Red Cross, Beech Trail and Long Path Loop from Lake Skannatati
Directions to trailhead
Proceed north on N.J. Route 17 to the New York State Thruway (I-87) north and take the first exit, Exit 15A (Sloatsburg). Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 17 north, and continue through the Village of Sloatsburg. Just past the village, turn right at the traffic light, following the sign for Seven Lakes Drive/Harriman State Park. Follow Seven Lakes Drive for about 8 miles to the parking area for Lake Skannatati, on the left side of the road. The turnoff to the parking area is 0.7 mile beyond the Kanawauke Circle.
Although it begins with a rather steep climb, this hike, for the most part, follows relatively level trails through a section of Harriman State Park that hikers rarely visit.
At the northwest corner of the parking area, you will see three inverted-red-triangle-on-white blazes that mark the start of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail. Follow this trail as it begins a rather steep climb of Pine Swamp Mountain. After a very steep pitch near the top of the climb, the trail levels off.
Just ahead, to the right, you'll see a triple red-cross-on-white blaze. This marks the start of the Red Cross Trail, which is the next part of your route. However, first continue ahead on the A-SB Trail a short distance to a rock outcrop that overlooks Lakes Skannatati and Kanawauke.
After pausing to rest from the climb and enjoy the view, retrace your steps to the junction with the Red Cross Trail, then turn left onto that trail. The Red Cross Trail climbs a little to the summit of the mountain, then begins a steady descent to Seven Lakes Drive, which it crosses.
On the other side of the paved road, the trail crosses the inlet stream of Lake Askoti and begins a steady climb through dense mountain laurel, with views over the lake through the trees to the right. Soon, the trail bends sharply to the left and continues to climb gradually. At the top of the ascent, a rock outcrop to the left offers views of Fingerboard Mountain, to the northwest.
The Red Cross Trail now levels off and passes under a power line. Soon, the trail bears right and begins to descend on an old woods road. After crossing a wooden bridge over a stream, the trail turns left onto a wider woods road.<
Soon, you'll notice a large pit with several rusted drums on the left side of the trail. This is a remnant of the Hasenclever Mine, first opened in 1760 by Baron Peter Hasenclever, who dammed the Cedar Ponds to create the present-day Lake Tiorati. Just ahead, you'll reach a junction with the Hasenclever Road (a woods road), where you should bear left, following the red cross blazes.
Here, on the right side of the road, is a water-filled pit, which is all that remains of the main opening of the mine. To the left, you will see several long rows of tailings - rocks that were excavated from the mine but discarded. A short distance ahead, you can find a stone foundation on the left side of the trail - a remnant of one of the many buildings that were built for the mine operations.
After exploring this fascinating area, continue ahead on the Red Cross Trail which, in about half a mile, crosses paved Tiorati Brook Road (closed to traffic during the winter). On the other side of the road, the trail passes through an unused ballfield and descends to cross Tiorati Brook on rocks. It turns right and briefly parallels the brook. After crossing a tributary stream, the trail bears left and begins to climb gently.
In about three-quarters of a mile from the crossing of Tiorati Brook Road, you'll notice a cairn and a triple-blue blaze on the right side of the Red Cross Trail. Turn right onto a footpath and follow the blue-blazed Beech Trail, which begins here. Soon, the trail widens to a woods road and begins a steady descent to Tiorati Brook Road.
The trail turns right, crosses Tiorati Brook on the road bridge, then immediately bears right and follows a footpath along the brook. It soon reaches the paved road again and turns right to cross the road bridge over a tributary stream. In 200 feet, the trail turns left and reenters the woods.
After crossing a stream on a wooden bridge, the trail begins a steady climb on a footpath, which soon widens to a woods road and parallels another stream. About halfway up, you'll notice an attractive cascade - known as Arthur's Falls - to the left.
Three-quarters of a mile from Tiorati Brook Road, the Beech Trail reaches Hasenclever Road. It briefly turns right onto the road, then turns left onto a footpath, soon continuing to climb. A short distance ahead, you'll reach the site of an old farm, marked by several stone walls and dense barberry thickets.
At the top of the hill, you'll notice a small cemetery just to the right of the trail. Recently restored by Boy Scouts, the graves in this cemetery date back to the mid-1800s and include those of Civil War veterans. You'll want to take a few minutes to explore this unusual and interesting burying ground.
The trail now descends and soon joins a relatively level woods road. In about half a mile from the cemetery, there is a balanced rock to the left of the trail, and in another half a mile, you'll cross Route 106.
The Beech Trail continues on a narrow footpath through dense mountain laurel, passing interesting rock formations to the right. A short distance ahead, the fascinating Green Swamp (probably named for the evergreens that grow in the swamp) is visible below to the left.
After descending slightly and passing the stone foundation of an old cabin, the Beech Trail ends at a junction with the aqua-blazed Long Path. Turn right and follow the Long Path, which begins a steady descent through dense laurel. At the base of the descent, it crosses a stream and continues with some minor ups and downs.
In three-quarters of a mile - after crossing a stream on a bed of rocks - the Long Path reaches Route 106. It turns right, follows the road for 250 feet, then turns left and climbs to a woods road. Follow the Long Path as it turns left onto the woods road, crosses under power lines, and descends to cross Seven Lakes Drive. On the other side of the drive, the Long Path heads down to reach the parking area where the hike began.