Raccoon Brook Hills Trail/Pine Meadow Lake/Diamond Mountain Loop

Overview

This loop hike at the southern end of the park climbs Raccoon Brook Hill and Diamond Mountain, with several panoramic viewpoints, and runs along cascading Stony Brook and scenic Pine Meadow Lake.

Details
Time:
4.5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
7.2 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall, Public Transportation
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Rockland
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
10/07/2005
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Pine Meadow Lake

Parking


View Reeves Meadow Visitor Center in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
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 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), passing the Visitor Center to the left. You are following the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, which parallels Stony Brook, to the left. Continue ahead along this wide trail for 0.4 mile until you reach a fork. The yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail, which proceeds straight ahead, will be your return route, but you should bear right and continue along the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail.

The trail dips slightly to cross Quartz Brook. There is a footbridge over the stream on the right, but when the water is low, the stream can easily be crossed on rocks. After crossing a gas pipeline right-of-way, the trail continues to follow a wide path along the hillside, high above Stony Brook (which can be heard below to the left).

About 1.2 miles from the start, the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail joins briefly. Continue ahead on the red-on-white blazed Pine Meadow Trail. Soon, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail joins from the right. In another 500 feet, you’ll reach a junction. Here, the Pine Meadow and Seven Hills Trails turn left to cross Pine Meadow Brook on a footbridge, but you should continue ahead (don’t cross the footbridge), now following the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.

The Kakiat Trail climbs gradually for about a third of a mile until it reaches the start of the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail. You’ll be following this trail in a short while, but for now, continue ahead on the white-blazed Kakiat Trail. The trail levels off and passes some huge boulders to the right. It then turns left to cross an intermittent stream and continues through a dense mountain laurel thicket, with an understory of blueberry bushes.

After climbing a narrow passage through rocks and passing jumbled boulders to the right, the Kakiat Trail is joined by the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail. The two trails run together for about 100 feet, and when they diverge, turn left and follow the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail. The trail descends gradually for a short distance, then climbs steeply to an open rock ledge, with pitch pines and scrub oak. There is a view to the southwest from here, and it might seem like the summit – but it’s not. Just ahead, you’ll encounter another steep, rocky climb, with a wooden ladder placed at a particularly steep spot near the top.

At the top of the climb (elevation 1,150 feet), the trail comes out on a rock ledge with a panoramic southwest-facing view. This spot – the western summit of the mountain – is the halfway point of the hike, and it’s a good place to take a break. The trail continues along the crest of the ridge, soon once again coming out on open rocks, with more views. It then descends through thick mountain laurel, comes out on an open area, and climbs slightly to reach the eastern summit. Pine Meadow Lake is to the right, but the lake cannot be seen from the summit when there are leaves on the trees.

The Raccoon Brook Hills Trail now begins a steep descent. At the base of the descent, a junction is reached with the yellow-on-white-blazed Poached Egg Trail. Here, the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail turns left, but you should continue ahead on the Poached Egg Trail. This short trail proceeds through a rocky area to reach Pine Meadow Road West – an unmarked dirt road, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Turn left onto Pine Meadow Road West, which runs near the shore of Pine Meadow Lake. In about a third of a mile, the road comes out on the lake shore. You’ll want to stop here and enjoy the beauty of this scenic lake. Built by the CCC in 1934, it was designed to serve children’s camps that would be developed around the lake, but these camps were never established.

Continue ahead and cross the dam of the lake (which was designed to accommodate a two-lane road). About 100 feet beyond the dam, turn left onto the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, which descends on a woods road. At the base of the descent, after crossing a wide, shallow stream, the Pine Meadow Trail curves to the right and reaches, in about 200 feet, a junction with the yellow-blazed Diamond Mountain-Tower Trail.

Turn left on the yellow trail, which almost immediately turns right and climbs Diamond Mountain on switchbacks. As you reach the top, there is an excellent view back over Pine Meadow Lake. At the crest of the ridge, the Diamond Mountain-Tower Trail ends at a junction with the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail and the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail. Turn left and follow the blue and orange trails, which soon reach a panoramic viewpoint to the west and north.

A short distance beyond, where the trails separate, bear right and follow the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail. The trail descends very steeply for a short distance, then levels off and follows the ridge of Halfway Mountain for about half a mile. At a west-facing viewpoint, the trail begins a gradual descent to Pine Meadow Brook.

At the brook, the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail reaches a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail. Turn right and follow the Kakiat Trail, which proceeds over and around huge boulders. In another quarter of a mile, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. Turn 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 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.

enjoyed it

I went with my wife 9/3/14 - a weekday We went kind of spur of the moment without looking at a map- just following the directions aboveOur 2nd hike (first hike was evening before)   It was a nice hike - with 0 people encounted on RBH path and only 1 person seen at the lake and then 0 people again on Diamond Mountain.   However I think we made the same mistake as the earlier commenter -  At the peak of Diamond Mountain we stopped not to disturb some eagles and when we turned around behind us we saw the views of the lake we just visited.  Going forward again we found the blue & orange trail markers together on the same path but they continued on to the Right - not the Left as described in the instuctions above.  We doubled back to look for any orange trail markers going to the left but found none - we only found the blue trail going to the left but looking down the blue trail that went left we did not see any orange blazes.   If we had stopped to study the map we would have either fought through and found a hidden orange trail or at least have taken the blue trail.   Instead we did not feel like stopping and just followed the orange and blue trail down to the Right and it did steeply descend as described in the instructions and it did eventually meet up with a brook as described but it also took us a bit out of the way.  At the Brook with no white blazes anywhere to be found we saw the beginning of the yellow trail so we took this (long) trail along the brook and got back on track.   All in all it took us 5 hours - this includes stopping for a 20 min lunch, stopping to look at lake, backtracking, searching for white trail, and stopping to enjoy views - however we walked quickly the whole way.  Next hike I am plotting it out on the map beforehand so I don't make it longer than it is I had only brought a soda can with me and I drank it at RBH summit so staring at the cool water brook on the long way home I was getting thirsty lol -  We will be back for sure when we have time to try another one - thanks!    

Nice scenery

The trail was not bad, the scenery was beautiful, but the trail has a good amount of broken glass, garbage, and is absolutely flooded with people.  I enjoy meeting people on the trail, but there were groups of 5-10 at every single resting spot.  We were not able to walk for more than 5 minutes before running into another group. I do think there was some type of -- convention or meeting when we went.  Most of them were very inexperienced, were constantly screaming back down the trail at each other, and talking extremely loud.  I enjoy hiking because of the peace and quiet and you will definitely not find it on this trail.

really good time

 I just did this hike this weekend and it was a blast. very challenging but well worth it. must be in shape to do. directions were great, got a little confused at the bottom of the second steep descent, got to an intersection of orange and yellow. thankfully we picked yellow and folled back to red and white with the stony brook to our right. thankfully we ended up back in the parking lot just at dark. everyone was friendly as can be too. took 5.5 hours but we took long breaks and really enjoyed the entire day.

Beautiful hike

Did this hike two weeks ago. Excellent directions and it took a group of 11 exactly 4.5 hours to do with breaks.