Raccoon Brook Hills Trail/Cascade of Slid Loop

Overview

This loop hike at the southern end of Harriman State Park follows several picturesque streams and climbs to views of Torne Valley and the New York City skyline.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
5.4 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Rockland
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
03/23/2004

Updated/Verified:
11/26/2012
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.173916,-74.168658

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 Harriman State Park. Cross an overpass over railroad tracks and continue along the Seven Lakes Drive, passing under the Thruway overpass, and soon entering Harriman State Park. Proceed for another mile (from the Thruway overpass) to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on the right side of the road. Park in the Visitor Center's parking lot.

Train

Take the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line to the Sloatsburg station. From the station, cross the railroad tracks and head north on Ballard Avenue. When Ballard Avenue ends, turn right onto Academy Avenue and continue to Seven Lakes Drive. Turn right on Seven Lakes Drive, continue under the New York State Thruway, and pass Greenway Road and Laurel Road on the right. A short distance beyond, about 0.9 mile from the train station, you'll reach a bridge over the Stony Brook. On the bridge, you will notice a triple red-square-on-white blaze and a directional arrow, which mark the trailhead of the Pine Meadow Trail. Turn right, leaving the road, and follow this red-on-white-blazed trail for another 0.8 mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.

Description

From the parking lot, head east (left when facing the woods) on the broad red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, passing the Visitor Center on the left. In about 300 feet, you'll notice a white-blazed trail that leaves to the right. Turn right onto this trail, known as the Reeves Brook Trail, which follows a woods road uphill. Soon, the trail begins to parallel Reeves Brook, which is to the left. 

In about half a mile, another woods road leaves to the right. Just beyond, follow the white-blazed trail as it bears left and begins a steeper climb on a footpath, passing attractive cascades in the brook. The trail continues to climb more gradually, still paralleling the brook.

About a mile and a half from the start, you'll notice a steep escarpment just ahead. Here, you'll cross the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail and continue ahead on the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail, which now runs parallel to the escarpment. After a short descent, the Reeves Brook Trail ends at a junction with the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.

Turn left onto the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which briefly descends to cross a stream on rocks and then Steep Section of Racoon Brook Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.steeply climbs the escarpment. Near the top, you'll pass a large rock, known as The Pulpit, that juts out by the cliff edge. The trail continues along the ridge and passes two southwest-facing viewpoints over the Torne Valley, with the New York Thruway beyond. After a short descent, the trail climbs to reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail on an open rock ledge.

Continue ahead on the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which continues to climb more gradually to a wooded area on the crest of the ridge. The elevation here is about 1,230 feet above sea level, and you've climbed about 800 feet to reach this ridge - the highest point on the hike. On a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline in the distance to the right!

The trail descends to cross the route of a gas pipeline, climbs to regain the ridge, and then begins a rather steep descent. At the base of the descent, the trail turns right onto a woods road which climbs gently. It then descends gradually on a footpath to a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.

Turn left at the junction and follow the Kakiat Trail, which descends gradually, passing through thick stands of dense mountain laurel and then paralleling Raccoon Brook, on the right. In about half a mile, you’ll pass the northern trailhead of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail on the right. Continue ahead on the Kakiat Trail, which soon widens into a woods road.

Soon, you’ll reach a complex junction with the Seven Hills Trail (blue on white) and the Pine Meadow Trail (red on white). THiker on Kakiat crossing Pine Meadow Brook. Photo by Daniel Chazin Photo by Daniel Chazin.urn right, now following the "red, white, and blue" blazes of all three trails (Pine Meadow, Kakiat and Seven Hills) and cross Pine Meadow Brook on a wooden footbridge.

After crossing the bridge, turn left, following the blue-on-white and white blazes (the red-on-white-blazed trail leaves to the right here). Soon, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail also departs to the right, but you should continue ahead along the brook, following the white-blazed Kakiat Trail. In about half a mile, you’ll pass cascades in the brook and cross the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail. Just beyond is the Cascade of Slid – named for a character in The Gods of Pegana by Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany. This cascade is most spectacular in the spring, when the brook is running high.

Continue ahead on the white-blazed trail, which becomes rougher as it proceeds over and around huge boulders. In another quarter of a mile, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. TuCascades in Stony Brook. Photo by Daniel Chazin.rn left, now following both white and yellow blazes, and cross a footbridge over Pine Meadow Brook. A short distance beyond, the Kakiat Trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. This section of the trail, which closely parallels the cascading Stony Brook, is particularly scenic.

After crossing a gas pipeline right-of-way and then Quartz Brook, the Stony Brook Trail ends at a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. Continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail, which parallels Stony Brook and leads back to the parking lot where the hike began.

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

Large Eastern Timber Rattlesnake

Did this trail yesterday and overall it is an excellent workout with many different terrains, lots of ups and downs and some minor scrambling.

Trail is pretty well marked, perhaps in one or two spots the blazes could be closer together but if you look you will find them.

When I got near the Pipeline I ran into a rather large Timber Rattlesnake.

It was not aggressive, but was basically right next to the trail so be careful!

Bridges in hike description restored?

The 2012 14th Edition of the Harriman maps indicates that the 2 bridges over Pine Meadow Brook mentioned in this hike description are out.  Have they since been restored?

I assume so since Daniel Chazin's comment from earlier this week says the trail is in great condition, but perhaps the description should be edited to note the restored condition of the bridges (this will likely be an issue with lots of Harriman hike descriptions since the park lost so many bridges).

I'd appreciate any info about his and other Harriman bridges which are "Out" according to the maps.  Thanks!

Good question

I thought the only bridge that had been replaced was the one on the yellow blazed Stonybrook Trail. The bridges for the orange HTS and the blue/red/white were not replaced, although the last time i was in the area, there was a makeshift "log crossing" where the blue/red/white bridge used to be.

Some clarification on this would be great.

Bridges on this hike have been restored

Both bridges crossed by this hike have been restored and are in good condition.  They may be safely and easily crossed by hikers.  The first bridge used by the hike is the "red, white and blue" bridge over Pine Meadow Brook.  This bridge was recently reconstructed by Trail Conference volunteers.  You may notice a large peeled log along the trail on the south side of the bridge.  We intend to use this log to further improve the bridge, but at present the bridge is in good condition.  The second bridge used by the hike to cross Pine Meadow Brook actually survived Hurricane Irene, and it has been reinforced by Trail Conference volunteers and is in good condition.

The other two bridges over Pine Meadow Brook and Stony Brook (which are not used by the route of this hike) are still out.  The Park has promised to replace them, but as of this writing (December 2012), nothing has been done.  It is possible to cross Pine Meadow Brook at the Cascade of Slid if the water is low (as it was when I was there last week), but Stony Brook cannot safely be crossed without a bridge.

Thanks again

Thanks for the update Daniel. Did the bridge over Stony Brook get wiped out by Sandy? It was brand new, and had just been built (by someone named Roland IIRC), and was the only working bridge in the area the last time i was there.

Bridge over Stony Brook

No, the bridge over Stony Brook was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and has never been rebuilt since then.  At a meeting held in the fall of 2011, the Park assumed the responsibility for this bridge and proposed to move it some distance upstream.  But nothing has happened since then.  Roland Brieault, an active Trail Conference volunteer, has helped the Trail Conference rebuild some bridges in Harriman, but he did not work on the bridge over Stony Brook, as the Park has assumed responsibility for that bridge.  The bridge had not been rebuilt prior to Hurricane Sandy, so it was not destroyed by that hurricane.

You might be referring to the bridge that carries the Stony Brook and Kakiat Trails over Pine Meadow Brook.  That bridge was damaged, but not destroyed, by Hurricane Irene, and Trail Conference volunteers have since strengthened it and restored it to good condition.

That's the one

Yes, i was referring to the bridge that carries the Stony Brook and Kakiat Trails over PMB- i'm almost positive there is one of those metal plates with Roland's name on it on that bridge.

Anyway, thanks for clearing up my confusion!

Public Transit available for this hike

Please update the hike description so that people know that it is accessible via public transit- either the NJT train to Sloatsburg or the Shortline bus to Sloatsburg. Yes, there is a roadwalk to the beginning of the hike, but half of it can be eliminated by hiking the Pine Meadow Trail from the trailhead on 7 Lakes Drive to the visitor center.

Hike has been updated

The hike description has been updated to include the availability of public transit.

Thanks!

Thanks Daniel!

Hike route is in excellent condition

I did this hike today and found that the route of the hike is in excellent condition.  This area was not severely affected by Hurricane Sandy, and nearly all of the few blowdowns along the trails have already been removed.  I encountered only three blowdowns, and all could easily be walked over or around.

Fabulous Hike

Did this hike over the weekend on a beautiful day -- one of the best hikes I have ever taken in the area. The views were great, the terrain was incredibly varied, the scenery was amazing, the length and difficulty were perfect for a moderate day hike., Highly recommended!