On the southwest side of the parking lot (right when facing the woods), you will find the red-on-white blazes of the Pine Meadow Trail. Follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it heads southwest, parallel to Seven Lakes Drive. Soon, the trail bears left and heads uphill on a rocky path. After a short level stretch, you'll reach a junction where the Pine Meadow Trail makes a sharp right turn. Turn left...
On the southwest side of the parking lot (right when facing the woods), you will find the red-on-white blazes of the Pine Meadow Trail. Follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it heads southwest, parallel to Seven Lakes Drive. Soon, the trail bears left and heads uphill on a rocky path. After a short level stretch, you'll reach a junction where the Pine Meadow Trail makes a sharp right turn. Turn left, leaving the Pine Meadow Trail, and follow the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail, which begins here.
The Seven Hills Trail 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, the footpath narrows, and you follow undulating terrain, with some short ups and downs. You'll also pass an interesting wetland to the right of the trail.
About a mile and a half from the start, you'll reach a T-intersection with a woods road. The orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail begins to the right, but you should turn left to continue along the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail, which begins a rather steep ascent. The grade soon moderates, then again steepens.
At the top of the ridge, the Seven Hills Trail reaches a junction with the orange-blazed HTS Trail. Turn right and follow the HTS Trail as it runs along the ridge of the Ramapo Torne, reaching its summit in about a third of a mile. Here, there is an expansive view to the south over Torne Valley and Hillburn, with the New York State Thruway visible below.
After spending some time enjoying the view, retrace your steps to the junction with the Seven Hills Trail. Now continue ahead, following the joint HTS/Seven Hills Trail along the ridge, blazed with both orange and blue-on-white blazes. In 0.2 mile, at a high point on the ridge, the two trails split. You should continue ahead, following the orange-blazed HTS Trail, which soon bears left and descends into a valley. It climbs a ridge on the other side, then descends on stone steps.
At the base of the descent, the HTS Trail crosses a stream on a wooden bridge. To the left, an imposing cliff towers above the trail. You will soon reach the top, but via a more gradual route. The trail continues ahead, climbing gradually through a dense thicket of mountain laurel. After reaching a small level area, the trail bears left and climbs on a long flight of stone steps, finally reaching the top of the rise. A large boulder, known as the “Russian Bear,” formerly stood at the edge of the cliff, but it fell down in 2004. From here, there is a panoramic view over the Torne Valley (the best view is from a rock outcrop just below the summit). Unfortunately, the view is marred by the large Orange and Rockland Utilities power substation in the valley, and by the electric transmission lines extending up the hill.
The HTS Trail now heads north on a relatively level route, going over several open rock outcrops. In a quarter of a mile, you’ll cross the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail (the junction is marked by paint blazes on the rocks). Continue ahead on the orange-blazed HTS Trail, which proceeds through dense mountain laurel thickets. The trail descends to cross a strip cleared for a gas pipeline, climbs to a minor summit, then begins a steady descent. On the way down, the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail joins briefly from the left and soon leaves to the right, following which the descent steepens.
At the base of the descent, the HTS Trail reaches a woods road, the route of the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. You will take the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the parking area. Turn left and briefly follow the joint HTS/Pine Meadow Trail along the woods road, but just ahead, where the HTS Trail departs to the right, continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail. Soon, you’ll come to a section where the woods road has eroded, and the trail has been relocated onto a footpath to the left. You can hear the roar of Stony Brook down below in the valley.
After crossing Quartz Brook on a wooden bridge, the Pine Meadow Trail reaches a junction where the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail begins on the right. Here, the Pine Meadow Trail bears left and begins to run close to Stony Brook, with its attractive cascades (and, in winter, interesting ice formations). To bypass a wet spot at the crossing of a tributary stream, the trail has been relocated to the hillside on the left, where it crosses another wooden bridge. Just beyond, you’ll come to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center and the parking lot where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 02/23/2007 updated/verified on 02/07/2009
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.