View Full Version : Harriman State Park

02-17-2005, 05:00 PM
i posted this on Adkforum too but thought this would be a good place to get some answers too. i'm on long island in college and have been itching to hike and was wondering if anyone knew anything about this park cuz its probably the closest park that i would have transportation to. if anyone has any info on the park or hiking it, i would love to hear it.

02-17-2005, 05:13 PM
You can buy maps and get a lot of info here about Harriman. It's a fairly nice place that both the AT and the Long Trail pass through, and there lots of lakes, hills, and rock formations to explore. There are also a lot of interesting ruins in the woods as well, old cemetaries, firetowers, etc. It has a large amount of trails and old woods roads, and I think it was the first section of the AT to be officially designated as such.

I find that it's a good place to get a quick hike in when you don't have enough time to get to the Catskills. It's definitely worth exploring, great views of the Hudson Valley!


Jay H
02-17-2005, 05:48 PM
Harriman is a nice local hike/ski/kayak for me, as Fred mentions, the AT, and Long Path go through the park, but they have other long trails that one could make a weekend out of it, from the Sebago-Bear Mountain trail to the Ramapo Dunderberg those could be thru hiked in a weekend or a long dayhike. NYNJTC has the maps and a very good book on the trails, highly recommend the book if you're interested in history. Unlike many guidebooks which are just hiking guidebooks, the harriman book has a good history of how the park was started as well as hiking info. There is a new edition coming out soon though.

If you need specific ideas, just email me or post here, I've hiked extensively through the park when I have a 1/2 day to hike and one can X-C ski there when there is snow or Kayak on the lakes on 7-lake's drive. Legal MTBing there is weak though, the only valid trails are basically fireroads around Anthony Wayne.


02-17-2005, 08:28 PM
check out ADKLI they organize trips..pretty cool people,, i'm in plainview

02-17-2005, 09:35 PM
check out the AMC ( http://www.amc-ny.org/scheduleonline.shtml ) they hold many hikes in harriman every weekend.

John Graham
02-18-2005, 05:34 AM
Harriman State Park and Bear Mt State Park are contiguous and jointly consist of 56,000 acres, a really huge park, considering it's proximity to the NYC metropolitan area. It has 43 marked trails and probably twice as many unmarked ones, thirty three lakes and ponds, 19 abandoned mines and the remains of the Dunderberg Spiral Railway. Don't just wait for three day weekends to go to the Daks or the Whites, get out and explore this park. There is public transportation available both to the Bear Mountain Inn and to the trailheads along Rt 17 in Suffern, Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and Arden by bus from the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Jay H
02-18-2005, 06:17 AM
Might as well mention Sterling Forest... Wildcat Mtn, the Furnace Loop, etc.

Harriman/Bear Mtn are in the same mapset from the NYNJTC... Sterling Forest is another.

Then you have East Hudson (Fahnestock, Breakneck Ridge...) and the West Hudson (Storm King, Shunemunk,...)

There are mass transit options on East Hudson via the train and Harrriman is bus/train to Sloatsburg. Sterling forest would be a bus line.


Daniel Eagan
02-18-2005, 09:12 AM
You can also get to Bear Mountain by train, at least on weekends, taking the Hudson line to Manitou and then walking about forty minutes along the tracks, across the bridge, and through the inn grounds. There are two trains from NYC in the morning, and two return trains in the afternoon.

02-22-2005, 07:26 PM
great info guys, keep it coming. i've seen some of the maps in some of the outfitters in the city and i've gotta get my hands on them. next year i'm planning on being in manhattan for college so i'm hoping to get out and do some hikes and overnighters. how long does it take by bus/train to get there usually?

02-22-2005, 08:52 PM
From the Port Authority, 1-1:30 hours. Depending on the #of stops and where you are headed.

Daniel Eagan
02-23-2005, 10:38 AM
Right now there are two trains from Grand Central to Manitou and Breakneck Ridge, on weekends only: 7:51, arriving 8:59 and 9:12, and 8:51, arriving 9:59 and 10:12. Return trains leave at 4:55 and 5:08, arriving at Grand Central at 6:26. The later train leaves Breakneck at 6:55, Manitou at 7:08, and arrives at Grand Central at 8:26. These times will change slightly in the summer, not more than five or ten minutes.

The Breakneck stop leaves you across the street from several trails into the Hudson Highlands park. The Manitou stop leaves you about a mile from Anthony's Nose, the Appalachian Trail, and the Bear Mountain Bridge.

There is also a Harlem line train from Grand Central to the Appalachian Trail near Pawling, but I don't have the times for that.

The Short Line runs a bus from the Port Authority to Bear Mountain Inn, departing 8:45 and arriving 10:15. Return buses are at 3:19 and 5:19. The Short Line also has other stops near Harriman. This is a very slow, uncomfortable, and expensive way to go.

02-23-2005, 03:29 PM
did you get that info from a site, and if so do you have the link?

Daniel Eagan
02-23-2005, 04:12 PM
did you get that info from a site, and if so do you have the link?

Metro-North train schedules: www.mta.info
Short Line bus schedules: www.shortlinebus.com

Other info: New York New Jersy Trail Conference, www.nynjtc.org

02-25-2005, 03:45 PM
You can also get to Harriman thru New Jersey Transit.Have a friend who gets off at Tuxedo Park.This is in the southern part of the park.Just remember that this place gets very crowed during the summer and other peak hiking times.This park is also a great place to start learning how to do off trail wandering as it is pretty open country with pretty easy ups and downs for the most part.

Papa Bear
02-25-2005, 04:44 PM
Another approach would be to join the local AMC chapter (New York and North Jersey Chapter). They send out a booklet every few months with literally tons of hikes in the area, many accessible by public transportations, and others using car pools. Each one is rated as to length, difficulty and hiking speed, so that you usually won't find yourself over your head (or under your head).


Jay H
02-25-2005, 05:53 PM
I know a bunch of Harriman hikers, I don't know if this is official policy but it seems bushwacking is kind of frowned upon there. There is a Yahoo Harriman hiker's group and the leader there I think posted a bushwack off the Silvermine area and I think some ranger got word of it and kind of gave them some grief about it.

This is besides the fact that Silvermine is an area where they have organized Orienteering events... The AMC might even put one on in there...


03-08-2005, 07:25 PM
are there any good trails near the the bear mountain inn?

Mark Schaefer
03-09-2005, 03:08 AM
Bear Mt Inn is a base for many good trails. Just a few suggestions: A short loop up Bear Mt via the Major Welch and Appalachian Trails. It is about a 1200' climb to the Perkins Observation tower.
Use the Popolopen Gorge trail to access the Timp-Torne Trail. You can cross the recently reopened bridge over the gorge, (http://www.nynjtc.org/news/2004/trailchanges.html) and then climb the Torne which has some nice views.
Or for a longer route follow the Timp-Torne Trail in the opposite which will take you over West Mt to the Timp. There are many connecting trails for longer or shorter hikes that will bring you back to Bear Mt. Inn.
The 1777E and Cornell Mine Trails will take you to Bald and Dunderberg Mountains. Dunderberg has a lot of history with the remnants of the unfinished incline railroad. (http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/dunderberg/index.html) There is also a bus stop on the south side of the mountain which provides better access to the railroad remnants.
If it is a nice day the walk over the Bear Mt Bridge is scenic. Then follow the Appalachian Trail and the Camp Smith Trail to climb Anthony's Nose which overlooks the eastern end of the bridge.
If you are heading out on your own you will want to acquire the NY/NJ Trail Conference Harriman-Bear Mtn. Trails map set. (http://www.nynjtc.org/store/nonmember/itm00010.htm) With the maps you should have no trouble finding your way around the trails.

03-09-2005, 05:31 AM
I used to live very close by Harriman and used to hike there all the time. It's a GREAT park. It's amazing how much wildlife is there, especially given it's relatively close proximity to NYC.

You'd need a car to get to this trailhead for this hike, but it's an awesome one and everytime I've done it, I've had the trail virtually to myself:

Park at Kakiat County Park off of Rt. 202. The park is imbedded within Harriman, so it's pretty much the same. Take the Kakiat trail up to the Suffern-Bear Mt. Trail, and then Conklins' Crossing to Pine Meadow Lake.

It's a neat hike because you have some good, steep climbs, beautiful forests, rocky outcroppings, views of NYC in the distance, and there is a really neat abandoned stone house on Pine Meadow Lake that is God knows how old.

HIGHLY recommended. Best of luck and enjoy!

Jay H
03-09-2005, 06:34 AM
The Major Welch trail to Perkin's Tower is Major Steep.

Anthony's Nose on the east hudson is a beautiful spot and a very popular dayhike with the locals. The last time I was there, an Air Force C-130 came flying by almost level with the viewpoint. Most likely going down the hudson from Stewart Airport. 5 minutes later, it flew back up!

West Mountain is a nice place, past the fire escape, down the Cat's Elbow, a long hike to Pyngyp is pretty nice. This past winter, I did an overnighter from the parking lot by the 1777 trail. Over west mountain and following the SBM trail, I camped out on the summit of Pyngyp and returned the next day.

Another option if you like some history is to hike to Doodletown. There is a great book on the history by Elizabeth Statler that you can get from the NYNJTC or Campmor or probably the bookstore at the visitor's center on the Palisades Parkway.

P.S. lots of ruins on Pine Meadow Lake, get the book Harriman Trails published by the NYNJTC, it mentions the history of the camps that were around Pine Meadow, including some CCC camps..


03-09-2005, 11:51 AM
thanx a lot, i'm going to get the maps this weekend and if i have any other questions i'll post them. thanx again.

03-09-2005, 05:29 PM
great info guys, keep it coming. i've seen some of the maps in some of the outfitters in the city and i've gotta get my hands on them. next year i'm planning on being in manhattan for college so i'm hoping to get out and do some hikes and overnighters. how long does it take by bus/train to get there usually?

Here is a group that hikes every Friday, usually in Harriman, or nearby! There are also impromptu hikes on many other days!



03-10-2005, 11:46 AM
i have another question. is there a bear problem? would i need a bear vault or would a good bear bag suffice? thanx again for your help.

Jay H
03-10-2005, 12:02 PM
Nope, not really. They do have a deer "problem". Go drive through Seven Lakes drive in the early morning and you'll see half a dozen of deer grazing on the side of the road, completely oblivious to you. :)

The couple of times I've camped there, I've just hung the bags from the small creatures.


P.S. You might want to watch out for unleashed dogs though. ;)

John Graham
03-10-2005, 12:53 PM
There have been scattered reports of bears in the park, but they keep getting hit by cars. They haven't been around long enough to learn the bear bag retrieval tricks, so a simple tree hang should suffice.

03-11-2005, 07:42 AM
never seen a bear, though theres definitly a deer tick problem. :(

03-11-2005, 10:09 AM
About 6 months ago, a friend of mine saw a mama bear and her cub along the side of the road near Bear Mountain. They are supposed to be relatively rare inside the park though.

03-11-2005, 07:38 PM
maybe they were visiting the zoo! :D

03-11-2005, 07:55 PM
maybe they were visiting the zoo! :D

If they weren't on leashes, the park authorities would have issued summonses!

03-14-2005, 03:09 PM
one more quick question for now, has there been any confirmed crime reports in the park other than car break ins if even that? i ask cuz i'm planning a solo trip when it gets a little warmer before i go home and my pop is a little wary of me going alone (i'm 18, which seems old enough to me).

03-14-2005, 03:33 PM
one more quick question for now, has there been any confirmed crime reports in the park other than car break ins if even that? i ask cuz i'm planning a solo trip when it gets a little warmer before i go home and my pop is a little wary of me going alone (i'm 18, which seems old enough to me).

There have been car break-ins that seem to come in spurts. Certain areas are more prone to vandalism, so, if you decide on a spot or two, post here, and I will email you off-board as to their safety. No sense letting the fox know where the chickens are going to be!


03-14-2005, 04:12 PM
i'm not gonna be taking a car, so break in's arent really of any concern to me. i was more curious about maybe overnighters being harassed or anything along those lines. personally i'm not too worried, but i need to reassure the old man. also, are there many campsites along the trails, or does one need to make there own?

03-14-2005, 04:42 PM
i'm not gonna be taking a car, so break in's arent really of any concern to me. i was more curious about maybe overnighters being harassed or anything along those lines. personally i'm not too worried, but i need to reassure the old man. also, are there many campsites along the trails, or does one need to make there own?

There are a number of shelters that can be troublesome, depending on who shows up! For the most part, camping is at least frowned on by the "authorities" and since I don't camp, just hike, I am no judge! Jay can be of better help there!


John Graham
03-14-2005, 04:57 PM
I wouldn't say there is too much danger of crime, but you do run a better chance of running into creeps at lean-tos, as they tend to be a**hole magnets. I would give a wide berth to anyone you encounter on an ATV, as by being there illegally, they are already flaunting their outlaw status. I once had a gang of guys throw pack of fire crackers in my lean-to and I did hear of yahoos throwing someone's pack off a cliff at West Mountain Lean-to. That being said, I would be more afraid in the Port Authority Terminal than Harriman. Just use common sense, if rowdy types show up at your shelter, leave, that's what they usually want you to do. If you are really paranoid, practise stealth camping and camp without a fire, out of sight from the trail.

03-14-2005, 06:22 PM
I have had many a memorible overnighter in Harriman State Park. Most have been very enjoyable. I live in NYC and I have made many a trans-Park overnight trip using a combination of available public transportation, like metro-north, Shortline bus and NJ transit.

I love these trips as I find the Park an interesting place to explore in it's own right and for me, living in NYC, it is an excellent and close place to go on a quick trip. But I do pick my times.

I don't go on Holiday weekends
I avoid the leantos, except in the winter once in awhile
I avoid the summer months

I try to go mid week, avoid the most popular places and leantos, and avoid the most popular months (summer) when the idiot factor runs high.

I do stealth camp and practice NLT. I pride myself on being able to camp so as not to be seen or found. This is hard- but here are a few good ideas on the subject of stealth camping
Do not camp next to the pretty lake
Do not camp below the trail, camp above the trail
Do not build a fire
When buying gear, choose natural colors, if possible.
Avoid places that seem to have been used repeatidly- chances are that it
it is someones favorite site and it is a well known place to camp.
Avoid the leantos, especially on the AT during the height of the thru-hikers
Avoid the pretty scenic viewpoints
Camp on either hard, durable surfaces (a nice flat boulder will do) or camp
on a deep layer of soft leaves that will cushion your impact. The best is
a flat boulder coverd in leaves.
Be discrete. Afterall, it is illegal to camp at any but the designated
campsites in the park. If a ranger finds you, you will be fined.

I guess I will be chastised by writing what I have, so be it. But as a solo camper and as a female I feel justified in breaking the law- it's not such a serious law, afterall, and meant to protect the Park lands and to protect the camper. I feel much safer camping where no one can find me, and I would challenge anyone to detect where I laid done my camp. :D Bonus points if you can.
And, yes, I have had a few bad experiences in the park- mostly greepy naked guys, but once I had a very bad time in the middle of the night at the Stone Memorial shelter when a group of guys showed up in the middle of the night and partied. Since then I mostly avoid the Leantos. I think a tent is best anyway- it affords much more warmth and protection from insects like ticks.

Anyway- have a good trip

Jay H
03-14-2005, 06:52 PM
I've camped a couple times off-peak season, Once off the Beech Trail near Lake Welsh on a full moon... This past winter, I camped on the summit of Pyngyp and I've camped a few other places. Like Woodstrider, I've never camped at a leanto but have gone by most of them. And the times I've camped have been either in late fall/early winter or winter so you tend to have less of the party crowd.

I've never had my car vandalised before at Harriman or otherwise, but I have read a bunch of reports on the NYNJTC forums, they seem to go in spurts, like a whole slew of activity and then it dies down. Probably the same small group of crimnal moving around.

Avoid the Visitor's Center at Reeves Meadow!!! I don't understand why everybody wants to park there. Drive by it on a nice summer weekend and it's like Port Authority. :)



03-14-2005, 09:26 PM
i'm trying to plan around mid april and/or early may given weather conditions. is this a good/bad time to go to avoid crowds? i wasnt really planning to stay at any lean-to's so that shouldnt be a problem. i am however, planning on avoiding any and all pricks that might be out. how is the area around Bear Mountain Inn? i'm thinking of taking 1777 to Ramapo Dunderberg around Dunderberg Mt. to Suffern-Bear Mountain, which should take me back to the lodge. i estimated between 15-20 miles. is this a good/bad plan? this will be my first solo overnighter and i wouldnt like for it to be my last, so any and all advice is welcome. if anyone has any other suggestions let me know. thanx again.

John Graham
03-15-2005, 06:14 AM
I've been hiking and backpacking in Harriman for thirty years, and I don't know of any backpacker who has been killed or seriously assaulted. I don't know why you would fear to be the first. The kind of Yahoos we are talking about are a nuisance, and could be a danger if confronted, but at worst they are hooligans, not serial killers.

The route you refer to starts at the most crowded entry point in the park, but the 77 trail, the RD and the SBM are not too heavily used. The outmost leg of your loop, where I presume you would camp, would have you some where around West Mountain or Cats Elbow, an area with few reliable water sources. Also the RD going from Timp Pass to the Cat's Elbow is obscure and hard to follow.

Most backpackers using public transportation prefer to start from the trailheads along Rt 17 served by the Short line Buses. The entry point I would reccommend would be the Elk Pen on Arden Valley Rd. The bus drops hikers off at the AT crossing at the junction of Arden Valley Rd and Rt 17 and hikers walk a half mile along the road to the parking area at the Elk Pen. From here there are numerous possible loops you could make, with many possible ways to shorten or lengthen your route and many more potential camping spots. The route you outlined is arduous in it's later stages and offers no way to shorten it if you find it is too much for you.

Jay H
03-15-2005, 07:19 AM
The cat's elbow is very easily missed when coming off of West Mountain! It requires one hand drop and is awkward but doable with a full pack. When I camped at Pyngry, I started on the 1777W trail from the small dirt lot just east of the Palisades and went down the SBM over west mountain, basically straight to Pyngyp. Pyngyp is a great place to camp (probably illegal but there are at least 4 campsites there with established firerings and ATV tracks (probably coming from Haverstraw or the area). Like John says, if it's a one night backpack, I'd just bring as much water as you'll need. I brought a 70oz platypus and 2 bike bottles full of water and had plenty for dinner and breakfast as well as hydration.

On the way back, I took the red cross trail after bushwacking on one of the many fireroads, past the Addyson-Boyce camp to the TimpPass, then the TimpPass road to Doodletown and then back to the 1777W. That whole Timp Pass is a bit confusing as I planned on taking the blue trail back over West Mountain but somehow the markings were changed and my old map didn't reflect that so I wound up just taking the TimePass road which is not a good trail for those with weak ankles to Doodletown.


03-15-2005, 08:30 AM
Like any place you just have to be smart.

Harriman is a great place with lots of possibilites to enjoy. The ATVs tend to be near the gas, power lines and some of the old access roads, especially on the east side of the Park.
For remote sites, look at any of the mountains that do not have a trail and you will probably be unseen. Remember camping is illegal.
As far as crime, etc, the most action is at the picnic grounds and such, especially weekends.
I have camped in Harriman since the mid 60's and have always enjoyed it. I hike there 4-6 times a week because I also live in the village of Harriman.
Getting the hang of the trails and markings is about the only real problem for new people in Harriman. Make sure you have the latest edition (check NYNJ Trail Conference website).
If you are still sketchy about where to spend a night, check this out.

Check out some of the books too, this place has some amazing history and you still see stuff from colonial days.

03-15-2005, 10:34 AM
Jay H mentioned something about bushwhacking in HSP as being frowned on- well it is more then just frowned on. It is not allowed by the PIPC (Palisade Interstate Park Commission). But alot of people do it, FYI. Also hiking on the "unmarked" trails is not allowed as they are not maintained and are not always that clear to follow.

There has been alot of breakins of cars but they do come in spurts. Mostly cars are broken into and valuables removed- but, hey, if you are taking public transportation this is not a problem.

I have wriiten about having some negative experience, but truth be told they are left far behind by the many more positve experiences that I have had. HSP is my backyard, and I play there all the time. :)

Early April is a fine time to go, but you will see people, especially in the Bear Mountain SP, this is a popular area. If you do decide to stay at the West Mountain leanto, bring water with you as the water source up there is a vernal pool (which as it's name type suggests is fullest in the spring), but I would think twice before using this water.

Soco7tyx7 where do you live? If you are living on Long Island the stated travel times will be longer as they are probably stated with NYC as the starting point, and not on the Island. There are places to hike and camp (only in state campsites for a fee, I believe) on Long Island. The Long Island Chapter of the ADK will know more, also check out gov. websites.

Now you should have all the information that you should need- you have the benefit of some very knowledgable people's advise- so get out there and go to it! And don't forget to let us know how your trip went. been

03-15-2005, 11:05 AM
Fire Island National Seashore has backcountry camping year round. The only place on L.I to do so that I am aware of.

Always thought heading out there in a snowstorm would be a good approximation of being above treeline.

03-15-2005, 11:50 AM
Jay H mentioned something about bushwhacking in HSP as being frowned on- well it is more then just frowned on. It is not allowed by the PIPC (Palisade Interstate Park Commission).

I'm not sure whether or not this is true........ if it is then it's another example of a completely absurd law that begs to be broken. Is going off trail to look at a grave, ruin, tree, or waterfall considered bushwacking by the PIPC? What about going off trail to pee in the woods? How many feet or meters off trail does one have to go before your hike officially becomes a bushwack?

How could a law like this possibly be enforced?

03-15-2005, 01:30 PM
i didnt mean to confuse anyone, i didnt mean last hike as in being killed. i'm certainly not worried about that, i meant as in a bad experience. as for hiking on L.I. i havent found much and i've been to fire island, i rather have woods to hike in. i've already worked out the transportation, since i am residing in Central Islip, so thats not really a problem cuz i go to the city almost every weekend. i was only curious about crime b/c of my father being wary that the park is close to the City. i never even noticed the bus stop on the east side of the park, this looks like a better option in terms of water sources and the possibility of shortening the trip as previously mentioned. i'm planning on staying the whole weekend so i rather not carry that much water with me. thanx for the tips everyone, i'll post any more questions if i have them (which i probably will) and i'll be sure to let you guys know how it goes. sorry to be a bother, didnt anticipate having so many questions but i'm happy that there's a place to get answers. thanx!

Bob Smith
03-15-2005, 02:01 PM
Soco, check this out http://www.nynjtc.org/trails/record/041005.html
If you take the path train from NYC to Hoboken and see the schedule for NJT at www.njtransit.com for Suffern to Port Jervis line you can get off at Tuxedo and follow the above hike (and add to it once you get the maps that John pointed out.) Parker Cabin Mt and Tom Jones Mt from this area would extend this hike and I don't think you will have any problems with people for when you plan to make the trip.

Freddy, Good Questions. If the Rangers paid more attention to people cutting live trees for firewood or restricted some trails in winter as "Snowshoe Only" we would all be better off.

Bob Smith
03-15-2005, 02:11 PM
Oh yea, if anyone is interested, permits for wilderness canoe or kayaking go on sale today until April 1st(NYS Fishing Lic needed). Starting April 1st permits for the other lakes go on sale.

Jay H
03-15-2005, 02:17 PM
The PIPC is also fairly restrictive on boating/kayaking in the park, other than the explicite lakes that are listed on the permit, you cannot kayak in any of the others, like pine meadow, etc. I've kayaked all the legal lakes there except for Island Pond (you need a fishing license in addition to the permit) and Lake Welsh (haven't gotten there yet)).

Kanawauke and Tiorati are my favorites, though Sebago is good for those who are into racing (long narrow section between the launch and the beach area to get some speed). Tiorati has a bunch of islands you can somewhat eat lunch on. It is technically illegal to practice rolling and stuff since the rules prohibit swimming (other than at the designated beach areas). In fact, you are not permitted closer to 100ft (???) to islands and the shore (other than the launch area) so my little lunch on an island in Tiorati is probably illegal. Ha!

The only places I've seen rangers is in the parking lots, so don't do any bushwacking, kayaking, or swimming, in the parking lots and you are fine. ;)


03-15-2005, 08:56 PM
the ranger didnt mind when i floated this in lake skannatati last fall!

Jay H
03-16-2005, 06:06 AM
Hey, that's pretty neat... You should get like a 100 of them and float them out there, make it look like a Delaware river iceflow. Just make sure you do it in August in the 80deg heat and you'll have the rangers shaking their heads!