ORAK Ruins, Jackie Jones Fire Tower and Big Hill Shelter

Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks

Hikers at the Big Hill Shelter - Photo by Daniel Chazin Hikers at the Big Hill Shelter - Photo by Daniel Chazin
41.229741, -74.060438

From the parking area, walk west along Route 106 for 300 feet, crossing over Minisceongo Creek. Turn left at the gated paved road and proceed uphill, following the yellow blazes of the Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail. You will be following the S-BM Trail for the next two miles – all the way to the Big Hill Shelter.

In a quarter of a mile, the S-BM Trail bears left onto a woods road...

Prepare For Your Hike

Let's Go

Trip Reports

rate experience
June 05, 2017
Did this hike with a 1 year
Did this hike with a 1 year old strapped to my back. We started at the Beaver Pond unmarked/unmaintained trail entrance which was a little difficult to find. It's on the outer loop of Campgrounds CDE and then starts a gentle climb up to the Irish Potato which is the intersection of the Yellow marked trail. Heading North takes you away from the Ruins/JJ mountain/Big Hill Shelter. Heading S is this path. While this path is probably easier than moderate, with a 1 year old on my back, there were some challenging ascents on rock paths. The ruins are a bit boring and would probably benefit from some kind of informational sign. The trail continues past Big Hill but it's a great place to turn around and head back to the campgrounds. Views are mostly obscured by trees. Note: There is a wood road, just before the Fire tower, that can be used to cut through some of the more difficult ascents on the way back to camp. Especially if you're carrying a child.
January 17, 2017
Fire tower is now closed to the public

Thanks for pointing out the deteriorated condition of the fire tower.  As you state, the tower is in a deteriorted condition, and the Park has removed the bottmm flight of steps to discourage people from climbing it.  The description has been modified accordingly.

Daniel Chazin
January 16, 2017
Good hike, but firetower is sketchy
I am not sure if conditions have changed since the last users have commented, but I did this hike and the fire tower has reached sketchy status. The entire bottom flight is missing stairs, so the railings are not attached and the right side is wobbly. Many other flights are missing one or two steps. The views from the top of the tower are great, but I am not sure if it is really worth rising your neck for it. The views from the shelter were nice, but I was too unlucky and the haze was too much. I could just barely make out NYC in the distance, but the camera could not pick it up. For a quick hike, you can do an out and back to the shelter, just following the yellow trails. Finished my hike in about 2 hours and 15 minutes using this method.
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