Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Black Mountain - Letterrock Mountain Loop

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Silvermine Ski Road: Unblazed
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:30
Estimated Distance: 4.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Silvermine Lake, Black Mountain Views
Pros: Good climb and excellent views atop ridge
Cons: None

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I took advantage of my day off on New Years and went hiking. I went driving up Seven Lakes Drive to see if any of the lakes were frozen over and safe to walk on, but they were all posted as unsafe despite being frozen. Despite the cold weather, it had not been consistent, with several balmy days messing up the lake freeze.

I ended up by Silvermine Lake, and decided to hike from there to Black Mountain. Black Mountain is one of my favorite hikes in Harriman, due to its expansive views and beautiful, remote scenery. I headed on the path along the west part of the lake towards the dam, and crossed the icy brook which was quite full due to all the rains and melting snow. There is a rickety homemade bridge that some people built further down the brook to cross it.

I then took the Silvermine Ski Road up towards the intersection of the Appalachian / Ramapo-Dunderberg Trails, and took the dual trails up the short but good climb to the first viewpoint on Black Mountain. This view has an excellent perspective of the lake and parking area about a mile and half in the distance. I then continued along the trails to the summit of Black Mountain, which offers an amazing, uninterrupted south-facing view. I then turned back, went down the mountain the way I came, but then continued along the dual trails up Letterrock Mountain, which is the next mountain over. I took it down to the shelter at the intersection of the Menomine Trail, and then took the Menomine Trail all the way down back to the parking area, arriving right around sunset.

Map of the Route

Sterlingmine Ski Area, with a Dusting of Snow
from a Small Squall a Day Earlier.
All the Big Snow had Melted from the Rain on Sunday

Sterlingmine Lake at the Beginning of the Hike. Looking Northeast.

Frozen  Sterlingmine Lake With a Strange Line Pattern
That Went All the Way From One  Side of the Lake to the Other

Another View of the Frozen Lake

Ruin Behind the Dam of the Lake

Makeshift Bridge Crossing At the Outlet of the Lake
on the Queensboro Brook

An Interesting View of the Lake with the Line Streak Running Through It

And One More View of the Lake

View from the Lower Overlook on Black Mountain
Facing  Southwest Towards Sterlingmine Lake

View From the Upper View of Black Mountain
Facing South Towards Owl Lake

View From Black Mountain Summit Towards the Hudson River.
Facing  Southeast.

Another Southeast Facing View with Haverstraw in the Distance

Another View South Towards Owl Lake

At the Black Mountain Summit

Black Rock View Facing Southwest Towards Letterrock Mountain,
Where I Later Climbed After Descending

Silvermine Lake from the Menomine Trail as Dusk Approaches.

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