Sunday, June 16, 2013

Claudius Smith Den to Black Ash Mountain

Harriman State Park
Orange County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Trail: Red blaze
Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
White Bar Trail: White blaze
Triangle Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 6.75 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Claudius Smith Den, Black Ash Swamp
Pros: Good climb, great views, rock formation, beutiful mountain laurel forest
Cons: Black Ash Mountain is high but lacks views, return part of hike is a bit boring.

Hiking Partner:
Eli Koegel

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

We parked at the parking area in Tuxedo on East Village Road, right by the Thruway highway underpass. We crossed under the highway, took the trail along the road, and then up the mountain. The first stop is Smith Rock, which affords a nice view of Tuxedo. We then continued along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to the Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail, which goes to the Claudius Smith Den. At the Claudius Smith Den we met up with Steve Fishman, a professional hiker well-known in the local mountains. Besides for the cool cave formation in the rocks, the Claudius Smith Den has an excellent view on its top, and is the confluence of several trails.

From the Claudius Smith Den, we took the Blue Disc Trail north, further climbing up to some other good views, and then headed down to the Black Ash Swamp outlet. The outlet has a really cool natural dam that acts as a waterfall. From here we met up with the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail again, and took it up the Black Ash Mountain. Upon the descent of the Black Ash Mountain there is a very pretty Mountain Laurel Forest, which was in full bloom with pink and white flowers. Upon meeting up the White Bar Trail, we took it for a short period of time until the Triangle Trail, and we took this long portion of the Triangle Trail back to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail near the beginning of the hike, and then back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park Southern Map

View of Tuxedo from Smith Rock

Eli Inside the Claudius Smith Den Crevice

Eli Hanging  Out the Claudius Smith Den Crevice

Black Rat Snake at the Claudius Smith Den Trail Intersection Cairn

View Atop Claudius Smith Den. Facing South.

View from Claudius Smith Den, Facing Northwest.

Me Atop Claudius Smith Den


With Steve Fishman, Whom I Bumped Into Atop Claudius Smith Den

View on the Blue Disc Trail before Descending to the Black Ash Swamp

Black Ash Swamp Natural Drainage Dam

Large Blueberry Patch Atop Black Ash Mountain on the R-D Trail

Beautiful Pink Mountain Laurels in Bloom on Black Ash Mnt


  1. Sochye/at/ג׳מאיל.comJune 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Hi heshy,

    I really enjoyed going through the blog, the photos are great.

    I live in monsey, any chance we can go hiking together sometime?

  2. Yes, please subscribe and I can contact you by email.

  3. I love Claudius Smith den. The first time I came upon it was in late winter and I was freezing cold. I could smell the fire in the fireplace from the trail. There was a group there with coffee in a french press -- I didn't care if it was Claudius himself. It was welcome and friendly. Great memories of that place.