Circuit Hikes in Harriman

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Circuit Hikes in Harriman


Circuit Hikes in Harriman

35 Loop Hikes and Trail Runs in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks

Price: $15.95

2015, 1st ed.

Written by Don Weise, edited by Daniel Chazin
Published by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Just 30 miles north of New York City, Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks span 52,000 acres and provide outdoor enthusiasts with one of the highest concentrations of hiking trails in the northeast.  Countless natural and historic gems lie within its borders, including lakes, scenic vistas, ravines, iron mines, railway tunnels, and ruins.  Long distance trails, such as the Appalachian Trail and Long Path, also run through the parks.

Circuit Hikes in Harriman is the first comprehensive guide to circuit hikes in the New York metropolitan area's most popular hiking destination.  Eight of the loops are suitable for trail runs and there is one approved mountain biking loop.  Each chapter contains a detailed map, elevation profile and photos.  Many chapters offer longer and shorter options.  The hikes run a wide range of lengths and difficulties, from easy jaunts under four miles in length to strenuous loops of over nine miles.

The photos show fantastic views and interesting features that one might encounter while on the hike.  Each map has been designed to clearly show the hike route and identify the many different points of interest along the way.  The hike routes were selected by author Don Weise after more than 20 years of leading hikes and runs through the parks.

At a retail price of $15.95, this guidebook is perfect for anyone interested in exploring the rich network of trails in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, including those new to hiking as well as experienced hikers looking to expand their horizons.

ISBN 978-1-880775-93-6


  • 35 total loop hikes, with many offering longer and shorter options
  • 8 loop hikes that can also be suitable for other uses, such as trail runs, walks, ski loops, and mountain bike rides
  • Detailed trail map for each hike
  • Elevation statistics and profiles with points of interest identified
  • Driving directions and parking GPS coordinates
  • Photos of interesting features
  • Includes a Table of Contents (PDF) and an Index (PDF)


Circuit Hikes in Harriman Example Pages

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

contour lines on Harriman CIrcular Hikes Book

As the primary field checker for this book with many years of hiking and hike leading experience, the unfortunate comment is that many folks find contour lines very confusing.  Therefore, the AMC has removed them from their general use hiking maps as have many other organizations.  Those of us who understand contour lines do, of course, want them on all of our hiking maps.  As Jeremy said, the Tyvek Trails Conference maps are referenced and are readily available for all those who want a "real" map.

While section hiking the

While section hiking the whole AT we hiked almost entirely looking at the profiles rather than contours which contain the same information but you have count the contours to know what the gains and loses are. We often just counted bumps to know where we were. On the other hand, when designing new trails I rely heavily on the contours for picking routes that will keep the slopes under 10% or so on average. But this is not the population that our books address because there is no trail there yet.

Circuit Hiles in Harriman

I am disappointed that the sample map you posted does not show contour lines. To an experienced hiker, this makes the map patently incomplete. To an inexperienced hiker, this makes the map misleading notwithstanding the separate elevation graph. My main concern is that Sunday "sneaker people" will dangerously underestimate the difficulty of a hike.

Overall Descriptions Provide Several Hints About Hike Difficulty

Hi Donald.

Thanks for your comment expressing your disappointment and concern with the maps for this book based on the example above.  Since I assisted with the cartography for this book, I wanted to provide a response.

It is correct that the hike maps in this guidebook do not contain contour lines.  This follows the same simplified style as maps in some of our other books with hike descriptions, such as Hike of the Week and Hiking the Jersey Highlands.  Among the reasons for this style is that it can be difficult to include contour lines on a detailed grayscale map without sacrificing some degree of readability; however, we may look into the possibility of incorporating full-color maps into future books, which may allow us to more easily consider adding contour lines (as a small book publisher and non-profit organization, color printing in the quantities we produce has largely been cost-prohibitive in the past).

However, it is important to note that the map is not meant to be a stand-alone item, but is rather one part of the overall hike description (also note that Chapter 10, featured in the example page spread above, includes 4 additional pages not shown of description and photos).  Information such as rating, distance, hiking time, total elevation gain, an elevation profile, photos which often show the terrain, and notes about the terrain within the description itself all work in combination with the map to provide a thorough overview of what to expect.  So I would disagree with your statement that the map is misleading, as it is just one component of an overall hike chapter.  We also provide information about which map of our “Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails” map set the hike appears on, and we expect to offer combos that combine this book and the Tyvek maps at a discount.

Regarding your main concern, I feel that sometimes one of the main ways for inexperienced hikers to become experienced is to make mistakes and learn from them.  If someone uses a hike description from this book (complete with map, elevation profile, elevation statistics, photos, and detailed descriptions of the terrain), and they still underestimate the difficulty of a hike, hopefully they will learn from that experience for their next outing.  It is part of our mission to educate people about the trails, and this is something we take very seriously, but at a certain point it is up to each individual to make their own decisions and learn from their experiences.  In addition, many casual hikers (including people you refer to as “sneaker people”…I wear sneakers on the trails sometimes!) may not know the basics of reading a topographic map, so contour lines are less important than other clues about the terrain in the overall description.

It is important to remember that most “experienced hikers” were inexperienced at some point and had to gain that experience over time, and hopefully this book will help many people, regardless of their experience level, explore the trails of Harriman safely.

I believe you are already very familiar with the trails in Harriman, but I do hope you check out this great new book when it comes out to discover a few more loops or interesting features you might not be aware of.

~Jeremy, TC Cartographer