Know the New Hiking How-tos
Appalachian Trail/Long Path Loop from Silvermine Picnic Area
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 Seven Lakes Drive/Harriman State Park. Continue along Seven Lakes Drive for about 12 miles to the Silvermine Picnic Area, on the right side of the road (the Silvermine Picnic Area is 2.1 miles beyond the Tiorati Circle). Park in the large parking area near the entrance (a parking fee is charged on weekends in the summer).
This hike climbs over a series of ridges in the northern portion of Harriman State Park. It includes sections of two long-distance trails – the Appalachian Trail, which extends for over 2,150 miles from Maine to Georgia, and of the Long Path, which runs for about 350 miles, from the George Washington Bridge to near Albany, New York. The hike offers only limited views, especially in the summer, when the leaves are on the trees. But blueberry bushes are plentiful along the entire route, and hikers can enjoy the ripe blueberries during July and August.
To begin the hike, find the bridge over the stream at the southern end of the Silvermine Picnic Area (marked with a sign “Welcome to the Silvermine Boat Launch”). Here, you will see a yellow blaze of the Menomine Trail, which you will be following for the first part of the hike. Cross the bridge, then turn left onto a dirt road, passing two park maintenance buildings. Just before reaching Silvermine Lake, turn right, then bear left when you reach a brown-painted cinder block building. Here, the yellow blazes resume. Follow the trail into the woods on a rocky footpath.
Soon, you’ll again reach the shore of the lake. In a short distance, the trail widens to a woods road – the old Bockey Swamp Road. Before Silvermine Lake was created in 1934, the road followed the edge of what was then known as the Bockey Swamp. When the lake was filled with water, the northern portion of the road was submerged, and the old road emerges from the lake here.
Continue ahead on the level woods road. After passing the southern end of the lake, the road begins to climb, and it soon reaches a T-intersection. Continue to follow the yellow blazes of the Menomine Trail, which turns left onto another woods road. After crossing the inlet of the lake, the road begins to climb, first gradually, then more steeply.
At the top of the rise, the stone William Brien Memorial Shelter is on the left. Overnight camping is permitted here, and the shelter is frequented by thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, who hope to complete the entire trail from Georgia to Maine (if you’re lucky, you might meet a thru-hiker along the trail!). Built in 1933 as the Letterrock Shelter, the shelter was renamed in 1973 in memory of Mr. Brien. This is a good place to take a break.
When you’re ready to continue, proceed for about 50 feet ahead on the Menomine Trail to a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (R-D). Turn right onto the joint A.T./R-D, which climbs to one of the peaks of Letterrock Mountain, with a dense understory of blueberries. You might get a glimpse of the Hudson River from the crest of the rise, but most views are obscured by the trees. The A.T./R-D descends from the peak, then levels off through dense mountain laurel.
After crossing the intermittent Bockey Swamp Brook, the A.T. diverges from the R-D. Bear left, leaving the A.T., and continue to follow the red-dot-on-white-blazed R-D Trail. The R-D now begins a steady, gradual climb of Goshen Mountain. At the top, it crosses the summit ridge. Upon reaching the 1,320-foot summit at the southern end of the ridge (with a limited west-facing view), the trail turns sharply right and begins a steady descent.
Soon, the R-D levels off on a woods road. It follows the road for about half a mile, then – with Tiorati Brook Road visible ahead in the distance – turns sharply right. The trail now follows an old woods road that has, for part of the way, narrowed to a footpath. After a level stretch, the trail begins a gradual descent to Seven Lakes Drive.
The R-D crosses Seven Lakes Drive and continues on a wide dirt road that leads into Youmans Flats, a park maintenance area. To the left, the ridge of Fingerboard Mountain may be seen across a wetland. At the entrance to the maintenance area, the trail turns left along a chain-link fence and begins to follow a grassy woods road. Soon, the road bears left, crosses a wooden bridge over a stream, and begins a gentle climb.
In a short distance, you’ll reach a junction where the A.T. crosses. Here, the R-D turns left and once again begins to run jointly with the A.T., but you should proceed straight ahead, leaving the R-D, and continue along the grassy woods road. Although unmarked, the road is clear and easily followed, even in several places where it is partially overgrown by vegetation and has narrowed to a footpath.
When you reach the crest of the rise, watch for a cairn (pile of rocks) on the right. Turn sharply right here onto the aqua-blazed Long Path, which heads north, following the ridge of Stockbridge Mountain. The trail climbs steeply over a rise, then descends. After a level stretch, the Long Path again begins to climb, eventually reaching the 1,340-foot summit of the mountain – the highest point of the hike. The summit is marked by a large rock ledge, with a limited view to the west through the trees.
The trail continues north along the ridge of the mountain, with some ups and downs. In about a mile, as the trail descends, you’ll notice a large cantilevered rock – known as Hippo Rock – to the left. Just beyond, you’ll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Menomine Trail.
Turn right and follow the Menomine Trail, which descends on an old woods road. It soon bears left and levels off, then turns right and resumes its descent. Near the base of the descent, you’ll pass through a pine grove and cross the outlet of Lake Nawahunta. The trail briefly parallels the lake, then bears right onto the Nawahunta Fire Road, which it follows to Seven Lakes Drive.
The trail crosses the road and reenters the woods. After crossing the entrance road to an abandoned parking area for the former Silvermine Ski Area (this parking area is now overgrown with vegetation), the trail follows a dirt road through a picnic area and soon reaches the parking area where the hike began.