Hike Recommendations

Where should you hike today? Where is a good swimming hole? Are the Mountain Laurel out in Harriman yet?

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NYCHiker's picture

There are a few busses that run up to Catskills. There will be a road walk/cab ride to trail heads, but that's always an option. I have not had the opportunity to head up there yet, so I don't have much info to provide other than what's on the TC website.

As far as Harriman goes, the last time I was at there, no one was around to share the shelter or surrounding area with me.

There are plenty of shelters in Harriman where most people do not go because they are too far away from trailheads.

You mentioned fishing. I'd strongly suggest getting a fishing license for NY. I don't remember what they are this year, but it's cheaper than having DEC or a ranger come up on you and write you a ticket. While I've never seen a ranger in the backcountry in Harriman, I wouldn't take the risk.

Good luck and enjoy your hike!
spoonman3z's picture

Hi Everyone,

Me and 3 friends are looking to do our first overnight in the Catskills at the end of the month. We are looking for any suggestions as to which area is best for doing a short hike in (2-4 miles), setup camp for the night and then head out the next day. I know there are a million areas to do this but figured one of you might have a couple of good, secluded spots that you'd be willing to share.

One thought I had was starting at the western end of Devil's Path and then heading up to North Dome and camping somewhere in between North Dome and Sherrill (below 3500 ft). It looks secluded and the bushwacking seems like a good trade off with the relatively short distance.



docmaker's picture

Hi, I'm interested in going on a 1 night backpacking trip next weekend - I'd like to start from the AT train station north of Pawling on Saturday Morning and end back at the same spot on sunday evening (7PM) in time to take the last train back to the city. I'd like to hike about 10 miles each day and was wondering if anybody has any good hike recommendations that are not simply out and back on the AT trail. Are there any good 2 day (1 night) loop hikes i can do that start on the AT where i will still be able to get in the mileage without retracing my exact steps back to the train station on day 2? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Adam
NYCHiker's picture

Hi Adam!

I looked at doing the same thing a few months ago, but ended up going to Harriman and doing a semi-loop using the Shortline Bus. I'll defer to others more familiar with the area, but the AT at Pawling is pretty much the only trail through here with your distance requirements. You could add on some of the loops in the Pawling park or Nuclear lake (check to see if that section was reopened) to mix it up, but most of it will be AT. You could always go 20 out, then yellow blaze back to the train station. I have no idea what a taxi would be, but it's one way for you to get your 20 miles.

As for places to stay, you could go North on the AT to Ten Mile shelter (~9.6 miles from 22).

Going South, you could stay at Morgan Stewart (about 10.7 from 22).

Good luck!
docmaker's picture

Thanks for your response, NYCHiker Maybe we will look at Harriman State Park instead as a better option for next weekend. Is there camping ( at sites or shelters or backcountry options) along any long hike (20 mile -ish hike in that neck of the woods)? Maybe the suffern-bear mountain trail? Thanks! Adam
NYCHiker's picture

Glad to help. For quick weekends when I need to get out of the city and don't want to deal with renting a car, Harriman is my choice.

If you don't already have it, grab a map set for Harriman. I'd also suggest getting the Harriman Trails Guide book. It has good mileage breakdowns and trail descriptions, along with some history about the park. You can purchase both the book and the map in a combo deal through the Trail Conference.

Also, if you don't already have it, get the New York Walk Book. It is a great resource for trails in New York. It also has mileage breakdowns and general descriptions of specific trails. And all the books and maps are cheaper with a membership. If you don't have a map set yet for Harriman and are planning on going next weekend, call the office and have them ship you a map set overnight or expedited. If you are really in a pinch, you can call the EMS in SoHo or Tent and Trails down by WTC to see if they have any in stock. Paragon might also stock them, but I don't really shop there much (no NYNJTC discount). A map for Harriman is pretty much essential. There are just too many trails and intersections to go without one.

There are backcountry sites in Harriman. You must overnight in the shelter (first-come, first-served), or tent within 300 ft of the shelter. The tent sites are very clear when you get to the shelters. Stealth camping is prohibited and if caught, you'll get chased off and a hefty fine. You can have fires, but only in the fire rings in front of the shelters. A few sites have more than 1 ring, but you should only be using the one in front of the shelter for LNT purposes, You shouldn't depend on firewood being available, so bring a stove. Use only dead and down wood. Finally, you should hang all your food using appropriate bear bagging techniques (10 feet up and 10 feet away from the trunk). While there are black bears in the park, I hang my food to avoid the smaller critters that like dehydrated meals. There are plenty of good trees for hanging food near the shelters.

If you're thinking about the S-BM route, you could take T-MI from SBM to get to the Tuxedo Metro-North station and catch a train or a Shortline bus back to the city. You could also do the AT from Bear Mountain to Route 17 (bus stop in front of the old Red Apple rest stop). It's about 17-18 miles, but climbs Bear Mountain to a nice viewpoint and has a number of viewpoints in the northern half of the trail.

Because there are so many different options of trails in the park, I can't give you a bunch of specific trail recommendations for a 20 mile trip. There are so many different permutations and combinations of trails you could take here to fill out 10 mile days. My strategy is always to see how many different viewpoints or geocaches I can hit with a particular route.

Have a great hike! When you get done, write up a trip report and post a link to your pictures for us!

*Sorry this response took so long. I had a bunch of hyperlinks in my post but the spam filter didn't like them. Everything I suggested you look at for purchase can be found in the "Go Shopping" tab of this site. If you need more info on bear bagging or LNT, let me know and I'll post the appropriate links.
docmaker's picture

Hey, These were all great recommendations. We've decided to do the AT Hike from Bear Mtn (we will metro north it up there) and hike to route 17 with an overnight on the trail. And a bus back... Thanks so much for all your help! Adam
brooklynkayak's picture

"The Gunks" are also a great area to hike for those that hate dealing with a car. There are several nearby towns with bus and train service. From what I've seen, "The Gunks" are less crowded than Herriman/Bear Mountain and only approx 45 minutes further away from the city. stevie
gpettypoet's picture

I can answer for the New Jersey Highlands wildflower walks. If you want a prepared short wildflower walk with examples of most wildflowers in each season, try the one at Morris County Tourne Park in Mountain Lakes NJ., tended with great care by the Rockaway Valley Garden Club. The Land Conservancy also has a tended wildflower plot in back of their headquarters in Montville. If you want a hike with some wildflowers along the way, the answer is more complicated. For good early spring flowers (April 15 to May 3) try a hike from Weis Ecology Center out the W trail along Blue Mine Brook up to the old farm foundations, then back on the Green Trail to the Red Dot Trail out to the Blue Mine. Come back to Weis with a detour up the yellow Dot Trail in back of the Roomy Mine to catch a fine patch of columbine. In all seasons, the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area in Montville white trail has very good flowers. The Ryker Lake trails are also good in early spring, but the loop around the lake is blocked by a beaver dam at the north end. Better still, sign up for one of my wildflower hikes from Weis Ecology Center. Even better, get a copy of my Hiking The Jersey Highlands; it pays special attention to wildflowers along Highlands Trails. You can order it on this website. GPetty.
arnabbanerjee's picture

Which are the trails to view best spring wildflowers? Can anyone let me know the best ones and timings where one should go? I am expecting the flowers to be coming out from mid-april or so. Any recommendations will be very useful Thanks