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.


Georgette Weir's picture

Thanks for your close reading. Clarification and correction of the numbers provided to Daniel Chazin for his hike write-up is, indeed required. In the planning stages of the project, a consultant hired by PIPC reported the park has 3+million visitors annually, and 500,000 of them make it, by foot, bike, motorbike, or car, to the summit. There, they encounter the AT. Thousands more walk on pieces of it elsewhere on the mountain as links to other trails. "Millions of feet annually," (500,000 x 2 + an inexact pluralizing 's') is an overstatement. The new trail at Bear Mountain was designed to accommodate a minimum of 100,000 walkers a year.
Estelle's picture

A continued caution to hikers at Split Rock Reservoir.  Do not park along Split Rock Rd - tickets are being issued.  The only parking is in the fishing access parking lot  on the East side of the dam.  We hope to resolve this issue, but for now, no parking along Split Rock Rd.
Estelle's picture

The reroute of the BW/C and Highlands Trail has been completed.  All the HT blazing is done, some of the BW/C yellow blazes will be completed shortly.  The HT crosses Clinton Rd, Pequannock Watershed at P4 and now continues straight up the hill. It turns left and co-aligns along the newly created Bearfort Waters/Clinton (yellow) trail.  Since it's new, take care to follow the blazes.  There is no longer a loop hike possible since the trail across the beaver dam is closed. The beavers have made this crossing nearly impossible!  It's possible to hike from P4 to parking area P9 using a car shuttle.  This is a beautiful hike along ridges, with, at one point, a view of Buckabear Pond and Clinton Reservoir. After the beaver dam, the rest of the hike is along the reservoir.   Check the Highlands Trail webpages for further detail. 

Happy hiking!

ljstephan's picture

Very nice new trail, I took a hike along it today. Also on the trail with me were a rattlesnake and a couple of bears. They seemed to like it too!
Bob's picture

Thanks for the compliment , this trail represents many hours of volunteer labor. This year seems to be hosting a bumper crop of Rattlesnakes and we caution hikers to be on sharp lookout for where they plant their feet and hands. They are not aggresive unless you happen to step on them. Their favorite hangout is rock out crops with a Southern exposure, but we've also encountered them in untypical habitat. Please keep in mind that Timber Rattlesnakes are an Endangered species and are protected by New Jersey Laws. They serve an important niche in the forest ecology so please don't harm or disturb them. Thanks, Ynoke
PVPatrick's picture

The semipaved "old perkins road" which connects the AT at its first road crossing on the east side of Bear Mt and the AT again across Perkins Drive on the west side of the Mt is closed as the trail relocation begins the next phase.
thex's picture

What is the next phase?
thex's picture

Does anyone else disagree with the new Appalachian trail at Bear Mountain? I think its rediculous in many ways. First, this easy stair case is going to make it easier for people to get to parts of the trail/forest that they would never have even tried to get to, because it would be to difficult, so they would stay at the bottom, by the inn. But now, its just been made easier for people to get up there, litter, get loud have screaming kids etc. It used to be kinda peaceful, tranquil and clean up there, but I guess those days are now over. Also, what about all the wildlife that was displaced by this staircase? Everything from tiny ants to deer and bear have either been displaced, killed, scared off or something. In other words, this did nothing for the wildlife of Bear Mountain. Kind of makes NYNJTC and their supporters look and act like the Marines and corporations in Avatar. They had a goal and just did it, with only thinking of themselves and the money they are hoping will come in with new NYNJTC members and donations. I know thats the main goal. And yes, I have read enough and talked to enough people these past few years about how desperate the TC is for money. Seams that the TC and trail maintainers are forgeting what the forest is all about. BEING WILD AND CHALLENGING! Almost every time I'm on a trail in Bear Mountain or Harriman SP, there is some kind of stairs, bridges, steps, chainsaw cut blow downs and other man made things to let me know that this area is not wild and free. Its being made for the weak and the filthy. Yea, I always leave with a backpack full of others garbage. Maybe if people wouldn't mind walking over/around a blown down tree, we wouldn't have to walk through garbage as much. The TC seams to always be fighting for open space, to do with what THEY want, not for whats good for the forest/wildlife. They just took millions of dollars away from the EPF. And this is in the NYNJTC own words: "The bad news is that in exchange, the Environmental Protection Fund, which pays for land, water, and air protection measures across the state, will be reduced to $134 million from the $222 million it was at in 2009/10. This disproportionately large cut of almost 40% comes on top of the nearly $500 million that has been swept from the EPF in recent years, and which has created a significant backlog of unfunded projects, straining organizations, municipalities and others partnering with the state on environmental programs." So yea, the TC has a bunch of non self thinking droids to go and speak out for what the TC wants. So go ahead, try to justify this raping of the park and open spaces to boot. I won't be supporting them, and trust me, I'm not the only one who wants to keep the parks/forest wild and staircase free.
thegup's picture

The staircase is aesthetically pleasing and Bear Mountain is more a tourist destination than a serious hikers place anyway and has been for many years. I avoid it like the plague as I do Taurus and Breakneck simply because I got tired of watching people from NYC in flip flops on the path. There are hundreds of hikes in NYS that will provide you with the wild unspoiled and difficult experience you seek. You sound as though you should bushwack given your hatred of all man made trails. Try California Hill St Park just across the river if you want a pristine experience.
Paul_A's picture

If we take your idea to it's logical conclusion then the state should close all "public" land to people. After all every footstep we make compacts the ground and changes things for the wild life small and large. And if this is really a concern, and you think the T.C. is headed in the wrong direction, let me suggest you get involved in the TC leadership and help set a new, and proper, course. It's easy to sit behind a computer and complain, it's more admirable to work for what you think is right and correct. And yes, I think your 2 cents is worth just as much as anyone else's, 2 cents.
thex's picture

Unfortunately, your 2 cents isn't worth that much Paul_A. You are assuming. I'm sure U know what happens when you do that., but leave ME out of it. I never mentioned once to "close all "public" land to people". Where did you get that? Re-read and take it for what it is and not what you want it to be (now thats admirable!). I'm stating that nature should take its course in these areas. And footsteps don't impact the land nearly as much as the staircase does (even with the millions of people or whatever the TC claims uses it), but it makes it worse, because people will be walking around the staircase. You'll see very soon. When is the concession stands and ferris wheels going up along the AT or somewhere else in Bear Mountain/Harriman? It would be a great money maker for the TC. Then, they can start building staircases all over the park. at every incline. And at this point, garbage cans should be put along the trail every 20 feet or so, but I doubt they would be used. We should all stop wondering why people around here are fat, spoiled, weak and lazy. My point is, leave the trails be and hike them! If you can't climb, then don't. Either find a simpler trail or just stay in the picnic area and eat some more. BTW, the TC is going to do what the TC wants to do to help their business grow. I've tried before.
Georgette Weir's picture

The rebuilt A.T. on the east face of Bear Mountain is intended to:
1. stop and prevent erosion on the mountain caused by hundreds of thousands of hikers who already scramble up it each year
2. encourage people to stay on the trail rather than create a maze of damaging herd paths
3. eliminate the recurring need for relocations (this is the 6th or 7th since the trail's original construction) owing to the high volume of traffic
4. provide a positive trail experience for the novice hikers who frequent this trail section
5. provide opportunities to educate the public about proper trail etiquette (this will be a special focus for the next phase of the Bear Mountain Trails Project)

The mission of the Trail Conference is to promote people's connection with nature, not keep people from enjoying their public parks. Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks are not wilderness areas, which can be found elsewhere in the state.

PVPatrick's picture

hiker4414's picture

Anyone who does the math can tell you there are not hundreds of thousands of hikers who "scramble up" Bear Mtn each year. Are you counting those who drive to the top? Even with them, it would be very hard to reach your numbers. NYNJTC does a fine job organizing the maintenance of 1,700 miles of trails and probably spends far less than $1,000,000 of the TC budget on trail maintenance. To spend $2,000,000? on a mile or two of trail? To devote 30,000 hours of volunteer service and tie up TC supervision and resources for a mile or two of trail? Imagine if all that effort and a small part of those dollars went into the other 1,698 miles of trails ... the trails reachable without paying an $8.00 parking fee. Then you would be doing something for the hiking public. Ninety percent of your membership doesn't climb mountains to see all the motorcycles and hear blasting radios. I have to agree with those who say the TC is in the AT relo for (perceived benefit from attracting new members) for the money. I do hope the yahoo with the can of spray paint won't come along and sour the volunteer spirit.
Michael K7's picture

"Ninety percent of your membership doesn't climb mountains to see all the motorcycles and hear blasting radios."

What's next, a staircase up Breakneck Ridge for those who can't make the climb?
NLSL_Conquerer's picture

I know, I was hiking along those steps, then the next day I was hiking storm king, and I saw breakneck and sugarloaf, schunemunk, etc. I was like, what next, staircases up those too? No need to drive to a view, just hike an extra few
thex's picture

Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park are not wilderness areas? Tell that to the bears, deer, snakes, coyote, fox, rats, insects, etc that call these parks home. Tell it to the people camping under the stars. Tell it to yourself when you want to get away into the forest and have it feel natural. 1. Let nature take its course. How bad could the erosion be? Its a very rocky area. 2. Encourages people to easily go places to make noise and litter where they didn't have the stamina to go before. 3. Why would that section NEED to be relocated? Maybe another thing that works for NYNJTC? 4. There are many other trails that "novice" hikers can go to within the two parks. Besides, you didn't need to be a "pro" to climb the old AT section. You just need to have a little stamina and not be lazy. 5. Why not educate people about the wildlife there and their needs? Teaching trail etiquette? How? Put up a sign? Have a little class that only senior citizens can/will go to? Get people to understand the wildlife in their WILDERNESS area and then maybe they will respect the wildlifes home, in turn, getting your proper "trail etiquette". Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park are NOT amusement parks, like you are trying to make them. Think about it Georgette Weir.
hiker4414's picture

"the Bear Mountain section of the trail, used by a half-million people a year" That adds up to 1,370 people using the AT at Bear Mtn each and every day of the year. Rain, snow, whatever. On many off season weekdays you would be lucky to find 30 cars in the parking lot and I'd guess half the visitors don't hike at all. The true number of Bear Mtn AT Trail users in a year is?
Zap's picture

Hey, my name is Tim, I'm from Rochester, NY. I leave in two weeks to attempt a north to south thru hike of the Long Path. Planning on spending about 4 weeks on the trail, a few days off in NYC to rest, and heading up to VT for a north bound hike of the Long Trail. Any support you can offer about blow downs, trail closings, cheap eats, short side trips, or a place to rest in the no camping areas would be truely appreciated. Wish me luck! Tim [email protected]

Know the New Hiking How-tos