Pine Meadow Lake
Pine Meadow Lake is popular spot for day hikes in Harriman State Park. It is easily accessible by car and public transportation. The most direct route to the lake from the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center is the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. The one-way distance from the Visitor Center to the lake is 2.25 miles (4.5 miles round trip).
Take N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway and take the first exit, Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north, and continue through the Village of Sloatsburg. Just past the village, turn right at the traffic light, following the sign for Harriman State Park. Cross an overpass over railroad tracks and continue along the Seven Lakes Drive, passing under the Thruway overpass, and soon entering Harriman State Park. Proceed for another mile (from the Thruway overpass) to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on the right side of the road. Park in the Visitor Center's parking lot.
If you'd like to get to the lake by public transportation, you should take the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line to the Sloatsburg station. From the station, cross the railroad tracks and head north on Ballard Avenue. When Ballard Avenue ends, turn right onto Academy Avenue and continue to Seven Lakes Drive. Turn right on Seven Lakes Drive, continue under the New York State Thruway, and pass Greenway Road and Laurel Road on the right. A short distance beyond, about 0.9 mile from the train station, you'll reach a bridge over the Stony Brook. On the bridge, you will notice a triple red-square-on-white blaze and a directional arrow, which mark the trailhead of the Pine Meadow Trail. Turn right, leaving the road, and follow this red-on-white-blazed trail for another 0.8 mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.
If you wish to avoid the crowds that frequent this very popular area, you can hike this 5.0-mile loop using the Pine Meadow Trail, the Reeves Brook Trail, the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail and the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail. Ths loop hike does not go to the lake, but it covers some beautiful scenery and passes a spectacular viewpoint.
Beginning at the Reeves Meadow parking lot, head east on the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, passing the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center on the left. In about 300 feet, the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail begins on the right. Turn right onto this trail and follow a woods road uphill. Soon, the trail begins to parallel Reeves Brook on the left.
In approximately 0.5 mile, continue on the white-blazed trail as it bears left and begins a steeper climb on a footpath, passing attractive cascades in the brook. The trail continues to climb more gradually, still paralleling the brook.
At approximately 1.5 miles, you will reach a steep escarpment. This marks a junction with the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail. Turn right onto the Seven Hills Trail, which climbs over a rise, descends a little, and then ascends gradually.
In another 0.35 mile, you'll reach a junction with the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills (RBH) Trail, which begins on the left. Continue ahead a short distance on the Seven Hills Trail to a west-facing viewpoint, known as Torne View. The Ramapo Torne may be seen on the left, with the hills of Sterling Forest to the west.
Retrace your steps to the junction with the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail. Turn right and follow this black-on-white-blazed trail, which descends to cross a stream on rocks (passing the end of the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail on the way down). It then climbs an escarpment, first steeply, then more gradually, passing two southwest-facing viewpoints. Near the second viewpoint, a large rock, known as The Pulpit, juts out by the cliff edge. After a short descent, the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail climbs to reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail on an open rock ledge. The junction is marked by paint blazes on the rocks.
Turn left onto the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail and proceed through dense mountain laurel thickets. Descend to cross a strip cleared for a gas pipeline and climb to a minor summit, then begin a steady descent. On the way down, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail joins briefly from the left and soon leaves to the right. The descent steepens after this point.
At the base of the descent, the HTS Trail reaches a woods road -- the route of the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. You will follow the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the parking area. Turn left and briefly follow the joint HTS/Pine Meadow Trail along the woods road. When the HTS Trail departs to the right, you should continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail. Soon, you'll reach a section where the woods road has eroded and the trail has been relocated onto a footpath to the left.
After crossing a gas pipeline and then Quartz Brook on a wooden bridge, you'll reach a junction where the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail begins on the right. Continue to follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it bears left and begins to run close to Stony Brook. To bypass a wet spot at the crossing of a tributary stream, the trail has been relocated to the hillside on the left, where it crosses another wooden bridge.
The Reeves Meadow Visitor Center and the parking lot where you began the hike is just ahead.