West Mountain Loop from Anthony Wayne Recreation Area

Overview

This loop hike climbs to the ridge of West Mountain, passing several expansive viewpoints over the Hudson River and the surrounding hills.

Details
Time:
5 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
6.2 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views
Publication
First Published:
06/22/2007

Updated/Verified:
11/09/2015
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

West Mountain Shelter - Harriman State Park. Phto by Daniel Chazin.

Parking


View Anthony Wayne Recreation Area 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). Continue past the first large parking area and bear left at the fork, following the sign for the “Far South Parking Area.” Continue through the Far South Parking Area and park at the southern end.

Description

From the kiosk at the southern end of the parking area, proceed south on the Horn Hill Loop Mountain Bike Trail, with blue-on-white diamond blazes. The trail passes through a pine forest and crosses several bridges. In about half a mile, you’ll cross the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, and soon afterwards, you’ll reach a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail. Turn left onto the R-D Trail, which begins to climb West Mountain.

After ascending stone steps, the R-D Trail crosses the wide Beechy Bottom East Road, also marked with the blue-on-white blazes of the Horn Hill Bike Path. It continues to climb steadily through dense mountain laurel thickets until it bears left and crosses a gully. The trail now turns left, passes an old mine opening and continues around the side of the mountain. Soon, it turns sharply left, climbs steeply, then follows a level path alongside a cliff, with views to the left.

After passing a broad west-facing viewpoint, the trail bears right and continues to climb, soon reaching a panoramic viewpoint at a junction with the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail. You can see the Hudson River on the left and the hills of Harriman State Park ahead, with the New York City skyline visible in the distance on a clear day. You’ll want to take a break here to rest from the climb and enjoy the views.

When you’re ready to continue, proceed ahead on the joint R-D/S-BM Trail. In 300 feet, after climbing a ledge, the two trails diverge. Turn left and follow the yellow blazes of the S-BM Trail, which descends slightly and proceeds through a fire-scarred area. Although the fire took place a number of years ago, the forest is only now starting to regenerate, with some young pine trees growing in otherwise barren surroundings.

After descending to a valley and then climbing again, the S-BM Trail reaches a T-intersection where the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail joins from the left. Turn right, following the blue/yellow-blazed trail, which runs along ledges, with some views to the south.

In another 0.3 mile, after passing a viewpoint from a rock ledge to the right, you’ll come to a junction. Here, the yellow-blazed S-BM Trail continues ahead, but you should bear right, following the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and sign pointing to a shelter. In 500 feet, you’ll arrive at the West Mountain Shelter, built in 1928, which offers spectacular views of the Hudson River to the southeast. This is a good place to stop for a break.

After you’ve rested for a while, retrace your steps back to the junction of the blue and yellow trails. Turn right at the junction, following the yellow-blazed S-BM Trail, which ascends slightly to reach an open area, with views of the Perkins Memorial Tower on Bear Mountain to the north. The trail now descends, first steeply, then more gradually through mountain laurel thickets. After reaching a valley at the base of the descent, it once again climbs steeply. In a level area at the top of the steep climb, there is a limited viewpoint to the southeast from a rock ledge to the right of the trail.

After climbing once more to reach the highest point on the ridge, the S-BM Trail begins a steady descent of about 750 vertical feet. It soon reaches a very steep section, where extreme care should be taken if the trail is wet, icy or snow-covered. The grade then moderates somewhat. About halfway down, the trail crosses a stream and joins an old woods road, with more gentle grades. The road is eroded in places, and some stretches of the trail have been routed away from the road.

At the base of the descent, follow the yellow-blazed S-BM Trail as it turns left onto a level road, the route of the Doodletown Bridle Path. When the yellow blazes go off to the right, continue ahead on the wide bridle path, now following the Fawn Trail, blazed with red-“F”-on-white blazes, which begins here. The trail soon begins a gradual climb. In about three-quarters of a mile, the Fawn Trail bears left, leaving the bridle path. Continue to follow the red-“F”-on-white blazes of the Fawn Trail.

The Fawn Trail climbs over a rise and descends to cross the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. After a short climb, the Fawn Trail crosses the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and descends to end at a junction with the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail at Beechy Bottom East Road. Turn left and follow Beechy Bottom East Road as it heads south. Almost immediately, you’ll reach an intersection where the Horn Hill Loop Mountain Bike Trail joins from the right. Bear left and continue ahead on the bike trail, following the blue-on-white blazes along the nearly level Beechy Bottom East Road (do not follow the white blazes of the Anthony Wayne Trail, which turns right and descends to the northern parking area at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area).

In about a third of a mile, you’ll come to a Y-intersection, where you should bear right. In 100 feet, you’ll reach a second Y-intersection. Here, the bike trail bears left, but you should take the right fork, which descends towards the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area. Continue ahead at a four-way intersection, but when you reach a T-intersection, turn left onto a grassy road which leads to a picnic area. Continue through the picnic area, then bear right and cross a stone-faced bridge over a stream, which leads to the northern end of the Far South Parking Area. Turn left and walk to the southern end of the parking area, where the hike began.

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

Great Hike - Make Sure You Have the Latest Maps!!

Another great hike, quite a few elevations changes, fairly varied scenery. The yellow trail section was beautiful. I would hike this again.   BUT, make sure you have the latest Harriman Bear Mountain maps, as of this writing updated 2013 (15th edition)! I had a 13th edition of the maps from 2010, and I had a previous version of this hike description, printed in the summer of 2012 (and left on my desk since then.) Talk about a perfect storm! It turns out that this hike description has been updated in December 2012 and the maps were updated in early 2013! I knew something was wrong somewhere along the Doodletown Bridle Path, passing obvious signs of the deblazed AT, and unable to confidently find my location on the map. It was an interesting day, and I managed fine after about 15 minutes of backtracking and checking my direction with a compass.   So the important lesson to me is getting back to the basics: frequently check for updated maps, and hike descriptions - and always bring a compass.

Elevation Change

Using the TC map I estimate about 1200 ft elevation gain  (plus tack on another 50-100 ft for trail variances that are too small to appear on the map).   If we take into consideration the similar amount of elevation loss (about 1050 ft), the overall elevation change appears to be nearly a wash (150ft or so).  

Nice hike

Can anybody tell me what the approximate elevation change is through this hike?

Last miles are not clear at all

We enjoyed the first part of the hike but the Fawn Trail, unblazed AT was a mess.  The above directions did not work.  We tried three different times to find something, going up and down different trails and eventually got back on the unblazed AT but then were totally unclear on what to do when we hit the Fawn Trail given we had gotten off the originial path.  I appreciate these detailed directions but also was none too pleased that we were in effect lost in an area with no one around for quite some time (and because it comes at the end tired as well).   Given the lack of markings I would not do this one again.  It was also the run amuck day which couldn't be helped but eventually gave us noise to orient our way back to the parking lot.

Hike has been updated

I checked this hike out this past Wednesday and I have revised the description to eliminate the deblazed section of the Fawn Trail that cannot easily be located when hiking in this direction.  The hike now follows the Bridle Path down to the 1777W Trail and continues on the A.T. to rejoin the Fawn Trail.  The directions can now easily be followed.

Timber Rattlesnake

Warning to all hikers- On June 3rd I encountered a Yellow Timber Rattlesnake about 4 ft  at the edge of the Doodletown Bridle Path curled sitting in the grass. Thank God it made a loud hum, I would have walk into it. I was surprised my dog did not get bit as she went to investigate and was 2' away. The snake was located  soon after the  yellow-blazed S-BM Trail turns right and the  bridle path  begins a gradual climb. Be careful and alert, This is a GREAT hike. 

Doodletown Bridle Path unmarked; still great hike

My girlfriend and I did this hike on 3/17/2012.  It was a great hike, but we did run into a couple problems.  First, the Doodletown Bridle Path has no markings, which can be disconcerting when you're traveling for a decent distance without any confirmation that you're going the right away.  Second, while on the bridle path we never saw the Appalachian trail join from the left, or found the Red Fawn trail.  I suspect we unknowingly veered north off the bridle path, but w/o markings, we had no way of knowing.  Ultimately, we made it to the 1777 trail.  We took that west to the Appalachian trail, and picked up the Red Fawn trail from there.  No biggie.  We had a great time.   Two other minor points: (1) The southern parking lot was closed.  It may only be open during summer.  However, you can get to the main lot from the Beechy Bottom East road on your way back, so no big deal there. (2) The yellow Suffern-Bear Mountain trail is very rocky at points, and low cut trail shoes didn't cut it for me. I'll definitely be wearing something with more ankle support next time.

Your hike

The reason you did not find the Appalachian Trail or the Fawn Trail while walking along the Doodletown Bridle Path is that the routes of these trails have recently changed.  The A.T. on the east side of West Mountain has been relocated to a new, improved route, which includes part of the former route of the Fawn Trail.  The most easterly portion of the Fawn Trail has been deblazed (although the former trail route, a woods road, can still be followed), and the Fawn Trail now begins on the new A.T. route, about 0.3 mile from the Timp-Torne Trail.  The hike description has now been updated. You are correct that the southern parking area at Anthony Wayne is usually closed in the winter.  You can always park in the northern parking area and walk south to southern parking area.

Thanks for the update!

I knew the Appalachian trail had been relocated in parts, but did not realize the Red Fawn trail had been truncated.  Thanks for the info!

Great Hike

I hiked this trail as written yesterday. Wonderful walk! The West Mountain trail shelter overlooking the Hudson was a definite highlight. Three notes: 1. The Horn Hill Mountain Bike Trail has now been marked with large white and blue diamonds that say "Bike Trail." It's no longer blazed in most places along this hike. Easy to follow for sure. 2. Probably due in part to all the rain we've had this year, the portion of the yellow-blazed Suffern-BM Trail that traverses the fire burn area has grown pretty thick with scrub, including prickly barberry bushes. Although the trail is still easy to make out, if you're hiking in summer, you might want to consider wearing long pants.  3. I think if I were to take this hike again, I might take a left on the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and follow it all the way back to its intersection with the AT and the bike path for a longer, more scenic loop. Although Beechy Bottom Road and the Bike Trail were fast routes back to the parking lot, they were strictly utilitarian. Taking the blue trail would have meant adding a mile or two plus one big climb, but I think the views would have been worth it. Next time, maybe! Thanks for the hike. Great information, as alway.