Seven Hills/HTS/Raccoon Brook Hills Loop from Reeves Meadow
Directions to trailhead
Take N.J. Route 17 north to the New York State Thruway 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 Harriman State Park. Cross an overpass over railroad tracks and continue along Seven Lakes Drive for three-quarters of a mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, on the right side of the road. Park in the Visitor Center's parking lot.
Take the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line to the Sloatsburg station. From the station, cross the railroad tracks and head north on Ballard Avenue. When Ballard Avenue ends, turn right onto Academy Avenue and continue to Seven Lakes Drive. Turn right on Seven Lakes Drive, continue under the New York State Thruway, and pass Greenway Road and Laurel Road on the right. A short distance beyond, about 0.9 mile from the train station, you'll reach a bridge over the Stony Brook. On the bridge, you will notice a triple red-square-on-white blaze and a directional arrow, which mark the trailhead of the Pine Meadow Trail. Turn right, leaving the road, and follow this red-on-white-blazed trail for another 0.8 mile to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.
On the southwest side of the parking lot (right when facing the woods), you will find a post with the red-on-white blaze of the Pine Meadow Trail. Follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it heads southwest, parallel to the Seven Lakes Drive. Soon, the trail bears left and heads uphill on a rocky path. After a short level stretch, you'll come to a T-intersection, with three blue-on-white blazes marking the start of the Seven Hills Trail. Turn left and follow the Seven Hills Trail, which climbs steadily along a woods road. After crossing a stream, the trail briefly turns left onto another woods road, then turns right, leaving the road, and continues to ascend. Soon, the trail levels off, and the footpath narrows.
About a mile and a half from the start, you'll reach a T-intersection with a woods road. Here, the Seven Hills Trail turns sharply left, but you should turn right, now following the orange blazes of the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail, which begins here. This is the route of the "Old Red" Trail - an informal route up the Ramapo Torne which became an official trail in spring 2007.
The HTS Trail follows a level woods road for about a third of a mile, then turns left, crosses a stream, and climbs rather steeply on a woods road. After gaining about 300 feet in elevation, the trail turns sharply left and climbs very steeply over rocks, emerging at a viewpoint to the southwest. It bears left and soon climbs some more to a rock ledge, just below the summit of Ramapo Torne, with an expansive view over Torne Valley and Ramapo Valley, traversed by the New York Thruway.
At the summit, the trail turns right and follows the ridge for about a third of a mile to reach a junction with the Seven Hills Trail, which joins from the left. Bear right and continue along the ridge, now following both blue and orange blazes.
In a quarter of a mile, at a high point on the ridge, the two trails split. Bear left and follow the blue-on-white blazes of the Seven Hills Trail, which descends steeply into a gully, then climbs back up to reach a west-facing viewpoint, known as Torne View. From here, the Ramapo Torne, which you just climbed, is visible to the left, with the hills of Sterling Forest to the west.
A short distance beyond, you'll reach a junction with the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills (RBH) Trail. Turn right onto the RBH Trail, which descends to cross a stream on rocks (passing the end of the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail on the way down). It then climbs an escarpment, first steeply, then more gradually, passing two southwest-facing viewpoints. Near the second viewpoint, a large rock, known as The Pulpit, juts out by the cliff edge. After a short descent, the RBH Trail climbs to reach a junction with the orange-blazed HTS Trail on an open rock ledge.
Continue ahead on the RBH Trail, which climbs gradually to the crest of the ridge (1,230 feet) – the highest point on the hike. On a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline in the distance from a rock ledge to the right of the trail.
The trail descends to cross a gas pipeline, regains the ridge, and then begins a rather steep descent. From the base of the descent, the trail climbs gradually through dense mountain laurel. It then descends on a winding footpath to reach a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail, which joins from the left.
When the two trails diverge in about 100 feet, turn left, continuing to follow the RBH Trail. After a short level stretch, the trail descends gradually, then climbs steeply to an open rock ledge, with pitch pines and scrub oak. Just ahead, you’ll encounter another steep, rocky climb, with a wooden ladder placed at a particularly steep spot near the top.
At the top, the trail comes out on a rock ledge with a panoramic southwest-facing view. This is the western summit of Raccoon Brook Hill. The trail continues along the crest of the ridge. After descending through thick mountain laurel, it climbs slightly to reach the eastern summit. Pine Meadow Lake is below to the right, but it cannot be seen when there are leaves on the trees.
The RBH Trail now begins a steep descent through mountain laurel thickets. At the base of the descent, a junction is reached with the yellow-on-white-blazed Poached Egg Trail. Continue to follow the RBH Trail, which turns left, climbs over a hill, and descends, steeply in places. At the base of the descent, it passes several rock shelters to the right, crosses a seasonal stream, and climbs to its terminus at a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.
Turn right onto the Kakiat Trail, which descends steadily. Soon, you'll reach a junction with the Seven Hills Trail (blue on white) and the Pine Meadow Trail (red on white). Turn right, now following the "red, white and blue" blazes of all three trails.
After crossing Pine Meadow Brook on a wooden footbridge, turn left, following the blue-on-white and white blazes. Soon, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail also departs to the right, but you should continue ahead, following the white-blazed Kakiat Trail. In about half a mile, you'll pass cascades in the brook and cross the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail.
Continue ahead on the white-blazed trail, which becomes rougher as it proceeds over and around huge boulders. In another quarter of a mile, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. Turn left, now following both white and yellow blazes, and cross a footbridge over Pine Meadow Brook. (Note: As of January 2018, this bridge is out. It is scheduled to be replaced in the spring of 2018. It may be possible, under favorable conditions, to cross the brook on rocks. If this is not possible, you can backtrack on the Kakiat Trail for a quarter mile and cross the brook on the HTS bridge at the Cascade of Slid, then return to the trailhead on the Pine Meadow Trail.) A short distance beyond, the Kakiat Trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail. This section of the trail, which closely parallels the cascading Stony Brook, is particularly scenic.
After crossing a gas pipeline right-of-way and then Quartz Brook, the Stony Brook Trail ends at a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. Continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail, which parallels Stony Brook and leads back to the parking lot where the hike began.