From the kiosk just beyond the parking area, proceed ahead on the red-blazed Duggan Trail. In about half a mile, the red trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Reservoir Trail. Continue ahead on the blue trail, which crosses Ben's Bridge (a wooden footbridge) and climbs along a picturesque stream, with cascades and waterfalls, following an old woods road....
From the kiosk just beyond the parking area, proceed ahead on the red-blazed Duggan Trail. In about half a mile, the red trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Reservoir Trail. Continue ahead on the blue trail, which crosses Ben's Bridge (a wooden footbridge) and climbs along a picturesque stream, with cascades and waterfalls, following an old woods road.
In about 0.4 mile, you’ll notice a pipeline crossing the stream on stone abutments. Then, in another 500 feet, a sign marks the start of the Honey Hill Trail. Turn right and follow this white-blazed trail, which continues to climb steadily. In a third of a mile, you’ll reach the crest of the rise, marked by a radio antenna on the right. The trail now begins to descend. A short distance ahead, a directional sign marks a broad viewpoint from a rock ledge to the right of the trail. Just ahead is Black Rock (which you will soon climb), and the Shawangunk Mountains are visible on the horizon to the northwest.
The Honey Hill Trail continues to descend. After a short switchback, it turns left onto a level footpath – the route of the pipeline that crossed the stream earlier in the hike. You’ll notice that rock walls have been provided to support sections of the pipeline.
The white-blazed Honey Hill Trail ends at a junction with the joint Stillman (yellow) and Highlands (teal diamond) Trails at the base of the Aleck Meadow Reservoir dam. Turn right onto the Stillman/Highlands Trail, which follows a woods road below the dam and, at the end of the reservoir, enters the woods on a footpath. Bear left at a junction with the white-blazed Black Rock Hollow Trail, then (in 300 feet) – with White Oak Road visible on the left - turn sharply right and climb to the summit of Black Rock Mountain (elevation 1,410 feet).
The summit affords a panoramic view, with Schunemunk Mountain and the Metro-North Railroad's Moodna Viaduct to the west, the Hudson River (crossed by the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge) to the northeast, and the Shawangunk Mountains on the northwest horizon. You'll want to take a break to rest from the climb and savor the view.
When you're ready to continue, turn left and descend steeply, continuing to follow the yellow and teal diamond blazes (do not follow the faded blue-and-yellow "footprint" blazes that head north across the summit). The grade soon moderates and, in about half a mile, you'll reach a wide gravel road.
Turn right and follow this road, known as Hulse Road, downhill. The road briefly climbs a little but then resumes a steady descent, rather steeply in places. Continue along this pleasant road for over a mile until it ends at a junction with the white-blazed Black Rock Hollow Trail. Route 9W is ahead, just across Black Rock Brook, so (unfortunately) you will hear the noise of traffic.
Turn right and follow the white-blazed trail along another gravel road, with Black Rock Brook to the left. You'll pass an old stone dam on the brook and some attractive cascades. Gradually, the road moves away from the brook and the trail, and the noise level decreases.
In half a mile, you'll reach a water filtration plant. Here, the Black Rock Hollow Trail turns right and starts to climb more steeply, but you should bear left, skirting the filtration plant, and continue on the blue-blazed Reservoir Trail.
A short distance ahead, you'll come to a junction where the Reservoir Trail turns right to cross Ben's Bridge. Do not cross the bridge or follow an unmarked trail on the left. Rather, turn very sharply left onto the red-blazed Duggan Trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began..Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 09/24/2009 updated/verified on 07/10/2015
This loop hike follows footpaths to the summit of Black Rock, with panoramic views, and returns on attractive woods roads.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.