Sunday, March 3, 2013

Popolopen Gorge Loop And Brooks Lake

Fort Montgomery,
Bear Mountain State Park,
Orange County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze
combined together with the:
1777-1779 Trails: Red blaze
Brooks Lake Trail: Red blaze
Popolopen Gorge Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Points Of Interest: Beautiful gorge and lake in historic area
Pros: Beautiful terrain, deep scenic gorge, pretty lake
Cons: Close to homes and right near highway, making hike loud and not as natural

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This hike is in the deepest gorge in the area. Unfortunately it is right near the busy Palisades Parkway and goes along the road and behind houses for part of the hike, which takes away from the scenic nature. However, the area is indeed beautiful and worthwhile of an excellent hike.

I parked in the Fort Montgomery Historical Site parking area off Route 9W, right after the Bear Mountain Traffic Circle. The Timp-Torne Trail and historic 1777-1779 Trails start here, and  go in conjunction for much of the way eastward on this hike. The trail goes underneath the Route 9W bridge that spans across the gorge. It then hits Mine Road, crosses it, and meets up with the Brooks Lake Path.

The Brooks Lake Path is a small trail fully encircling the natural and scenic Brooks Lake. I took the loop around the lake, and then back to the Timp-Torne Trail and 1777-1779 Trails. I took this until the Timp-Torne Trail veers up to climb Popolopen Torne, and the comes right back down a few hundred feet down the trail. At this point trail crosses the brook on a brand new bridge. From here I took the Popoplopen Brook Trail all the way back, and cross the brook over Route 9W.

Map of the Route

Bear Mountain Bridge and Anthony's Nose
at the Fort Montgomery Parking  Area

Beginning of the Timp-Torne and 1777-79 Trails
Route  9W Bridge over Popolopen Creek

The hiking trail going underneath the bridge

Abandoned Structure near Brooks Lake

Brooks Lake, facing west.

Brooks Lake, facing south with Bear Mountain  Rising in the Rear

Boardwalk at the inlet of Brooks Lake

Sturdy bridge over Popolopen Creek

Large Waterfall over the dam at the end of Popolopen Creek
This waterfall is much more impressive than it appears in the picture

At the end of the hike, view on top of the Popolopen Bridge on Rt. 9W.
Facing  east where the Popoplopen Brook enters the Hudson River.
The Bear Mountain Bridge and Anthony's Nose are in the distance,
with the active railroad bridge and Twin Forts trail bridge.


  1. Hi Heshy-- any advice for a fun trail to do in Harriman this upcoming weekend? I'm pretty far along in my pregnancy so hoping to trying to stay active. My husband and I live in NYC and have been up to Harriman a few times, but don't really know what would be good this time of year.


    --Nina G.

  2. It depends on the how strenuous of a hike you are looking for, as well as how long you want it to be. Are you looking for easy, moderate, or difficult? And approximately how long do you want to be out for? Let me know and i'll give you a suggestion.
    - HF

  3. Thanks so much. We were looking to be out for about 2 or 3 hours, and would be OK doing an easy-moderate hike. The hope was that this weekend would be as warm and lovely as the last, but looks like it'll actually be pretty chilly and cloudy, so we'll see how things go!

  4. Here is an excellent moderate hike which I would recommend:

  5. We just did this in reverse today, and skipping the loop around Brooks Lake (we were short on time after a wrong turn and stopping for lots of photos. Thanks for this page, it helped us plan our trip!