From the parking area, cross the road and bear left onto the White Bar Trail, blazed with white horizontal rectangles. The trail parallels the road for about 500 feet, then turns right, crosses a stream on a metal culvert, and continues on a woods road. A short distance beyond, it bears right at a fork (the road that goes off to the left will be your return route), crosses a stream on rocks,...
From the parking area, cross the road and bear left onto the White Bar Trail, blazed with white horizontal rectangles. The trail parallels the road for about 500 feet, then turns right, crosses a stream on a metal culvert, and continues on a woods road. A short distance beyond, it bears right at a fork (the road that goes off to the left will be your return route), crosses a stream on rocks, and continues along a grassy woods road.
In another quarter of a mile, you’ll reach a junction with the Nurian Trail. Both trails are blazed white, but the rectangular blazes of the Nurian Trail are vertical, rather than horizontal. Turn right and follow the Nurian Trail, which descends to cross a stream on rocks. After briefly paralleling the stream, the trail bears left and ascends rather steeply. Several steep pitches alternate with more moderate sections. As the trail approaches the ridge of Black Rock Mountain, it bears left below a huge boulder, then climbs through a narrow cleft in the rock to reach an expansive west-facing viewpoint from open rock ledges.
Just beyond, the Nurian Trail ends at a junction with the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail. Continue ahead (north) and follow the red-and-white-blazes along the ridge of Black Rock Mountain, marked by bare rock ledges. After passing another west-facing viewpoint, the trail descends into a hollow, then climbs to regain the ridge.
Soon after coming out again along the ridge, you’ll reach a large flat area of bare rock ledges, known as Bald Rocks. To the left of the trail is a rock outcrop that marks the highest spot in Harriman State Park (elevation 1,382 feet). The trail itself (marked by paint blazes on the rocks) bears right and continues northeast along the main ridge, but it is worthwhile to take a short detour to the high point, which offers panoramic views to the west and north.
After reentering the woods, you’ll notice the Bald Rocks Shelter to the right. This shelter – built out of huge granite slabs – was constructed in 1933, and it’s worth a visit even if you don’t intend to stay there overnight.
A short distance beyond, at the base of a short descent, the R-D Trail reaches a junction with the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. Turn right onto the Dunning Trail, which follows the route of an old mining road, known as the Crooked Road. After crossing a stream, it traverses a level area of bare rock dotted with boulders, known as the Bowling Rocks.
About a mile from the junction with the R-D Trail, the Dunning Trail curves to the north and passes a wetland on the right. Just beyond, you’ll pass remnants of the Hogencamp Mine, which operated from 1870 to 1885. On the left side of the trail, you’ll notice a water-filled mine shaft, about 25 feet in diameter, with a seven-inch cast-iron pipe (once used to dewater the mine) jutting out of the water. Use extreme caution when approaching this shaft! On the opposite side of the trail, iron rods may be seen protruding from a crumbling concrete base (now covered with grass). A short distance ahead, there is a stone platform to the right. It was built out of tailings – the technical term for the pieces of rock discarded during the mining process. Piles of tailings may be found throughout this mining site.
After crossing a stream, you’ll notice old stone foundations on both sides of the trail. These are the remains of a village that once housed the miners. Just beyond, the aqua-blazed Long Path joins from the left and then leaves to the right. Continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. In another half a mile, you’ll pass the interesting Pine Swamp on the right. To the left, you’ll notice a huge pile of tailings – a remnant of the Pine Swamp Mine, opened in 1830 and worked intermittently until about 1880. A long, narrow mine opening (partially obscured by fallen trees) may be seen to the left of the trail a short distance ahead.
About 500 feet beyond this mine opening, you’ll reach the triple yellow blaze that marks the end of the Dunning Trail. Turn left and follow the red-triangle-on-white Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail, which climbs gradually on another old mining road. In half a mile, you’ll reach a trail junction known as “Times Square” (the name is painted on a boulder to the right.) Continue ahead, now following both the A-SB Trail and the aqua-blazed Long Path. When the red-on-white and aqua blazes leave to the left, continue ahead on the grassy woods road you have been following, known as the Surebridge Mine Road. The next section of the road can be flooded at times, and you may end up getting your feet a little wet. The road continues through mountain laurel and rhododendron, with the attractive Surebridge Swamp to the left.
Near the end of the swamp, you’ll notice another mine pit to the right of the trail. This is a remnant of the Surebridge Mine, active during the Civil War period. As the trail descends, you’ll reach a junction (marked by a cairn) with the Bottle Cap Trail. Turn left and follow this unofficial trail, marked with bottle caps nailed to trees. While some of the bottle caps are yellow or white, most are dark colored, and they are much smaller (and much more difficult to see) than the standard trail blazes. The trail can be followed with care, but you will sometimes have to look very carefully to find the next bottle cap.
Follow the Bottle Cap Trail as it crosses a stream and climbs to the ridge of Surebridge Mountain. The trail heads southwest along the ridge, then bears right and descends through a hemlock grove to end at a junction with the A-SB Trail/Long Path. Continue ahead, following the aqua and red-triangle-on-white blazes, for only about 300 feet. Just after crossing a seasonally wet area, look carefully for three horizontal white “WB” blazes on the left. Turn left and follow the White Bar Trail southward.
In a quarter mile, the White Bar Trail joins a woods road, which it follows south through a pleasant valley. In another two-thirds of a mile, the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail joins from the left. When the Dunning Trail leaves to the right, follow the yellow blazes. The Dunning Trail goes down to a valley – passing a large cliff on the way – then climbs to a ridge, from where it descends to the base of the Boston Mine. This mine -- a large open cut into the hillside, partially filled with water -- is reached by a short path to the right. It was last worked around 1880.
Continue ahead on the Dunning Trail, which soon turns left and begins to follow Island Pond Road, a woods road. When the yellow blazes turn off to the right a short distance ahead, continue ahead, following Island Pond Road, which leads back to a junction with the White Bar Trail just north of Route 106. Bear right onto the White Bar Trail and follow it back a short distance to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 06/19/2003 updated/verified on 11/08/2015
This loop hike climbs to viewpoints from the summit of Black Rock Mountain and passes the historic Hogencamp, Pine Swamp, Surebridge and Boston Mines.
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.