Doodletown Bridle Path
Directions to trailhead
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Exit 19. Continue for 0.5 mile on Seven Lakes Drive, then make the first right turn onto an unmarked road that leads in a short distance to a parking area.
This hike follows the Doodletown Bridle Path, built in 1935 as an equestrian and ski trail, but now primarily used by hikers (horses are no longer allowed in the park). Most of the route is unmarked, but it is a wide woods road that is easy to follow.
On the left (east) side of the parking area, you'll notice a white circular blaze with a red “1777W.” Follow this trail uphill into the woods. In a short distance, the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) joins from the right. Continue straight ahead, now following both white and 1777W blazes. About 0.2 mile from the start, the trails turn left and descend steeply for a short distance. At the base of the descent, turn right and continue along the 1777W Trail, which follows a wide woods road (the white A.T. blazes leave to the left). Watch carefully for a junction in 250 feet. Here, you turn right onto the unmarked Doodletown Bridle Path. This is the start of a loop on the Bridle Path, which you will be following in a counter-clockwise direction.
Follow the Bridle Path uphill into the woods. In about 0.4 mile, you'll reach a T-intersection at elevation 700 feet (the highest elevation on the hike). Turn left here, following the red-“F”-on-white blazes of the Fawn Trail, which joins from the right. The Bridle Path soon begins a long descent, with a stream cascading through the valley on your left. As the Path levels off, the Fawn Trail ends and the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail joins from the left. In another 750 feet, the S-BM Trail leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the Bridle Path. A short distance beyond, the Path crosses the Doodlekill on rocks, and in another third of a mile, it crosses the wide Pleasant Valley Road (the route of the 1777 Trail).
The Bridle Path now descends to cross Timp Brook on a culvert, with an attractive cascade on the right. It climbs briefly, curves to the left, and soon begins a steady descent. About half a mile from Timp Brook, it crosses a woods road known as the Old Caldwell Turnpike (there is an historical marker at the junction). Here, the Doodletown Reservoir (built in 1975) is visible on the left. A short distance beyond, the Bridle Path crosses Doodletown Brook, below the reservoir dam, on a concrete bridge, with a picturesque gorge below on the right. Then, in 500 feet, the Bridle Path turns right onto an old paved road, the route of the 1777E Trail (red 1777E on white).
In 100 feet, you'll come to a fork. Bear left here, leaving the paved road, and follow the 1777E Trail uphill. At the next junction (marked by a large number "2"), make a sharp left onto another woods road, leaving the 1777E Trail. The Bridle Path climbs gradually, passing a marker commemorating the location of the First June Cemetery on the right and a limited view over the Hudson River and Dunderberg Mountain on the left. A short distance beyond, the Bridle Path crosses Lemmon Road at a sign for the "Doodletown Walking Tour.”
The Bridle Path now climbs very gradually and soon begins to parallel Seven Lakes Drive (above on the right). Then, as the Bridle Path curves to the left, the yellow-blazed S-BM Trail joins from the right. The Bridle Path now levels off. It soon resumes its climb, then descends and turns right onto a woods road (Doodletown Road). In 150 feet, as the road curves to the right, the yellow blazes leave to the left, but you should continue ahead on the woods road, now following the blazes of the 1777W Trail. The Bridle Path now begins a gentle climb. After once again paralleling Seven Lakes Drive (above on the right), you'll reach the start of the loop.
Bear right and continue along the 1777W Trail. Soon, you'll reach an intersection with the white-blazed A.T. Turn right, follow the A.T. a short distance to Seven Lakes Drive, then turn left onto the Drive. In 500 feet, turn left onto an unmarked paved road which leads to the parking area where the hike began.