The 83-acre Mountainview Nature Park was acquired by Rockland County in 1979. It is kept in its natural state, with hiking trails (maintained by the county) the only amenity provided. The park is situated on the side of a mountain, and the hike – although relatively short – involves an elevation gain of over 400 feet and a traverse of a narrow, rocky footpath that runs along the hillside. For...
The 83-acre Mountainview Nature Park was acquired by Rockland County in 1979. It is kept in its natural state, with hiking trails (maintained by the county) the only amenity provided. The park is situated on the side of a mountain, and the hike – although relatively short – involves an elevation gain of over 400 feet and a traverse of a narrow, rocky footpath that runs along the hillside. For the most part, the trails are not well blazed, but they can be followed with care. Make sure you bring along a map.
From the parking area, follow the orange-blazed Mountain Trail, which soon crosses a wooden footbridge over a stream, curves to the left, then bears right and proceeds through a gap in a stone wall. (You’ll notice many rock walls along the trails in this park.) The trail parallels the New York Thruway for a short distance, then turns left, away from this busy highway. (Unfortunately, noise from the Thruway can be heard for most of the hike.)
After passing through a grassy area, you’ll reach a junction where the white-blazed Goat Path heads straight ahead. This will be your return route, but for now, turn left and continue to follow the orange-blazed trail, which begins to climb.
After a rather steep section of the climb, the trail follows an old stone wall near the edge of an escarpment along the park boundary. Just beyond, you may be able to see the Hudson River through the trees during leaf-off season. Soon, the trail bears right, and the grade moderates.
After looping around to the southeast, the trail levels off and then bears left. A short distance beyond, you’ll notice a triple-blue blaze on the left. Turn left and follow the blue-blazed Bear Swamp Trail, which loops around, passing a wetland on the left.
When you reach the end of the blue trail, turn right onto the orange-blazed Mountain Trail. Soon, you’ll reach the intersection at the other end of the blue trail. Continue ahead on the orange trail (now briefly retracing your route), but when the orange trail turns right, continue ahead on an unmarked trail (the park map shows this short trail segment as part of the white-blazed Goat Path, but as of this writing, it is not blazed).
A short distance ahead, you’ll come to an intersection where white blazes go in both directions. Turn left onto the Overlook Spur, which descends to a south-facing overlook, partially obscured by trees. The Ramapo Mountains are visible in the distance, with the Palisades Center Mall in the foreground below.
Return to the Goat Path and turn left. The trail now begins a steady descent, soon reaching a T-intersection, where you should turn left.
This rugged section of the trail you are about to traverse is aptly described by its name “Goat Path.” The trail descends on a narrow, rocky footpath that curves around the side of the hill. It climbs a little, but then levels off and continues along a rocky footpath that follows a narrow sidehill track. Extreme caution should be exercised if the trail is covered with snow or ice; some kind of traction aid (such as Stablicers or Microspikes) is highly recommended under these conditions.
When the trail approaches the park boundary, it curves sharply right at a switchback and resumes its descent. As the grade moderates, the trail joins a woods road and continues west through the woods. When you reach the terminus of the white-blazed Goat Path, continue ahead on the orange-blazed Mountain Trail, retracing your steps to the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 02/12/2009 updated/verified on 10/15/2015
This hike loops around this Rockland County park, traversing a variety of terrain and reaching a south-facing viewpoint.
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.