To the left of the parking area, you'll notice a triple-orange blaze on a tree. This marks the start of a trail system established in August 2005 on land acquired by Rockland County and added to Dater Mountain Nature Park. Follow the orange-blazed trail as it climbs along a woods road. Be alert for a right turn where the trail leaves the...
To the left of the parking area, you'll notice a triple-orange blaze on a tree. This marks the start of a trail system established in August 2005 on land acquired by Rockland County and added to Dater Mountain Nature Park. Follow the orange-blazed trail as it climbs along a woods road. Be alert for a right turn where the trail leaves the road and continues rather steeply uphill on a footpath.
As you near the crest of the hill, where the orange trail turns sharply right, you'll notice a triple-blue blaze to the left. Turn left onto the blue-blazed trail, which heads southwest along the ridge, with views through the trees over the hills of Harriman State Park. After crossing a woods road, the trail begins to climb. Just beyond, a rock outcrop to the left offers a south-facing view over the Mirror Lake area of Sloatsburg, with the New York State Thruway to the right.
After climbing some more, the trail descends and joins a woods road. Just beyond, turn left onto a side road which leads a short distance to a large glacial erratic and a panoramic west-facing viewpoint at a power line tower. The Thruway is directly below, the Village of Sloatsburg is just beyond, and the hills of Sterling Forest are in the distance. This is a good spot to take a break.
When you're ready to continue, return to the blue trail and turn left.
For the next half mile, the trail follows a pleasant woods road along the crest of the ridge. Several other woods roads intersect, so take care to follow the blue blazes, some of which are painted on rocks. (You'll also notice some old white blazes along the road.) When the blue trail ends, turn left, rejoining the orange trail, which continues to follow the woods road.
After crossing an open area where the trail traverses a slab of bedrock (note some interesting stone cairns to the right), the orange trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail. Turn right onto the Kakiat Trail, which soon enters Harriman State Park. In about a quarter of a mile, the Blue Disc Trail (blue on white) joins briefly. When the trails diverge, bear left, continuing to follow the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.
The Kakiat Trail crosses the route of a gas pipeline and descends through a hemlock grove to cross Spring Brook (and several tributary streams) on rocks. It then climbs to reach the old Johnsontown Road -- the route of the White Bar Trail. (Note that both trails are blazed white; the letters "KT" and "WB" are used to distinguish each trail at the intersection.) Follow the Kakiat Trail as it turns left onto this woods road for about 250 feet, then turns right and follows an old driveway to Seven Lakes Drive. The trail crosses Seven Lakes Drive (watch carefully for traffic on this busy road) and follows a woods road uphill.
Descending from the top of the hill, the trail passes several stone walls and a stone foundation to the right. These are the remains of a farm that once belonged to Fred Bentley, who was the head gardener at Tuxedo Park in the early 1900s. After a level stretch, the trail descends rather steeply to cross Stony Brook on a wooden footbridge. NOTE: This footbridge was washed away by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and has not been replaced. It is difficult and not advisable to cross Stony Brook in the absence of the bridge.
On the opposite side of the bridge, turn right, leaving the Kakiat Trail, and continue along the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. This trail, which closely parallels the cascading brook, is particularly scenic. After crossing a gas pipeline right-of-way and then Quartz Brook, the Stony Brook Trail ends at a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. Proceed straight ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail, which continues to parallel Stony Brook.
In another third of a mile, you'll pass the start of the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail to the left and reach a parking area at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center. Cross the parking area and continue along the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail (marked by a post at the southwest side of the parking area). The trail continues through an open field and then climbs into the woods.
Soon, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail begins to the left, but you should continue to follow the Pine Meadow Trail parallel to Seven Lakes Drive, which can be heard below to the right. The trail climbs a rocky slope and proceeds through dense thickets of mountain laurel. It briefly joins a woods road, then descends to Stony Brook.
Follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it turns left, once again closely paralleling the brook. After a while, it bears left, away from the brook, passes through an old cherry orchard, and ends at Seven Lakes Drive, just west of the road bridge over the brook. Turn right, cross the bridge, then turn left at the sign for Johnsontown Road. Turn right at the T-intersection and follow Johnsontown Road northeast for 0.3 mile to the parking turnout where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 11/18/2005
This loop hike climbs to several viewpoints in Dater Mountain Nature Park, passes the remains of an old farm, and runs along cascading Stony Brook.
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.