From the northern end of the parking area, head into the woods on a blue-blazed trail, which climbs gradually to the right of a ravine. Pay careful attention to the blazes, as there are a number of side trails in this area. After turning sharply and ascending on a switchback, you’ll reach the remnants of two stone pillars to the left of the trail, with scenic Buttermilk Falls cascading down...
From the northern end of the parking area, head into the woods on a blue-blazed trail, which climbs gradually to the right of a ravine. Pay careful attention to the blazes, as there are a number of side trails in this area. After turning sharply and ascending on a switchback, you’ll reach the remnants of two stone pillars to the left of the trail, with scenic Buttermilk Falls cascading down the mountain.
The trail now bears right and continues to climb. After a brief descent, you’ll reach a limited west-facing viewpoint, with a field visible below. Continue ahead uphill on the blue trail, and you’ll soon come to a broader viewpoint. You may hear and see a train along the West Shore railroad tracks running parallel to the hills in the background.
After a little more climbing, you’ll reach a T-junction with a woods road. Turn right and continue along the blue-blazed trail for about 150 feet to a third viewpoint, with the broadest view. You can see all the way west to Ramapo Mountains and, on a clear day, the skyscrapers of Newark are visible on the horizon to the south.
Retrace your steps to the junction and continue ahead on an orange-blazed trail, which begins here. The trail soon bears left at a fork and descends on a footpath to cross a stream on rocks. It then climbs slightly to cross paved Schuyler Road. On the other side of the road, the orange-blazed trail crosses a lawn and reenters the woods. Almost immediately, it turns sharply left and descends steeply. It then bears right and joins a wide wood-chip path, paralleling a large storm water retention area behind a fence on the left.
In 150 feet, the orange-blazed trail bears right and ends at a junction with a white-blazed trail. Turn left onto the white-blazed trail, which parallels the east side of the storm water retention area. It crosses a wet area and a stream on rocks and begins a steady climb. To the right, you’ll pass a line of trees felled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. After reaching the end of the retention area, the trail reenters the woods and continues to climb. Just beyond a short level stretch, the white-blazed trail ends at a junction with the aqua-blazed Long Path. Turn right onto the Long Path and continue to climb, passing through a gap in an old stone wall near the crest of the rise.
After another level section, the Long Path descends to cross paved Bradley Hill Road diagonally to the right. It reenters the woods, climbing gradually. As the trail approaches the crest of the rise, there are views through the trees to the left over the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The Long Path descends to cross a macadam road, climbs again, then descends. After climbing railroad tie steps, you’ll notice a triple-red blaze on the right. You’ll be continuing on this red-blazed trail, but first proceed ahead on the Long Path for another 150 feet to an expansive south-facing viewpoint from a graffiti-scarred rock, with the New York City skyline visible in the distance.
After taking in the view, retrace your steps and bear left onto the red-blazed trail, which crosses Tweed Boulevard, climbs slightly, then begins a steady, gradual descent, with some views through the trees to the left. In half a mile, you’ll notice a white-blazed trail that begins on the left, but you should continue ahead on the red-blazed trail.
About 100 feet after crossing Bradley Hill Road, the red-blazed trail ends at a junction with another white-blazed trail. Turn left onto the white-blazed trail, which climbs for a short distance, then begins to descend. Soon, it crosses Schuyler Road, crosses a stream on a wooden footbridge, and continues to descend on a woods road. At a T-intersection, the trail bears left onto a wider gravel road and descends more steeply. Along the way, a blue-blazed trail begins on the right, but you should continue ahead on the white-blazed road.
As the road bears left near the base of the descent, watch carefully for a turn where the white blazes turn right, leaving the road. Continue to follow the white-blazed trail, which descends stone steps, crosses a boardwalk, and soon ends at the parking area where the hike began.nd soon ends at the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 08/13/2009 updated/verified on 04/23/2014
This loop hike passes scenic Buttermilk Falls and climbs to several panoramic viewpoints.
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.