Sunday, May 8, 2016

Black Rock Forest - Mt. Misery

Black Rock Forest - Mt. Misery
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Duggan Trail: Red blaze
Reservoir Trail: Blue blaze
Highlands Trail: Aqua blaze
Stillman Trail: Yellow blaze
Honey Hill Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:00 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for a quiet area

Points of Interest: Very quiet area, nice lakes and scenery
Cons: Additional trailhead parking areas would be welcome

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Black Rock Forest is adjacent to Storm King Mountain, and is along the most northern reaches of the Western Hudson Highlands. It is a very remote area, with few people knowing about this place. Even for a nice Sunday in the Spring, we only encountered a single group of other hikers!

I had never been here before, and decided to explore. The first thing i'll say is that the trail conference maps show that there is parking further up by the research stations; this is not correct. There is private parking and bus parking, but everyone else has to park below at the entrance as there is a gate blocking the road.

We took the Duggan Trail, a short trail that goes down to valley floor, where it meets up with the Reservoir Trail. This trail is highly scenic, climbing up the mountain alongside a stream with several cascading waterfalls. At the top of the climb we saw the research center, and we crossed the brook along covered Mailley's Mill Bridge, and we decided to check it out.

The research center is a modern building, probably built in the past years, with classrooms and laboratories. There wasn't anyone inside when we checked it out, but the door was open. We then left and took the Reservoir Trail to the Upper Reservoir, where we met up with the Highlands Trail. We took the Highlands Trail along the wide path, and then continued along where the trail joins up up the Stillman Trail, and then turns to climb the steep ascent up Mount Misery.

I don't know why it's called Mt. Misery. It wasn't all that bad up here, and there was a great view. Though it was very windy on top and a bit uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, but not quite miserable. We then continued along the trail descending the mountain, and went along the Highlands/Stillman Trail until the Aleck Meadow Reservoir. At the dam, we took the Honey Hill Trail. (This trail is not marked in 2013 edition map.) We took the Honey Hill Trail back down to the Reservoir Trail along the brook, and then took the dirt road back to our car.

Map of the Route
West Hudson Trails, Eastern Map

Bridge at the Confluence of the Duggan and Reservoir Trails

Cascades On the Brook Along the Reservoir Trail
Larger Waterfall Along the Reservoir Trail


Spring Wildflowers in Bloom

Mailley's Mill Covered Bridge

Shimmy Crossing the Mailley's Mill Bridge

Upper Reservoir in Black Rock Forest

First View at Mt. Misery, Facing North

View from Mt. Misery, Facing West

Me Atop Mt. Misery

Mt. Misery, Looking Southwest

Mt. Misery, Looking East

Me Descending Down Mt. Misery

Me at the Aleck Meadow Reservoir Dam, Beginning of Honey Hill Trail

Aleck Meadow Reservoir 

Shimmy Atop the Aleck Meadow Reservoir 

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

Me at the View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

View from the Road Down to the Parking Area

Me Driving Through the Narrow Tunnel Under 9W

Shimmy Demonstrating the Size of the Tunnel

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