Goosepond Mountain State Park

Photo

View of Goosepond Mountain from Lazy Hill Road (Photo by Phil McLewin)

Location


View Goosepond Mountain State Park in a larger map

Park Overview:

The pastoral park is undeveloped except for an abandoned paved road crisscrossed with a labyrinth of unmarked narrow trails; a section of the Highlands Trail traverses it as the only blazed trail.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Bridle path
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:2.6 miles
Park Acreage:1558 acres
City/County/
State:
Chester/Orange/NY
Web Map:NYS Parks trail map
Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Park Description:

Largely undeveloped, this is a beautiful park with a mixture of woods, open fields and wetlands amid the hills and valleys of Orange County.  The land was acquired with funds from the New York Bond Acts of 1960 and 1962.  All existing structures were removed to create this expansive recreation area which has since been returning to its natural state.    

It is located about six miles north of  the commodity-heavy Woodbury Common premium outlet mall and might prove to be the quiet respite needed before the ride home – or a place for a hiker to enjoy nature while the family shops down the road.

Trails Overview:

Like a backbone, a 2.6-mile segment of the Highlands Trail (teal blazes, widely spaced) is routed along Lazy Hill Road -- as displayed on the web map linked above.  The once paved, now abandoned road spans the park from near the intersection of Craigville Road (CR 51) and NY-17M southwest to Laroe Road (CR 45), where the pathway becomes narrower.

A confusing maze of un-blazed trails, more like narrow bike paths, cross over the roadway.  Watch out for bikers -- even though they are not officially sanctioned.  Sporadically an orange blaze (always this color) in the form of an arrow points out one of these side paths; it would be easy to become lost by following one without a GPS and compass.   It's best as a linear out-and-back hike. 

Along Lazy Hill Road there are pleasing views of open fields, rolling hills and, off in the distance, Goose Pond Mountain with an elevation of 1061 feet. This is also a great place to hike on a hot summer day since nearly the entire length is under a canopy of roadside trees.

A bridge (shown on the NYS parks trail map) is washed off its foundation where Seely Brook crosses near the southwest end of Lazy Hill Road, but hikers can easily cross at this point.

A few reminders of past residents include what was clearly a grand stair step entrance to a house (very close to the only “T” intersection of paved roads), an easily missed sign pointing out a path through a field to the “Board Family Cemetery,” dry-stone boundary walls, and stretches of barbed wire.  A few cutoff tops of utility poles remain scattered about at the side of the road.

In late 2014 the Open Space Institute (OSI) purchased the 400-acre golf course at the southern end of the park.   It has been named “Goosepond South” by OSI and may ultimately be a part of the New York State Park system.  For more information see the Trail Walker, Summer 2015, p.12.  Click to find a map of the new parcel,  an additional parking area, off Bull Mill Road, and the proposed re-route of the Highlands Trail.  

A separate Nature Trail goes into and around a 5-acre “compensatory mitigation wetlands” a little further north off NY-17M (insert included on web map).  It is part of a 108-acre state regulated wetlands serving as a flood plain for Seely Brook. It includes a section of boardwalk above the swamps and is a quiet, beautiful spot with plenty of bird sounds and long, wide vistas of the flood plain.  A section of the two-loop trail, which is under a half-mile, passes by a small bottomland hardwood forest.  There is no place simply to sit comfortably and enjoy the sounds and views.  Small little benches are scattered about, but they are more like low wobbly footstools.     

 

Directions:

From the NYS Thruway, take exit 16 to NY-17 West (also US-6 West ). In about 5 miles take exit 128 for County Road 51 toward Oxford Depot, turn right onto CR 51 follow it 0.3-mile to a stop sign at NY-17M

  • Lazy Hill Road parking area:  Turn left on NY-17M, a large parking area is immediately on your left – it has two entrances if you miss the first turn-off.  The trailhead, with a steel rope blocking vehicular traffic, is across the roadway.   GPS:  41.345564,-74.226723
  • Nature Trail parking area:  Turn right on onto NY-17M.  In about a minute a small parking area will be on the left.   GPS:  41.348400,-74.234467
  • Laroe Road parking area (not recommended):  Parking is also available off Laroe Road along the southwest border of the park. It may hold only four cars, since blocking the access gate is prohibited.  Turn left onto NY-17M, travel 0.6 mile to Bull Mill Road, turn right.  Follow the curving road 3.3 miles to a “T” at Laroe Road (CR 45).  Turn right, travel 1.0 mile to turnout on the right before reaching Spruce Hill Road up on the left.  As a warning to slow down, a “45 MPH” speed limit sign is just before the parking area.  Approximate GPS:  41.31914008557364,-74.25796508789062
Contact Information:OPRHP, Goosepond Mountain State Park
8457862701
Region:Schunemunk Mountain
Fees:None