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.


 

stacycat's picture

Yesterday I hiked the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail from Conklins Crossing to the trail head in Suffern. The Trail markings need to be refreshed. At one point, on a overlook ridge, about 500 feet east of where the trail intersects with the Kakiat Trail, there are no markings visible for a turnoff. After the final gas-line cut which crosses the trail towards its Suffern terminus, the trail becomes very confusing as to where it picks up again. I headed down , thinking that since I was within earshot of the NY Thruway down below, that I was close to the end of the trail, and that I couldn't go wrong. I wound up overlooking the thruway and stopped by a chain link fence. I had to bushwhack in a northerly direction over several extremes of rises and falls in the topography until I found the trail close to the trailhead. This is a strenuous and potentially hazardous trail that needs to be more clearly marked. Many of the blazes are extremely faded.
Georgette Weir's picture

Our supervising volunteer in this area asked me to let you know that he will be following up on this report and plans to do a field inspection. He thanks all for the input and requests that trail users have patience with perceived problems (ie, please don't head out with a can of spray paint). This problem is on the list of trail problems to be addressed by field inspection and communication with volunteer(s). Thanks!
Michael K7's picture

I hiked the same area today (from the Kakiat to the trailhead in Suffern), and i agree with Stacy. There are many spots where the blazing is extremely faded or missing altogether, in both directions.
Sadly, i actually sent in a report of this exact problem to the TC about a year ago, but nothing seems to have been done. When i hiked the entire SBM a few months ago, i had to make the final descent in the dark, and the fact that i made it down without a problem i consider to be a combination of luck and the fact that i know this area of the trail well from having hiked it numerous times .
If need be, i will be taking a can of yellow spray paint with me the next time i hike this section of SBM...
Paul_A's picture

".....Sadly, i actually sent in a report of this exact problem to the TC about a year ago, but nothing seems to have been done...." Don't forget that all of this work is done by volunteers. Maybe that trail needs someone to volunteer to maintain it. Why not contact the TC and be the one to step up and volunteer.
Michael K7's picture

How do you know whether or not i've tried to volunteer? ;)
Fact #1:
When i sent my report in a year ago, i received a reply that stated "the trail maintainer for that section will be notified". If i understand english correctly, this would lead one to believe there already is a maintainer for that section of the trail.
Fact #2:
The TC lists trail maintainer openings right here on the website, and i check them on a regular basis, waiting for one to open up that i will be able to work on given that i have limited access to only a select number of trails.
Fact #3:
Part of my time spent on every hike is helping to keep the trails i am on maintained, whether it's clearing the trail, picking up other people's garbage they've left behind, or fixing cairns that have fallen apart, etc.
Fact # 4:
The TC has stated here on this forum that they do not encourage "phantom trail maintenance", so other than the simple activities listed above, i have refrained from adding/fixing blazes on trails. However, since not even one person from the TC has bothered to respond to this topic, i guarantee you that the next time i am on the SBM, i will have a can of yellow spray paint with me, and will be re-doing the faded blazes, so other hikers won't have the problems i've encountered.

I know all the work is done by volunteers, but i trust the TC to be on top of things, and if there is a trail maintainer opening, or problem keeping up with a trail section, they should be letting us know, not expecting us to figure it out for ourselves.

Paul_A's picture

OK, sorry. I didn't mean to upset anyone with my previous reply.
Michael K7's picture

I hope i didn't come off too harsh in my own reply- i'm as guilty as anyone of taking things the wrong way sometimes.
Our collective goal is hopefully to make hiking these trails an enjoyable experience for all those who use them, while also treating nature with respect. This requires us to all work together, but it's important to remember that there are a lot of people who are doing work on the trails without looking for recognition or wanting some sort of "official" position.
PVPatrick's picture

I ran up the Major Welch from Bear Mt Inn recently and noticed that the trail "disappears" at the summit. It seems that the crews building the new trails on Bear Mt have obliterated the trail markings going over the edge and along the west side of Bear Mt to Perkins Drive.
Georgette Weir's picture

You're correct. Please see Trail News item about this here:

news/major-welch-trail-bear-mountain-closed

Michael K7's picture

Thanks for the warning. I was planning on hiking that trail for the first time soon, so it's good to know i'll be winging it after the summit.
PVPatrick's picture

I ran up the Major Welch from Bear Mt Inn recently and noticed that the trail "disappears" at the summit. It seems that the crews building the new trails on Bear Mt have obliterated the trail markings going over the edge and along the west side of Bear Mt to Perkins Drive.
Michael K7's picture

I haven't been hiking in about 6 weeks due to a foot injury, but today i made it out to Harriman, and spent some time on the Kakiat, Blue Disc, TMI and R-D trails. I also did the orange/blue loop through Dater Mountain Park.
I've done this hike numerous times before. None of the streams i usually pass had any water in them. In fact, i did not see any water at all during my hike. I have never seen Harriman this dry.
If you are out hiking and/or camping, please use caution if you must have a fire. One mistake could mean the loss of a substantial part of our beloved park.
I realize most people reading this already practice good fire safety, but i felt it was important enough to post anyway. Thanks.
LP's picture

On August 7, 2010, I hiked the Highlands Trail from Spruce Run Park in Clinton Twp, NJ to Tunnel Road off of Rte 173 in Jugtown, NJ. I believe most of this is section 9 of the trail, but I'm not sure about that. Please note that this entire stretch of trail (I hiked 12.4 miles) is NOT maintained. I hiked through waist high weeds and thorny bushes for a lot of this time, and it was not pleasant to put it mildly. If you plan to hike here, I would highly recommend wearing long pants and definitely check for ticks when you are done. In many places, where the trail is is not obvious at all, and you really have to pay close attention to the blazes because they can be confusing. There is also quite a bit (as in miles) of paved road walking, so if you have foot problems like flat feet that are bothered by hard surface walking, I wouldn't bother with this hike. I do not recommend hiking this trail until it is bushwacked and cleaned up. Definitely do not bring children - they will be lost in the high weeds and grasses. The trail has many beautiful meadow views, so when it is cleaned up it will be a very pleasant experience.
Brenda Holzinger's picture

Thanks for the post about your recent hike on section 8 of the Highlands Trail in Hunterdon County.    

This is a section of the Highlands Trail that we struggle with because we are not permitted to do any maintenance in Clinton WMA between April 15 and August 1st in order to protect and leave undisturbed significant bird nesting areas.  The HT Supervisor has spent at least two full days recently in that area attempting to clean it out, but it is almost impossible to do  without a substantial mower after all the grass grows for 4 months.  The WMA will not assist us with the trail maintenance.

I think your comment that the entire section is unmaintained is a bit misleading, although I completely agree with you about the Clinton WMA.   The HT through the remainder of this section should be in pretty good shape based on other recent reports I have received, and is not subject to the maintenance requirements of Clinton WMA.  

We are always trying to do our best to both maintain and keep improving the entire 150 mile route of the HT.  However, as you may know, the entire HT project--routing, building and maintaining--is performed by volunteers.  If you are interested in joining this effort we would welcome the assistance!  This weekend we will be building a small reroute between Tower Hill and Jugtown Mountain to move the HT from its current route through the power line right of way, which is not the most pleasant place to hike. 

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the Highlands Trail.  You can also find information about the HT sections via this link:  www.highlands-trail.org/description.html.

Thanks for taking the time to post a report.  I hope you are able to enjoy hiking other sections of the Highlands Trail.

Brenda Holzinger
Chair, Highlands Trail--Hudson to Delaware Rivers
email:  [email protected]
cell:  973-303-3538

Jeremy Apgar's picture

Note: All trails are open again as of noon on Saturday the 14th.

Larry Wheelock

 

From National Park Service website on 8-9-2010 http://www.nps.gov/dewa/index.htm:

A wildfire burning within Worthington State Forest has resulted in hiking trail closures within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which adjoins the state forest.
The following trails are closed until further notice to ensure public and firefighter safety:
Kaiser Trail - the 2 mile trail is closed from the trailhead on Old Mine Road to the Appalachian Trail.
Coppermine Trail - the 1.8 mile trail is closed from the trailhead on Old Mine Road to the Appalachian Trail at Camp Road.
Appalachian Trail - the trail is closed from the Mohican Outdoor Center south to Holly Spring. Hikers will follow alternate routes along nearby roads. The Appalachian Trail is open from the Dunnfield Creek trailhead north to Holly Spring.

wizzer103's picture

I went hiking in Harriman yesterday on the Reeves Brook Trail I saw a 5 foot long Timber Rattler just a few feet off the trail not too far from the information center. If you go hiking here keep an eye out! What an awsome sight. I got a few really nice pictures.
coolhandgatsby's picture

I've seen rattlesnakes many, many times in the park. The good news is that they are very tame and it usually takes a lot just to get them rattling. The bad news is that they are very tame and you might not even know one is there until you step on one . . . which I once almost did on Panther Mtn.
Nick's picture

hi! last winter i did the stretch of russell brook road between the mud pond trail and the trout pond trail (to make a loop, starting from the trout pond trail end). i've never come from cooks falls. is this lower stretch of the old russell brook road passable (on foot, of course). also, is there available parking at that cooks falls end of the road? thanks!! (this is in the western catskills)
BrianSnat's picture

I don't believe it is. I know some people who were camping there a few weeks ago and they had to approach the area from the north.
BrianSnat's picture

OOps, I missed the "on foot" part. I'm sure it is. I was there after the road washed away and there was nothing that would keep someone from walking it. Driving is a whole 'nother matter.

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