From the parking area, proceed east for about 200 feet along the south side of Greenwood Lake Turnpike. Just after crossing the highway bridge over Hewitt Brook, you will see the trailhead of the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail, marked by a triple blaze on a tree. There is also a double (turn) teal diamond blaze for the Highlands Trail. Follow the joint Hewitt-Butler/Highlands Trail, which...
From the parking area, proceed east for about 200 feet along the south side of Greenwood Lake Turnpike. Just after crossing the highway bridge over Hewitt Brook, you will see the trailhead of the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail, marked by a triple blaze on a tree. There is also a double (turn) teal diamond blaze for the Highlands Trail. Follow the joint Hewitt-Butler/Highlands Trail, which heads south into the woods and climbs to the top of a hill. Just beyond the crest, the trail joins a woods road which comes in from the left, and the trail descends along the road. When the road bends sharply to the right, follow the blue and teal diamond blazes, which turn left, leaving the road, and continue to descend on a footpath.
After crossing a small stream on rocks, the trail climbs an embankment and reaches the abandoned railroad grade of the New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad. Built in 1876 primarily to serve the recreational destination of Greenwood Lake, this portion of the railroad was abandoned in 1935. The trail turns left and follows the railroad grade, dipping to cross a gas pipeline (when the pipeline was constructed, a section of the railroad embankment was removed). To the left, through the trees, you can see the Monksville Reservoir.
In 0.2 mile, follow the blue and teal diamond trail as it turns right, leaving the railroad grade, and re-enters the woods on a footpath. The trail climbs gradually, passing several interesting glacial erratics (large boulders transported by glaciers), then descends over rocks to cross a stream in a hollow. The trail then climbs steeply up a rock ledge, descends slightly into another hollow, and climbs once more to reach a trail junction, where the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail turns right. This will be your return route, but for now, turn left, following the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail, which continues to climb steadily, then descends briefly to another junction. Here, the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail rejoins from the right.
Follow both trails (blue and teal diamond) as they climb gradually, level off, then descend to cross power lines. Just beyond the power lines, the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail again turns off to the right. Continue ahead on the green-blazed Burnt Meadow Trail.
Soon, you'll reach a fork where woods road goes off to the right, but you should follow the green blazes to left, climbing to a rock outcrop, with views over the reservoir to the left when the leaves are down. After following along the ridge for a short distance, the trail bears right and briefly joins the woods road. It leaves the road only to rejoin it once more. The trail follows the road for the next half mile, passing on the way a green-on-black-blazed trail on the right that descends for 0.2 mile to Burnt Meadow Road, opposite Camp Shiloh.
After a level stretch, the trail begins a gradual climb. Near the top, the trail crosses a large rock outcrop. The southern end of the outcrop affords a spectacular view over the Monksville Reservoir. This is the only point from which you can see the entire horseshoe-shaped reservoir. You'll want to stop here to take a break and enjoy the view.
The trail now curves to the right and continues to climb to the summit of Horse Pond Mountain (elevation 945 feet), marked by a grassy area and an interesting balanced boulder. The views over the reservoir from the summit are partially obstructed by trees.
The trail bears left and descends from the summit, then climbs slightly to reach a rock outcrop. Here, the two trails diverge. Turn right and follow the green-blazed Burnt Meadow Trail, which descends very steeply over rocks. The grade soon moderates, and the trail turns left onto a woods road. It turns right, leaving the road, and descends on a footpath, then turns right onto another woods road.
Soon, the trail turns left, leaving the second woods road, and descends to cross a stream on rocks. After a short climb, it briefly turns left to parallel the stream, then turns right and heads west to reach Burnt Meadow Road. The trail turns right and follows the road for 200 feet, then turns left and reenters the woods, following a wide, eroded woods road.
After passing a rusted automobile to the right, the trail turns right onto a narrower woods road and begins a gradual descent. It crosses another woods road, bears left, and descends to cross Hewitt Brook on rocks. This crossing can be difficult if the water is high.
On the other side, the trail climbs away from the stream and bears right to follow the contour of the hill. Soon, the climb resumes, and the trail reaches a rock ledge with a limited view back towards Horse Pond Mountain. A short distance beyond, the Burnt Meadow Trail reaches a junction with the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail.
Turn right and follow the joint green/blue trail, which heads northeast along the shoulder of Long Hill. To the right, you'll pass a large glacial erratic formed of puddingstone - a type of rock not characteristic of this area. The trail now climbs over a slight rise and continues to follow along the side of the hill. Soon, it begins to descend.
After turning right and leveling off briefly, the trail goes through a dense mountain laurel grove, passes another large erratic to the left, continues through a grove of white pines, and resumes its descent. Near the base of the descent, it joins an eroded woods road, and it recrosses Hewitt Brook on rocks (this crossing, too, can be tricky during wet seasons).
The trail continues along a dirt road under power lines out to Burnt Meadow Road, which it crosses diagonally to the right. It reenters the woods and climbs to reach a junction with the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail. Turn left, cross under the power lines, and continue over a hill and down to a junction where the blue-blazed Hewitt-Butler Trail goes off to the left.
Turn left and follow the blue blazes, which gradually descend through a grove of white pines and soon rejoin the Highlands Trail at the trailhead for the Horse Pond Mountain Trail. Turn left again and follow the joint Hewitt-Butler/Highlands Trail, retracing your steps to the parking area on Greenwood Lake Turnpike where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 04/06/2007 updated/verified on 03/22/2010
This lollipop-loop hike climbs to the summit of Horse Pond Mountain, with panoramic views over the Monksville Reservoir.
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
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- 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.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- 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.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- 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.