Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail/Pyngyp

Overview

This one-way hike climbs steeply over several hills, including Pyngyp Mountain, with panoramic views.

Details
Time:
5 hours
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Length:
7.5 miles
Route Type:
Shuttle/Two car or Public Transportation
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Publication
First Published:
12/15/2006
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

View from Pyngyp

Parking


View Hikers Parking Rt. 106 - Anthony Wayne in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.297598,-74.027274
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Exit 17 (Anthony Wayne Recreation Area) and park the first car in the large parking area just beyond the entrance kiosk. With the second car, get back onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway, heading south, and take Exit 15 (Gate Hill Road). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto County 106 and bear right at a fork with County 83. At the next fork, bear right to continue on County 106, and proceed for a short distance until you see a small parking area on the left side of the road, just before a bridge over a stream. Park the second car here. GPS: 41.22964, -74.06029

Description

This hike traverses an interesting area of Harriman State Park which is little used because of the difficulty of access. There is no good way to incorporate the section of the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail used by this hike into a loop, so this hike will require two cars, with one car left at each end of the hike. The first part of the hike involves climbing over five hills, with a total elevation gain of over 1,400 feet (although the end of the hike is an easy walk on a nearly-level woods road). Some of the climbs involve rock scrambles, and this is one of the most challenging hikes in Harriman State Park. Do not attempt this hike if the ground is wet or covered with snow or ice.

From the parking area, head west on Route 106 for a short distance, then cross the road just before the bridge over the stream. You will see the yellow blazes of the Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail heading north from the road. Follow the S-BM Trail as it enters the woods and continues along a woods road. After the road curves to the left, you’ll reach a fork where the S-BM Trail bears right, leaving the woods road. A short distance ahead, the trail bears left and begins a rather steep climb.

At the top of the climb, the trail reaches a huge glacial erratic boulder known as the Irish Potato. You’ll want to take a break here and explore this interesting feature. The trail turns right and soon begins to descend.

After descending for about a third of a mile, you’ll reach a rock outcrop to the right of the trail, with Upper Pound Swamp (which is actually a pond) visible beyond. Here, the trail turns left and continues to descend through dense thickets of mountain laurel. It turns right onto a woods road, then turns left, leaving the road, and begins to climb Pound Swamp Mountain.

Before reaching the summit of the mountain, the S-BM Trail turns left and begins to descend. For part of the way down, it follows an old woods road. Near the base of the descent, the trail crosses several small streams and then parallels Tiorati Brook, which features attractive cascades when the water is high. It reaches the paved Lake Welch Drive just east of the road bridge over the brook.

The trail turns right along the road (which is closed to traffic in the winter), then bears left at a fork and crosses an overpass that spans the southbound lanes of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Upon reaching the northbound lanes of the Parkway, the trail turns sharply left, runs along the Parkway for about 150 feet, then crosses the highway (use extreme caution) and begins the steep, rocky climb up Pingyp Mountain.

This climb is one of the steepest in the entire park, and in some places, you will need to use your hands as well as your feet. After climbing a vertical distance of about 250 feet in only about 0.15 mile, you’ll reach a rock ledge, with pitch pines, that offers an excellent east-facing view over the Hudson River. This is a good spot to stop and rest from the arduous climb.

A short distance beyond, you’ll notice a small plaque attached to a rock to the right of the trail. The plaque was erected in 1930 in memory of Harold B. Scutt, who scouted this section of the S-BM Trail in 1925 (Scutt was killed in a plane crash in Attica, New York in 1930). After climbing another steep ledge and reaching a north-facing viewpoint, the trail bends sharply to the right, and the grade moderates.

You’ll soon encounter another challenging spot, where the trail climbs steeply through a crevice in the rock. About 500 feet beyond, you’ll reach another viewpoint to the south and east. The summit of Pingyp Mountain (1,023 feet), however, does not afford any views.

The first part of the descent from the Pingyp is moderate, but the descent steepens about halfway down, where the trail turns left onto a woods road. At the base of the descent, the trail briefly turns right onto another woods road (known as the Pines Trail). In 300 feet, it turns left, leaving the woods road. It crosses a stream, passes a stone fireplace, and begins a steady climb to the summit of The Pines (a misnomer – there is not a single pine tree on this hill!). Just beyond the summit, there are good views to the north and east from a rock ledge.

After descending from The Pines, the S-BM Trail turns left onto a woods road – the route of the 1779 and Red Cross Trails – and immediately crosses a stream. In 400 feet, it turns right and steeply climbs an unnamed hill. The trail then descends gradually and, after crossing a stream, reaches Beechy Bottom East Road (marked as a bike trail).

The S-BM Trail now steeply climbs to the top of Horn Hill. This is your last climb of the day; from here on, the route will be either downhill or level. When you reach the base of the descent, turn left onto the bike trail (leaving the S-BM Trail) and turn left again at the next intersection, still following the bike trail. Then, at the following intersection, turn right. You are now heading north along the historic Beechy Bottom East Road, improved by workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934.

Continue to follow this level road, with bike trail markers, for 1.6 miles. In about a quarter of a mile, the red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail crosses, and the white-blazed Appalachian Trail crosses a short distance beyond. When you reach a T-intersection of woods roads in 1.2 miles, turn right, continuing to follow the bike trail markers. Then, at the next intersection of woods roads, bear left and follow the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail downhill, proceeding ahead at a four-way intersection and bearing left at a T-intersection. Soon, you’ll reach the entrance road to the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, where you parked your first car.

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

Very detailed write-up,

Very detailed write-up, thanks, but total 1400' elev gain doesn't sound that strenuous.

trail head coordinate is wrong. should be 41.22964, -74.06029

  should be 41.22964, -74.06029

Another variation of a portion of this hike as a loop

It goes through the most interesting part of the hike (PingypMountainand The Pines) while allowing to do it solo.   I parked at a little parking area on the shoulder of 106 North, called Cedar Flats Rd, Stony Point, NY (at 41.249371 -74.022898, good for ~ 3 cars), walked South on Cedar Flats Rd (very lightly travelled road) until intersection with Co Road 69 (at 41.242288,-74.025328) then north at 69 to Palisades Interstate Pkwy, then for ~0.4 miles alongside Palisades Interstate Pkwy North (unpleasant because of heavy traffic, but safer than crossing it –  what original description is calling for) until it intersects with SBM yellow-blazed trail (at 41.249221-74.038239). Then follow the trail according to the given description until it intersects with Red Cross and 1779 trails (at 41.264905,-74.028117). After that I made a right turn to 1779 and Red Cross and continued on Red Cross to intersection of Blue Trail of Camp Addison Boyce (41.269291,-74.01138), continued on that Blue Trail through Camp Addison Boyce to Mott Farm Rd (41.265644 -74.00646), and then, making a right to Mott Farm Rd went to Cedar Flats Rd (both VERY lightly travelled roads) and back to the car. Altogether it took little more than 3.5 hours and total distance was ~ 6miles.   Later I realized that I could have made all three remaining hills of the original trail description (that is, added Horn Hill to the hike I made) if I continued on SBM trail after its intersection with Red Cross trail, past suggested turn to bicycle trail - to Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (Red), made right turn to it, continued to its intersection with Red Cross Trail, and took it to the same Blue Trail of Camp Addison Boyce (41.269291,-74.01138) – the point I actually went through at the end of my hike. Well, next time…

Rugged Hiking on this one.

It was 96 degrees with 80% humidity. Not exactly the best weather for hiking such a strenous route. I made it, but was sweating every step of the way. This is a very slippery trail even on a hot day, definitely not for an unexperienced hiker. The trail is well marked for the most part. I wandered off on the 1779 trail for a little bit and noticed many of the Blazes were faded completely.

Great loop trip

We did a great loop variation. We parked at the south end of this route on 106 near Beaver Creek Campground.
  1. North on Suffern-Bear Mntn to the intersection with 1779 & Red Cross.
  2. West on Red Cross; then south on Red Cross to Flaggy Meadow Mntn.
  3. East on Beech to Tiorati Rd.
  4. South on Beech to Hasenclever Rd. (Although the road is not blazed, you cant miss it!)
  5. South on Hasenclver Rd.
  6. East on Lake Welch Road, then into Lake Welch, then through Beaver Pond Campground to 106.
  7. East on 106 to car.
Technically the Lake and Campground werer closed and we shoudnt enter, plus we had our dog with us, but at 5 pm no one saw us! Great route, great day. 7 hours round trip.