From the parking area, proceed east across the meadow, following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (the white blazes are on posts). At the end of the meadow, the trail curves to the right. In another 100 feet, the Appalachian Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue ahead, now following the inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail.
You are heading south along the Arden Road, built by Edward Harriman in the 1890s. In places, the old road has narrowed to a footpath. You will notice remnants of an old wire fence on the right. This fence was built to enclose an area once inhabited by elk brought from Yellowstone National Park in 1919. The elk did not thrive, and the small remnant of the herd was relocated in 1942. The area formerly enclosed by the fence, though, is still known as the Elk Pen.
In a third of a mile, the A-SB Trail turns left, leaving the road, but you should continue ahead along the road, now following the Stahahe Brook Trail, marked with red-horizontal-stripe-on-white blazes. In another third of a mile, you’ll reach Stahahe Brook, with attractive cascades on the left. The road formerly crossed the brook on a stone-arch bridge, but the bridge was washed away during Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Follow the Stahahe Brook Trail as it turns left and begins to climb on a footpath parallel to the brook, visible below to the right. In about 0.4 mile, after a brief descent, the Stahahe Brook Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Nurian Trail.
Turn left onto the Nurian Trail, which climbs on switchbacks, passing through an area where many trees were felled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. From the crest of the rise, the trail descends to cross the outlet stream of Island Pond, with a cascading waterfall to the left. It then turns left and begins to parallel the stream, passing more cascades and waterfalls, as well as an interesting grassy meadow. At the top of the ravine, it goes through the Valley of Boulders – a narrow passage between large rocks.
The Nurian Trail now turns right and runs along a long, sloping rock, then continues along the crest of the rock, with limited west-facing views. A short distance beyond the end of the rock, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail.
Turn right, leaving the Nurian Trail, and follow the yellow blazes.The Dunning Trail soon reaches a rock ledge overlooking Green Pond. This pristine pond – one of the very few in the park that was not enlarged by the construction of dams – is surrounded by reeds. You’ll want to take a break here to enjoy the wild beauty of this special spot.
The trail continues along the shore of Green Pond, following a rugged, rocky route. At one point, the trail passes beneath an overhanging rock. The white-blazed Nurian Trail runs very close to the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail in this area, so be careful to follow only the yellow blazes and not the white blazes. After moving away from the pond, the Dunning Trail crosses the white-blazed Nurian Trail, then turns left onto the Island Pond Road, a woods road. Soon, the yellow-blazed trail turns right, leaving the road, and - in about 150 feet - reaches the entrance to the Boston Mine. This mine, which was last worked in 1880, is cut into the hillside, with a water-filled pit at the northern end. The mine entrance is usually quite wet, and caution should be exercised (do not approach the water-filled pit).
After taking a look at this interesting mine, go back to Island Pond Road and turn right. There are no blazes to guide you along this stretch of the road, but the route is clear and unmistakable. The road gradually descends through hemlocks and mountain laurel. After about a third of a mile, the A-SB Trail (red triangle on white blazes) joins from the right. You’ll be following this trail for the nearly the rest of the hike.
Just beyond, you’ll reach a fork. Follow the red-triangle-on-white blazes, which bear left and soon cross the outlet stream of Island Pond. This area is often wet, and it can be flooded after heavy rains. Watch carefully for a turn, where the blazed trail turns left, leaving the road, and continues on a footpath. The trail climbs over a rise, goes around the southern end of Green Pond Mountain, and comes out in an area where young hemlocks and pines are beginning to revegetate an area damaged by a forest fire. Just before the trail begins a steeper descent, an unmarked side trail on the right leads to a limited west-facing viewpoint from open rocks.
The A-SB Trail now turns right and begins to run along a ledge, with a fairly steep drop to the left. After passing by an overhanging rock, it turns sharply left and begins a rather steep descent on switchbacks. At the base of the steep descent, it bears left, crosses a stream, then turns right and levels off. Soon, it again begins to descend, but on a more moderate grade.
After crossing another stream, you’ll reach Arden Road. Turn right and follow the road, now retracing your steps. Where the A-SB Trail ends, turn left and follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail across the meadow to return to the Elk Pen parking area, where the hike began.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 12/17/2004updated/verified on 07/03/2015
This loop hike goes through the interesting Valley of Boulders, passes pristine Green Pond, and reaches the historic Boston Mine.
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.
Follow N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway and take the first exit, Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north. Continue on Route 17 through the villages of Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and Southfields. About two miles north of Southfields, turn right onto Arden Valley Road. Cross the bridge over the New York State Thruway, then make the first right and park in the paved parking area to the west of a large meadow, known as the Elk Pen.
TRAIN TRANSPORT :
BUS TRANSPORT :
Take Shortline bus from Port Authority. Buy tickets to Southfield, but ask the bus driver to let you off at Arden Valley Road in Arden next to a "Welcome to Harriman State Park" sign (a couple of miles north of Southfields). Return bus stops across the street - wave the driver down. After you get off the bus, make a right onto Arden Valley Rd., walk across the bridge over the NY State Thruway,then make the first right Continue through a paved parking area to the west of a large meadow, known as the Elk Pen
I did this hike on November 19. I took the bus from Port Authority, and the driver is used to letting people off at Arden Valley Road.
A lot of diversity in this hike: interesting rock formations, beautifully untouched Green Pond, the entrance of the Boston Mine, as well as some views (even if this is not the best hike for views).
I did it in 2.5 hours, taking only a few short breaks.
I wouldn't recommend doing this hike on a very windy day: there are a few dead trees next to the trail climbing up to the Valley of Boulders, and there were a lot of branches falling.
There were a lot of cars parked at Elk Penn, but I didn't see many people on the hike.
I had to wait for the bus back to the city for about 1.5 hours, so I climbed a bit on the AT on the other side of the road, it had some nice views as well.
Marie from France
October 21, 2015
You should have followed the yellow blazes
I was at Green Pond this morning and checked out the route of the hike. I think I know where you went wrong. You should have continued to follow the yellow blazes of the Dunning Trail all the way to Island Pond Road. Instead, it seems that you turned off onto the white-blazed Nurian Trail. The trails run very close to each other, so it is easy to switch from one to the other if you are not paying close attention. The trick is to follow the yellow blazes, not the white ones. I have edited the hike description to make this clearer.
October 18, 2015
My dad and I did this hike
My dad and I did this hike today. We really liked it However, we got very confused after the part after Green Pond. We walked down next to the pond (which was so serene!) and passed the overhang rock; however, we ended up back where we started. The trail merged brieflty with Nurian but then we ended up back where we started (Nurian trail and Dunning Trail meet). We couldnt find the way to the mine (or anything called Island Pond Rd) and there were no other markings except to go loop back around the pond (and come out where we were) or go back the way we came. We opted to go back the way we came as there really was no other option the way we saw it :( We really wanted to see the mine, but oh well next time. If someone can tell us where we went wrong, we would appreciate it. Overall, lovely hike (at least the part we did).