Howdy, buon giorno , and top o’ the mornin’!
Yea, it’s pretty dreary out there today, but that won’t stop me of imagining myself frolicking amongst the trees of the woods!
….You’re now envisioning me as a wood nymph…maybe Fantasia style…maybe I’m a satyr prancing with pegesuseses…perhaps all of the above.
So amongst my imaginary ramblings, I decided to put together a few of my favorite alternative hikes in Harriman State Park. While this park is extremely popular and convenient for many, it doesn’t mean you can’t find solitude! You just need to know where to go...
1. Ramapo Torne from Reeves Meadow (yes, Reeves Meadow)
GPS: 41.174212, -74.168767
Length: 6 miles (can be lengthened if desired)
So after parking somewhere around the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center (come early, this place gets darn busy on weekends), follow the Red Trail from the RIGHT of the parking lot. That means away from where nearly everyone else goes. You’ll soon connect with the Blue Seven Hills Trail and then a steep climb up the Orange Trail, ultimately leading you to flag-flying Ramapo Torne…a novel site.
From here, options abound (so be sure to have your NYNJTC Map!), but even a simple trip down and up the Blue/Orange Trail toward Torne View, ultimately connecting to the cascade-lined White Reeves Brook Trail is a marvelous journey through less-traveled lands.
2. Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail from Rt 106 to Lemon Squeezer
GPS: 41.230166, -74.140261
Length: 9 miles
SO MANY OPTIONS HERE. But for this specific trek, follow the R-D Trail north toward Black Rocks for immediate expansive views less than 1-mile in.
Continue along the R-D Trail toward the Bald Rocks shelter…and even be so bold as veering left on the Blue Lichen Trail to the Red ASB and going to Lemon Squeezer along the Appalachian Trail!
Return via the White Bar Trail to the white Nurian Trail to return to your car. This trek is about 9 miles, but feel free to experiment with loops via your map, so bring that baby with ya.
3. Almost Perpendicular/Elbow Brush/Claudius Smith Den from Tuxedo Train Station (perfect for NYCers!)
GPS: 41.194224, -74.184203
Length: 6 miles
One time, I wanted to see what it was like to hike from the Tuxedo Train Station to see how those carless city slickers experience Harriman. From the station, you’ll follow the road a bit along the R-D Trail until you reach the White Kakiat Trail where you’ll hang right.
Up some craggy hills you’ll climb until turning left on the Blue Disc Trail toward Almost Perpendicular’s sprawling views. Continue along the Blue Disc Trail toward Elbow Brush, an appropriately named rock formation forcing you to squeeze through various scrambles and crevasses.
Move along on the Blue Disc Trail until turning left on the Red Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail on to views and Claudius Smith Den, a cave-like…well…den…at the base of the overhanging cliffs. After this, you’ll continue on the Red Tuxedo-Mt Ivy until connecting with the Red R-D Trail, hanging slightly left back to the station.
There you have it, 3 hikes in Harriman State Park offering varying terrain, sightseeing, and comparative solitude! What more do you need to complete your weekend than a worthwhile hike loaded with curiosities? Nothing, NOTHING I say!
Ahem…Hopefully you enjoy these hikes as much as I do. Or perhaps you’ll create your own variation by connecting with nearby trails; the possibilities are endless...so go on and get out there!