Trail Conditions Forum

Mud? Ice? High water at stream crossings?

This is the place to let the trail community know what you encountered, where and when (be as precise as possible). Suggestion: Make the trail or park name your subject.

To report serious trail problems that need Trail Conference attention, including illegal trail use issues, visit our Contact Us page. Problems reported through our Contact Us page get to the maintainers fast and reliably. Problems reported on the forum below may help fellow trail users avoid problem areas until they get fixed, but not all maintainers read this regularly.


 

tree188's picture

4/3/2016  Hiked this section of the SBM today.  What a fantastic day to go!  Snow and high winds made this section very dramatic.  The trail itself melted off the snow very quickly and was completely clear.  No ice or mud, while to each side of the trail snow covered the ground throughout the hike all day.  It looked like someone had dumped raw cotton all over the landscape.  A strange circumstance to say the least.  Trail was clear, the views were great with the cold, clear air and the constant winds.  Highest gust was about 20 mph that we measured on the trail, temp just about 35 F.  One interesting observation was the snow sticking to the trees only on the WNW side of each tree and no other part of the trunk, due to the rain last night and early this morning, and the following snow fall sticking to the water and freezing.  Made for a unique effect.
tree188's picture

Hiked this section on Saturday March 19, 2016.  Definitly a moderate hike for difficulty for this section.  I hiked this trail 30 years ago.  It was not easy then and is still challenging now.  One long boulder field, with some good ascents/descents.    Trail was clear and marked well.  Thanks to the recent maintainers who appear to have performed alot of chainsaw maintenance on the trail.  Shelter was busy.  Lots of people camping overnight prior to the Sunday  storm.  Views south to NYC were very good, would have been great if it had been sunny and a little clearer.   Comments: 1. The Equine center is a good place to park but be prepared to encounter an aggressive german shepard the maintenance staff has on site.  The owner will leash the dog so you can get through to the trail head if you hail him.  Unfortunately the trail head's locations forces you to have to walk past this animal. 2. No comprehensive, overall trail description was found on the TC's web site.  Only a brief circuit hike for the northern end near Bear Mtn.  This trail is long enough (24-26? miles) it might be helpful to have such a description on line, like some of the other longer trails, and recommended camping sites for folks hiking the trail as through hikers.
Daniel Chazin's picture

We generally post hike descriptions on the website (there are more than 35 hike descriptions for Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks alone), but not trail descriptions (except for certain long-distance trails, such as the Long Path and the Highlands Trail).  As you indicate, there is no hike description that features the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail in its entirety -- and we generally don't put 25-mile-long hikes on the website.  However, the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, along with all other trails in these parks, is described in detail in our Harriman Trails guidebook.
Schwinn1979's picture

We are opening our horizons to the catskills this summer! We have plenty of experience in the southern NY/ northern NJ parks. Now from what I understand, the catskill peaks can be somewhat of a different animal. I have read about how when you get 'up there' in elevation, you tend to run into snow and ice far after its gone in the lower places.   That said, Slide mountain is on the southern end, its the highest peak and from what I have read, when approached from the west its one of the easier climbs....so we decided it would be where we break ourselves in to hiking the catskills.   My question is when can we expect to not have to use traction aid to climb it? Just how bad is the 'mud season' afterward? And finally if anyone has any tips for a catskill noob I would appreciate it! Thank you.
triangle man's picture

My BF and I have done a few Catskills hikes in the last month. The ice is dwindling, but it persists in the high forests and slopes that don't see much sun. Bring microspikes. The mud also tends not to appear until at higher elevations. On our last hike, on Peekamoose Mountain, there was no mud until we passed 3500 feet. The rock ledges were for the most part dry and easy to climb, but they were exposed and on a southern slope.
tree188's picture

Having experienced this area in the past in December and about this time of year, I would not go without traction.  Evergreen trees cover the trail overhead so any snow or ice underneath melts sloooowwwwly.  Additionally, the trail is very rutted from years of use, so melt water goes into the rut and refreezes in the main trail path, making it an ice rink.  My experience was to walk off trail and uses tree trunks for support.  This is by no means limited to this trail either.  Having walked the LP through this area in winter and early spring, these conditions tend to repeat themselves throughout the area.   If you are intent on going now, spend the money and get the traction gear.  You'll be happier, safer and have it for future walks.  Micro spikes or stabilicers will do the trick.  Good luck......
Rambler's picture

The RPH Shelter is listed as being open in April.  I would like to leave a car in this area for a week, starting 4/15.  Most of the road crossings have limited parking on the road shoulder.  Does anyone know if any of these parking spots are good for long term parking?  Is there a contact for the RPH caretaker / Ralph?
Walt Daniels's picture

Responded to privately with some alternate safe parking. The shelter is now open year round. The is limited parking outside the gated road into the shelter which has not had any vandalism reports. There is no permanent caretaker, but several who monitor it frequently.
mikej165's picture

This past weekend I hiked Harriman from the Reeves Visitor Center. I took a long loop using the Pine Meadow Trail (East), then Seven HIlls (south), the Ramapo Torne section of the HTS, then back north on the Seven Hills and back to Reeves. I'm happy to say that trail conditions were excellent. With the moderate temperatures, I found very little ice, no snow and not nearly as much mud as I would have expected. All the streams are running high and C-O-L-D right now, so take extra care when crossing, lest you get wet feet at the time of year when that is likely to ruin your hike.   I must note that twice on the Seven Hills Trail I lost the trail. My GPS track shows what appears to have been the ramblings of a drunken man in those spots. The location specifically was 7 Hills segment between Reeves Brook Trail and the HTS. The markers in a few places were indistinct or hard/impossible to see. If they're hard to follow now, with the trees bare, I imagine when the leaves sprout there will be others getting off trail as well.
banjolady's picture

there are  a few areas between the reeves brook and hts on the 7 hills. if you are heading north from the reeves brook trail toward pine meadow on the 7 hills it crosses the HTS by the "table rocks" and then crosses the pine meadow trail and then from the kakiat it heads up diamond mt where it crosses the HTS again near the top. my guess is that you are talking about the part where it heads up hill from the kakiat?? i  im in the park almost every day --i know it very well and still had trouble there a few weeks ago but  now its pretty easy to follow if you pay close attention.
matthewcat's picture

The majority of the Red Trail in High Mountain is a stream/puddle. There are some dry sections but for most of hike, you have to hike off the trail alongside it.
mjockel's picture

The section of the Anthony Wayne trail between 7 Lakes Dr and Rte 6 is usually wet at certain times, and today was one of them!   Much of the trail is lined with prickers.  Some wet spots were at least a few inches deep.  This section could really use some maintenance in the form of improved drainage or at least some stepping stones.
johnm's picture

The prior comment regarding the condition of the trail is totally valid. The trail for sometime has been wet in sections and there have been preliminary plans to improve the situation probably with boardwalks. However, the condition has indeed deteriorated and walking the trail is not pleasant.  It has now eroded substantially, adding to the problem, and needs at least the improvements that were suggested..  This has been added to the work list of the Trail Conferfence West Hudson South Trail Crew.  Correction will not be immediate. First, corrective action needs to be defined, possibly rerouting some sections.  We hope to at least get to clearing the prickers this spring.  Such comments on trail problems are highly appreciated. 
walkinthebreeze's picture

Greetings!   I am new to this site, yet I am hoping to find the right place to get information on where I find the AT that crosses from the NJ stateline into NY state.  Also, map(s) that show the NY state distance to the CT boarder. I would like to complete this section in the summer, need to know as much as possible on condition of trail, water, shelter, etc.  Any info would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you kindly~   Mark
ron6788's picture

The maps from NYNJ-TC are wonderful, for sure, but, unlike Atlas-type road maps, do not specify mileage distances between points.  This is regrettable as it's a main priority in outing plans.
Jeremy Apgar's picture

I apologize for the delayed response, but I wanted to respond to your point about trail mileages.

Currently, 4 of our map sets indicate trail mileage on the map fronts:  Catskill, Harriman-Bear Mountain, South Taconic, and West Hudson.  As you mention, this feature is very useful for planning and navigating, and many people continue to praise the decision to include these mileage numbers on these maps.

As we revise other maps that do not yet have mileage numbers, we are deciding whether to add the mileages on a map-by-map basis.  Some maps with dense trail networks would be very difficult to accurately label with mileages, while others may be more doable, so we hope to be able to bring this feature to additional maps in the future.


~Jeremy
TC Cartographer

Schwinn1979's picture

the TC maps (availible on this site) Sterling Forest, Harriman State Park, and East Hudson will collectivley offer greatly detailed maps of the AT in NY. Where the East Hudson map leaves off, you can download maps covering the rest of the AT here for free as well. Someone who is a bit more internet savvy could probably put in some nice links to these pages.
Michael K7's picture

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy sells a map set that will cover the entire hike. It also comes with a guidebook that is a great reference. The NYNJTC Sterling Forest map shows the AT from the NY/NJ state line to Harriman State Park. The AT is accessible via the blue blazed State Line Trail which you get right before the state line on road 511. When i did this section, i took an NJT bus from Port Authority, and asked the driver to let me off at the state line. The trailhead is right across the road from a small marina. There is one shelter in this section, the Wildcat Shelter, and when i was there (about 18 months ago!) it was in great shape, with a privy and bearbox to store food.  For the rest of your journey on the AT to the CT border, you should refer to the ATC maps and guidebook. You can also check out whiteblaze.net for conditions on the AT. Please note that Harriman is often very dry in the summer months, so you will have to plan your water refills carefully, and don't rely on finding running streams that are marked on the map, as many of them dry out over summer. Good luck!
johnm's picture

The roads are to be reopened April 1st, conditions allowing. 

Remember: The safest place right now is at home.