This excavation is part of the Pine Swamp Mine, another mining venture in the area, which was opened about 1830 and was worked intermittently until 1880. As you continue along the trail, several other excavations and open pits (now filled with water) may also be seen.

Just beyond these mine openings, the trail bears right and descends into the woods. Soon, you will pass a stone wall and several stone foundations to the left of the trail. These are remnants of the village that once housed the workers at the nearby mine.

After passing the northern end of the Pine Swamp, the A-SB Trail begins a steady ascent of Pine Swamp Mountain. Just beyond the summit, a viewpoint affords a panorama to the south over Lakes Skannatati and Kanawauke. Continue along the A-SB Trail as it descends steeply to end at the parking area at Lake Skannatati, where the hike began.

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

Iron Mines Loop

We were short on time, so we chose this loop for our hike yesterday. It took us 2 1/4 hours, including stopping to let our dogs swim at the end. We had no problems following the directions. We've been to the Times Square intersection before, so we were familiar with the cross roads. The instructions for getting onto the A-SB trail were spot on.

It was a pleasant hike. The only parts we didn't like were the very beginning & the very end. The parking lot is right next to Lake Skannatati. We've found that parking lots at lakes attract a lot of non-hikers. There was a lot of trash, and TONS of broken glass on the trail. We spent some time picking up a bag full of broken glass and trash. We saw another man near the end doing the same. Once you get away from the lake in the beginning, the trail was fine, until we got to the overlook near the end - that is where the broken glass started again.

What a great little hike

The directions were perfect.  We had no trouble staying on track at all.  They definitely could add a few more blazes but it was pretty straight forward.  We completed the hike including about 15 minutes of rest time in 2 hrs and 15 minutes.  It was on the easy side of moderate although there were some steep rocky sections especially at the end.  We saw a deer very much up close that allowed me to take pictures without running off.  The whole hike is very nice but the best part is definitely the scenic overlook at the end.  The view is stunning.  Bring a lunch and eat up there.  The trail could use a bit of maintanence as it was a little overgrown long pants are probably a good idea.  This was our first hike in Harriman and we definitely plan to come back.

Great Hike & Directions

Did this hike to start 2012 the right way. After reading others' comments on this hike, we took care to follow directions very closely - they were perfect and we didn't get lost at all. The only word of caution to add is that the trail markers once you get on the A-SB train are spaced farther apart than on the aqua Long Trail. You have to look a little more carefully for them, but they're there! Definitely recommend this hike.

Great hike - follow directions (as always)

October 23, 2011 - had a great 2.5 hour (or so) hike starting with beautiful lake scenery, through a gradual rocky ascent over mossy plateaus, down to a vibrant cascade, ending with vistas of the lake. Maybe laying out the basic directions required to accomplish the hike separately at the end of the post would help. The detail provided is very helpful and can make for historical and adventurous hike, but directions to jot down quickly before the hike may help avoid confusion.

Misleading trail description

This trail hike is not well defined and makes it sound like the AS-B trail will unmistakably lead you back to the parking lot where you started. In fact, there are about five different spokes of the trail, all marked by inverted red triangles. We ended up following it far into the woods, with many switchbacks such that it started to feel like a very bad joke. Now being far too along without a matching site and with the sun disappearing behind the hills, we finally bailed out after 2 extra hours by making a beeline for the heavy traffic sounds of the NY Thruway. The AS-B dead ended at Narnia and from there we bushwacked across a field of high grass (and no doubt deer ticks), traced the barbed wire fencing till we found a broken section, and reached the Thruway at mile marker 41.3, just south of the Arden pedestrian bridge. The park police could not understand our location, despite multiple explanations it was the Thruway, they "couldn't find a mile marker 41.3 on the PALISADES parkway" and took over an hour to find us, long after dark had descended on the hills and our fingers had grown numb from the early fall evening chill and having to keep a hand out with cell phone so as not to miss a callback. Never in my 53 years have I ever had to request a "rescue" (and I've climbed the presidentials many, many times)! Who checks/validates these before they are posted? Bring a pedometer or something that tracks distance traveled and check for the supposed trail sightings early and often. We saw many boulders but no remnants of mines, tramway or stone foundations. All in all, an exhilarating day, but not for the reasons intended.

Your hike

I’m sorry you got lost on the hike.  I have carefully reviewed the hike description that I posted on the website, and it is correct as written. You apparently failed to turn “sharply right” at the junction of the Long Path with the A-SB Trail, as the description instructs you to do.  I should also mention (for the benefit of others who may wish to follow this hike description) that if you pass a large rock with the inscription “Times Square” on your right, you have gone too far and should turn around and retrace your steps on the A-SB Trail. In any case where the trail you are following does not match the description of the hike, you should immediate retrace your steps and carefully reread the description to see if you might have made a wrong turn.

Here is a link to a page on our website which suggests what to do if you get lost: 

If You Get Lost | New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Despite our best efforts, hikers will make errors in navigation.  This is due to many causes:  changed circumstances on the trail, missing blazes, distractions offered by the woods and the company of other hikers.  When hiking, you should always take along a map and compass and know how to use them.

That hike

I got lost on the same hike. I even had a map with me. I made the same mistake by not making the sharp right, I think. Anyway after a bit of bushwacking I was able to make it back to the parking lot by mid afternoon and it wasn't such a bad hike just not the one I had planned. It sounds so nice though. I'm going to try again tomorrow

Hike description has been amended

Well, now that two people have reported getting lost in the same spot on the hike, I decided that I should insert a cautionary note in the body of the hike description.  Hopefully, that should prevent others from making the same mistake.  Gwennie, I hope that you enjoyed your hike yesterday. Please let us know how it went!

Undettered

Determined to make the hike go right, my friend and I set out on it again today but we did aqua then AS-B not the reverse attempt we made last time out. So, last time we never even saw the Times Square rock and only spotted it this time when we retraced our steps after traveling a short way along the merged AS-B and Long Path trails. (It's off to your right on the way up.) Noting our path was looking mightily like last week's escapade, we tracked back and - after some puzzling and a short foray onto yet ANOTHER red trail (red D-O-T) - we picked up the AS-B trail. It certainly does NOT help that the trail blazers are so enamored with the color red. Orange anyone? We were happy to complete the trail within the allotted 2.5 hours (even with a shutter happy hiker). Enjoyed finding the mine shaft , the beautiful overlook of the four lakes and no ticket on our windshield for this time we were NOT still parked there after dusk. We are thankful to finally have experienced this truly lovely route! And yes, map and compass are musts. Wrong turns happen. Suggest adding a heat reflecting blanket. I indulged in bivvy sack, figuring there may be a day when I can probably use it at football game or marching band competition. My Eagle Scout son says pack some matches and laundry lint (great fire starter) .... and plan (hope) to never need them. I also bought a headlamp, but I justified it with the intent to go on a blue moon night hike one day soon. Happy tramping, all!