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...
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 November 2020, this bridge is out. If the water in the brook is low, it is possible 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 turn right and 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.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 09/28/2007
This rugged hike traverses the southeastern corner of Harriman State Park, climbing to several panoramic viewpoints and following the cascading Stony Brook.
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.