Claudius Smith Rock Loop from Tuxedo
Directions to trailhead
Follow N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway and take Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north, and continue for 4.9 miles, passing through the villages of Sloatsburg and Tuxedo. Just past the Tuxedo railroad station, turn right onto East Village Road, cross the tracks, and turn left into a commuter parking lot (free parking on weekends; $3.00 parking fee on weekdays).
Take NJ Transit/Metro-North's Port Jervis Line to the Tuxedo station. Proceed to the northern end of the station platform and follow the walkway north to East Village Road. Turn riight onto East Village Road and follow the description below.
From the parking area, turn left and walk east along East Village Road, which crosses the Ramapo River, then bears right, paralleling the New York State Thruway. After turning left and crossing under the Thruway, you'll reach a T-intersection, where you turn left onto Grove Drive.
In 800 feet, as the road curves to the left at a concrete catch-basin, the red-on-white blazes of the Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail (which you have been following along the road) turn right, into the woods. Here, a triple white blaze marks the start of the Kakiat Trail. Follow this white-blazed trail uphill to the right, along a woods road. The trail climbs to a shoulder of the hill, then bears right and levels off on another woods road, with cliffs on the left and views through the trees of the village of Tuxedo below to the right.
About half a mile from the paved road, the trail descends to cross a stream. After climbing over rock outcrops and passing a wetland on the left, it joins another woods road that curves around the foot of Dater Mountain, passing huge stone blocks that have fallen from the cliffs on the left. At a T-intersection, the Orange Trail begins on the right, but you should bear left, continuing along the Kakiat Trail.
In a quarter mile, you'll reach another T-intersection, where the Blue Disc Trail (blue dot on white) comes in from the right. Turn left onto this trail, which follows an old woods road, soon beginning a steep climb. About halfway up, it turns right, crosses a stream, and climbs even more steeply over rocks to the top of Almost Perpendicular -- a panoramic viewpoint from a cliff. Seven Lakes Drive is directly below, with the Ramapo Mountains in the background.
Follow the Blue Disc Trail north along the ridge. After a slight descent, the trail climbs steeply up Pound Mountain and continues along the summit ridge. It crosses a gas pipeline and descends parallel to the pipeline.
At the base of the descent, the trail crosses a woods road and begins to follow along foot of a rock ledge. After passing through a narrow crevice, the trail goes under a large overhanging rock. It parallels a stream on the left, passes by another overhanging rock, and goes through a narrow passage in a "rock cave."
After passing a wetland on the left, the Blue Disc Trail climbs to intersect the red-dash-on-white-blazed Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail. Continue to follow the blue-on-white blazes to the top of Claudius Smith Rock, a dramatic cliff with a west-facing view.
The Blue Disc Trail now descends over slabs of bare rock and passes to the right of some young birch trees. Next, it climbs Big Pine Hill, with a panoramic view, and descends over sloping rocks (use care if the rocks are wet or covered with ice). Near the base of the descent, it turns sharply left. Soon, it bears right and crosses a natural rock dam to end at Tri-Trail Corner, where it meets the R-D and Victory Trails.
Turn left and follow the red-on-white-blazed R-D Trail, which crosses the brook on rocks, bears right and heads downhill on a woods road. Soon, it turns left and begins to climb. Near the top, it joins a woods road and begins to descend, passing mine pits on either side of the trail.
After recrossing the gas pipeline, the R-D Trail turns left and climbs to a viewpoint over the village of Tuxedo. It then descends, steeply in places. After passing a junction with the Triangle Trail (blazed with yellow triangles), the R-D Trail descends on stone steps (constructed by an AmeriCorps trail crew of the Trail Conference in the summer of 2020) to Grove Drive. Turn left onto Grove Drive, then right onto East Village Road, and follow it back to the parking lot where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.