Sunday, January 13, 2013

Black Ash Mine and Swamp to Claudius Smith Den

Harriman State Park,
Orange County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Victory Trail: Blue blaze
White Cross Trail: White blaze
Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.33 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult, especially in the snow and mud
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Good views, old mine, waterfall in wet season, very tranquil

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

Much of the snow on the ground had already melted, and it was a relatively warm day for winter. Some parts of this hike had no snow at all, while some parts in the valleys still had full snow. The conditions for hiking were not good at all. There was a thick fog the entire time, and it was very muddy and wet. I had not brought my ski pants, and ended up coming home muddy and wet.

I parked at the parking area right under the Thruway in Tuxedo, near the Ramapo-Dunderberg trailhead. I went up the Ramapo-Dunderberg, and was surprised how poor the visibility was when the view was entirely obscured by the fog. I continued along past the Black Ash Mine, observing both the upper and lower pits and dumps. From there I continued to the outlet of the Black Ash Swamp, which is very interesting. There is a natural rock dam formation which drains the swamp in a most fascinating way, with a small hidden waterfall inside the rock. About 100 feet downstream from the outlet are also a series of beautiful waterfall cascades in the wet season. Being that everything was wet from all the melting snow, this afforded great waterfall viewing.

From the swamp outlet I took the Victory Trail, which is a wide and muddy trail which is mostly uninteresting, and the tire marks throughout took away from its serenity. All along this trail there are downed tress from Hurricane Sandy. I then took the White Cross trail south back towards the Claudius Smith Den. This trail is very remote and serene, and even a bit overgrown. It is rare to meet anyone else on this trail. From the Claudius Smith Den I took the Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail back towards Tuxedo, and then back to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and back to my car.

Map of the Route

Dense Fog. At the beginning of the Hike right before the
Trail goes off the  road into the Mountain.

The View of Tuxedo.
Nothing to see Today.

The smaller pit of the Black Ash Mine

Larger Pit of the Black Ash Mine

Waterfalls near the outlet of the Black Ash Swamp.

A fuller view of the Waterfall Cascades

Another Waterfall about 30 feet Above the First One

Outlet of the Black Ash Swamp

Extensive Fallen Trees From Hurricane Sandy
Along the Victory Trail

Rhododendrons in the Snow and Fog on the
White Cross Trail

Rock Formation in the Claudius Smith Den

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