Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks

Photo

Source of text --http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/nyc/parks/loc8.htm

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View Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks in a larger map

Park Overview:

With nearly 52,000 acres of mostly forested landscape and hundreds of miles of trails--including the Appalachian Trail--Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks offer a rich hiking resource close to New York City.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:235 miles
Park Acreage:52000 acres
City/County/
State:
Bear Mountain/Rockland/NY
Buy Trail Map:Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map set
Buy Book:Harriman Trails: A Guide and History

New York Walk Book
Park Description:

Click here to see Trail Alerts for this park.

The variety of trails looping across the rugged landscape, draped upon the Highlands, is a major part of the appeal of Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks.  Covering nearly 52,000 acres, this network of practically infinite trail combinations is unmatched in the area surrounding metropolitan New York.  The hiker may choose to climb through the crevices of the Lemon Squeezer, savor the views of the Hudson from high on Dunderberg Mountain, or ramble on old woods roads past sleepy swamps and abandoned mining villages.  The Bear Mountain Inn area is itself a destination for many families to enjoy its numerous attractions, including access to several hiking trails.

For a history of the park and a complete guide to marked and unmarked trails, see Harriman Trails: A Guide and History, by William Myles [New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, 3d ed. 2010]. See also Chapter 16 of the New York Walk Book [7th ed. 2005].  

 

Trails Overview:

With more than 235 miles of trails, approximately fifty marked trails, and three-dozen plus woods trails not to mention unmarked trails, it seems best to feature just a few major trail access points with parking areas.    

  • Reeves Meadow Visitors Center:  One of the most popular trails in the park, the Pine Meadow trail [5.5 miles; red on while] leads to the north shore of Pine Meadow Lake.   A 0.2-mile hike east from the parking area towards Sloatsburg on Pine Meadow Trail connects to Seven Hills Trail [blue dot on white];  300 feet east of the visitors center on Pine Meadow Trail is  the trailhead [on the right] of the Reeves Brook Trail [white].
  • Bear Mountain Inn: The large parking area [though it becomes full in good weather, or on special holidays] is an access point to several trails, including the Appalachian [white], Anthony Wayne [2.8 miles, white], 1777E [red "1777" on white], Suffern-Bear Mountain [23.5 miles, yellow], and Cornell Mine Trails [2.5 miles, blue].  Also the Twin Forts Trail, a short path connecting the sites of the historic Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery [including the modest Fort Montgomery visitor center] and also leading to the Timp-Torne [11.2 miles, blue] and Popolopen Gorge trails [4.5 miles, red on white].
  • Anthony Wayne Recreation Area:  The mid-point of the Anthony Wayne Trail [2.8 miles; white] forms a loop with the Popolopen Gorge Trail [red on white] at Turkey Hill Lake and the Timp-Torne Trail [blue] on the west end of West Mountain.
  • Elk Pen Parking Area:  On the western side of the park, there is access to the Appalachian Trail, Arden-Surebridge Trail [6.3 miles, red triangle on white] and Island Pond.

The Appalachian Trail [18.0 miles, white] traverses the northern section of the park, extending from the Bear Mountain Bridge at the Hudson River west to NY 17.  On the way, it intersects or runs jointly with eleven other marked trails, and it can be combined with these trails to make a variety of loop hikes.

This section of the Appalachian Trail in the park was the first of the 2,160 mile-long A.T. to be completed, and much of it still follows the original route.  Improvements are still being made to the A.T. on Bear Mountain which is the focal point of a multi-year, multi-agency trail building and rehabilitation project being led by the Trail Conference.  Learn more about the Bear Mountain Trails Project.

  • Before proceeding west on the A.T. from Bear Mountain Inn, hikers may wish to follow the trail east, through a pedestrian tunnel under US 9 W, into the Trailside Museum and Zoo, which features native plants, animals, reptiles and birds.  A sign on the A.T. as it passes through the museum marks the lowest point on the entire trail from Maine to Georgia - 124 feet above sea level.
  • Both ends of the trail in the park are readily accessible.  See Directions below to either Bear Mountain Inn or Elk Pen Parking Area.

Doodletown near Bear Mountain, an isolated hamlet surviving for 200 years but a ghost town since the mid-1960s, is a popular destination for hikers.  Click for more information

For detailed descriptions of hikes in this park click here.

Hunting is allowed is allowed in season in the section of the park west of NY Route 17. 

Directions:
  • Reeves Meadow Visitors Center: From NY 17 in Sloatsburg take Seven Lakes Drive 1.4 miles
  • Bear Mountain Inn: From the Palisades Interstate Parkway [north or south], get off at exit 19 [Bear Mtn. Park] and take Seven Lakes Drive for 3½ miles to the Bear Mountain Circle. At the circle, take the second right. Follow the signs to Parking Lots. If you miss exit 19, take the Parkway to the Bear Mountain Bridge Circle. At this circle, make the first right onto 9W south and go to the traffic light. Bear right and go up the hill. Parking fees apply.
  • Anthony Wayne Recreation Area: From the Palisades Interstate Parkway, take Exit 17
  • Elk Pen Parking Area: Take Route 17 north through Southfields, NY, turn right [east] onto Arden Valley Road, pass under the NY State Thruway [no access], then turn right on Elk Pen Road. From Route 17 south, Arden Valley Road is two miles south of the Harriman train station. [Google Maps: "Rt 17 and Arden Valley Road, NY 10975" The satellite view will show the parking area.]
  • Public transportation: Short Line buses from the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Bear Mountain Inn also stop, if requested, along US 9W at Tomkins Cove and Jones Point. Short Line buses and Metro-North trains to Suffern, Sloatsburg, Tuxedo, Southfields, Arden, and Harriman give access to trails on the west side of the parks.
Contact Information:OPRHP-NYS Parks
845-786-2701
Region:Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks
Fees:Some times and places; check with park

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

Private property

Someone please explain to me how there is so much PRIVATE land in a public state park?

My wife and I just went to try to go fishing.  But it seems every lake in the park is private.  And surrounded by private property.  Such that there is no where that we are allowed to park, no where where we are allowed to fish.  Except [deleted] lake(welsh).   Isn't the entire thing sustained by taxes?  How is it that we are not allowed to fish at any lake?  How are these lakes reservoirs?  Only to supply water to these private residences in this place [deleted]  You can't even swim in these lakes?  Who is paying for all this? HOW ARE THERE PRIVATE RESIDENCES ON PUBLIC LAND? Not only that, but why is it that the vast vast majority of the land is private?  Roads, private? [Deleted] isn't this a public park?  Camping costs money?  How the hell does that work?  We stoped by at this seculded visitor center this afternoon.  Huge place.  Airconditioned.  1 employee. I'm certian we are the only visitors that have been in there... maybe in months?  This space is more massive than any house I've lived before, and some [one] gets paid to sit around in it with his massive diarama, for tax dollars?  Who is paying for all that and we can't even fish?  This is a sad sad joke.

Of course no one even cares, because the only people in these areas are the ones who SOMEHOW live here.  The entire NYS managed park system is a glorified dog walking facility.

Private property near Sterling Forest State Park

The visitors center mentioned appears to be the one at Sterling Forest State Park. A number of private parcels continue as in-holdings in and around Sterling Forest State Park. These pre-date creation of the park and are not part of the park.

17 buildings near Sterling Lake  and the adjacent visitors center were part of the Sterling Forest Corporation and became park property when Sterling Forest State Park was established. These  houses and the land around them continue to be leased and are marked “private, please keep out.”

Questions about where fishing, with a valid NY fishing license,  is permitted in any park should be addressed to park managers:

Sterling Forest State Park: 845-351-5907

Harriman State Park: 845-786-2701

New bridge over Pine Meadow Brook

A newly built bridge is now in place for the Pine Meadow [red blaze], Kakiat [white],  and 7-Hills [blue] trails over Pine Meadow Brook

AT Relocated on West Mountain

A long-awaited relocation of an Appalachian Trail section on West Mountain in Harriman State Park has been completed. The new route follows a more gradual climb up (or down) West Mountain, replacing a steep section that was subject to severe erosion and was often muddy. It also incorporates a short section of the 1777W and truncates a section Fawn Trail--in the area just south of the AT’s crossing of Seven Lakes Drive, between West and Bear Mountains, and 0.85-mile of newly built and blazed trail.

Find details about the trail changes at /news/appalachian-trail-rerouted-west-mountain-harriman-state-park

Be careful of bears when camping at Harriman

My boyfriend and I just camped at Stockbridge shelter at Harriman. We hung our food and garbage in a tree overnight and were awoken in the morning to find a black bear climbing up the tree and eating our food. The bear seemed familiar with this camp spot and was not afraid of us. We made some loud noises but it seemed unbothered by us. We moved to higher ground to wait until the bear left and reported the incident to the rangers. The rangers said they've had a lot of occurrences in the park this year with bears.

Please make sure you DO NOT have food in your tent if you plan to camp.  

second that

Was camping just outside the Stockbridge shelter this past weekend and a bear decided to come visit our tent. It wasn't aggressive but also didn't seem too bothered by us. Definitely remember to hang your food any time you're not using it and cook well away from your tent.

Bus Routes and Times

not all of trailways routes are on the web.  They have a Kingston, NY to Poughkpieseee, NY.  Limited?

I also think Newburgh, NY is also on this route?

Bus Service

Is there bus service from Kingston NY to Harriem, NY???? There is a Traiways bus station in Kingston, NY.

Bus Service

I did some checking at both the Trailways and Short Line sites and could not find any direct route, but you might explore these sites yourself to find an alternative.

Hunting in parts of Harriman

Hikers should be aware that hunting is allowed in 2010 in the area of Harriman west of Route 87 and into Sterling Forest State Park. Other areas of Harriman-Bear Mountain are not open to hunting.

Link: http://www.nynjtc.org/news/deer-hunting-dates-new-york-and-new-jersey-2010

Western End of Major Welch Trail Closed.

The western end of the Major Welch Trail -- from the Perkins Memorial Tower on the summit of Bear Mountain to its former terminus on Perkins Drive -- has been permanently closed. The Major Welch Trail now terminates at the Perkins Memorial Tower. The trail remains open from its trailhead at Hessian Lake to the summit of Bear Mountain.

Crews are at work this summer building a new stretch of the Appalachian Trail on the south side of the mountain, which will incorporate the views of the closed section of the Major Welch Trail. The focus is on relocating the Appalachian Trail off of Perkins Memorial Drive and into the woods, providing a more "backcountry style" of trail. Trail workers aim to complete this project in early September and open it to the public soon after.

Source: Official TC newsrelease

 

Winter Road, Parking Closures

Date: 2010, January 6

Source: John Mack, West Hudson South Trail Chair

Though Route 106 in Harrimian State Park is reopened (see news item), we remind trail users that several roads in the Harriman/Bear Mountain Parks regularly are closed in winter. These include Tiorati Brook Road, Lake Welch Drive, and Perkins Memorial Drive. (Winter road closures are identified by bold, black astericks on our trail maps.) These roads were closed on December 1. They are scheduled to be reopened April 1, though inclement weather and road conditions at that time could prompt a delay.

Also currently closed is the south parking lot at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area. Official dates for this closure are not available. Note that many trails remain accessible from the north parking area.

The ramps leading from the Palisades Interstate Parkway to the Recreation Area and back to the Parkway in both directions remain open.

Route 106 Reopened in December

Route 106 in Harriman S.P. reopened in December, so all trailheads are now accessible from NY Route 17 and 7 Lakes Drive.

Hunting in some sections of Harriman Park

Hunting in Sterling Forest and Harriman State Parks have been expanded to include essentially all park areas west of NY Route 17.  The regular (firearms) hunting season began on November 21 and ends on December 13, 2009.  Bow season will resume December 14 to December 22 (as was published in the November-December Trail Walker).

Trail updates

From the October 2009 Trail Walker newsletter:

 

Victory Trail

Several hikers have reported that a section of the Victory Trail, which is a utility road, was barely noticeable until recent work. Construction of a road accessible to large utility trucks was begun by the park after the utilities advised that without the road development, the lines to park facilities would not be serviced.  As of the September 2009 deadline for this newsletter, clearing and construction of a widened dirt road over the trail, extending from a short distance north of Lake Skenonto, south to the terminus of the trail, was nearly complete.  Culverts have been installed for drainage at some low spots. 

            The Trail Conference has requested that low spots be filled in and the road and adjoining surfaces be made as neat as reasonable before departing the project. During an early September field trip to the site, the Victory Trail remained blazed adequately to follow.  Maintainers Seth Schwartz, Janet Waegel, and Wayne Miller planned to attend to the trail by the end of September.  

            We thank the several hikers who reported and questioned this major trail disruption. Trail users are often the first to be aware of trail issues and we encourage your eyewitness reports. To report a trail issue or problem go to our website, click on the Community tab and choose Report a Trail Problem; or call 201-512-9348.

 

Blue Disc Trail

A large number of the blue disc-on-white trail blazes were removed this past summer by persons unknown, who not only damaged and removed blaze tags, but hacked off painted blazes from the trees.  Re-blazing has been accomplished for the eastern two-thirds of the trail and, as of September, is adequate to follow the entire trail length.

 

Nurian Trail

As of late September, the bridge over the Ramapo River, between Route 17 and the Southfields Pedestrian Bridge over the NY State Thruway, was impassable. Watch our website for news of the bridge reopening.

            Also on the Nurian Trial, of the two low bridges across Stahahe Brook, the more eastern one had collapsed and Trail Conference volunteers have removed it; at this time the park is unable to provide materials to replace it.  The almost adjacent western bridge has sagged but is currently crossable though slippery.  Both stream crossings are quite easily achieved without use of the bridges.

            Parking Note:  Parking is not allowed at the defunct Red Apple Rest or on surrounding private property.  Parking is available about 0.8-mile northwest of Route 17 on Hall Drive from Orange Turnpike, but would entail a road walk.  Parking should also be allowable at the Southfields Post Office during hours that it is not open--but never in the adjacent privately owned lot. The difficulty of parking in this location may also affect hikers who would otherwise plan to connect with other trails, such as the Stahahe Brook, White Bar, and Dunning Trails.

           

Kanawauke Lake and Route 106

Route 106 remains closed between Lake Kanawauke and Little Long Pond, due to deterioration of two bridges.  Repair has begun on one of them and is expected to be completed and the road opened by winter.  The lakes are being drained to allow the repair work to be accomplished and for some weed control.  Parking on 106 from 7-Lakes Drive is available at Lake Kanawauke, and from Route 17 the road is also passable to the closed bridge, providing access to parking for the Parker Cabin Hollow and White Bar Trails, Island Pond Road, and Victory and Ramapo-Dunderberg Trails .

 

 

 

Camping in Harriman

For a lengthy exchange about camping in Harriman Park click on the title below.  Click for a reply that was especially detailed.

 

hike to a campsite

On July 26th, 2009 miharbio asked:

Hello, I am looking to bring a few inexperienced friends on a hiking/camping trip. Basically I'd like to have the group hike for most of the day and camp at our final destination. I'm looking for at least two to three miles and it would be great if the hike back to the car the next day was a different trail. There seems to be a great number of trails to chose from, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to set up camp on all of them, can anyone provide some information as to how that works? Thank you