Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lake Massawippa and Brooks Hollow

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Total time:
1:25 min
Estimated Distance: 2.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for off the beaten path hike
Points of Interest: Abandoned structures, Lake Massawippa Dam
Pros: Scenic lake
Cons: Very eerie location

Google Map of Parking:

I had been in this area on my hike several weeks prior (details on this hike), and bushwacked from the Long Path down from Howell Mountain through Brooks Hollow to the dam. I had noticed an additional trail going through the valley but I didn't have the ability to properly explore it, and it wasn't on the maps. I also had wanted to come back to further explore the area around the abandoned structures.

I parked on Route 6 opposite the dam on the small parking spot for the camp road. I crossed the street and took a slight bushwack over the road cut towards the old paved road heading north from Route 6 on the eastern side of Lake Massawippa. The road is very overgrown but is very distinct. It goes through an area of numerous abandoned and destroyed structures, and is quite creepy. According to the Harriman Trails book by William J. Myles, this used to be a boy scout camp. The old remaining structures are definitely creepy, and for those who enjoy this type of exploration, this is a great place. Few people are familiar with this area as its not on a hiking trail, and is in a lightly traversed region of the park.

The old road loses its pavement at the camp, but it continues distinctly as it reaches the brook. At this point it disappears, but its only a short bushwack to get to the Long Path from here. I did that bushwack just to measure. Due to the high volume of water, crossing the brook proved difficult.

I then turned around back on that old camp road, and then near the lake dam veered off walk along one side of the dam to get some good lake views. I then turned around, headed back for the path, which I took to Route 6, and then walked west for just bit back to my car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails Northern Route

Frozen Seasonal Pond off the Path to the Abandoned Structures

The first of the Abandoned Structures

The Largest of the Abandoned Structures

Several Abandoned Structures, Presumably Bunkhouses

Dilapidated Structure on the Verge of Collapse

The Same Building as Above, Zoomed In

Partially Frozen Lake Massawippa from the Dam

The Same View, Zoomed Out

Lake Massawippa from the Dam, Looking Towards Brooks Mountain

Lake Massawippa from the Dam, Looking South.
Note Some of the Abandoned Structures Beyond the Lake's End.


  1. Those camps have been abandoned for a good 50 years. If not more I have been going to that lake( in my early years) to swim . There was a rope swing off a tree just beyond a large rock before you get to the abandon cabins. This lake is unusually deep .. to the point I have gone with snorkel gear and a great set of Lungs but still could not reach the car that it sticking headlights up( keep in mind this is just off a rock. Great scenic area. Look for times of old . I have found canteens buttons, many flasks. It's a very quiet place. Enjoy your next visit

  2. I went to that camp for a few weeks each summer for a few years in the early '70s. I'm 55 now. It was a boys camp named camp Orenda then it was part of a group of camps in the area. There was a girls camp across Rt.6 (Long Mountain parkway) named camp Mohawk. My brother went to Camp Sabago nearby as well.
    I really appreciate Heshy posting pics of these dilapidated structures as I have vivid memory of a camp in its hayday with many cabins that housed an assigned camp counselor and about 8 kids each. There were also a few shower/latrine cabins and a large main dining/main office building.
    Again thanks for the pics,Heshy. Abandoned now but brought back a lot of memories.

  3. I was just on the property this past fall,
    I attended Orenda in the early 80’s, very sad to see the present condition of the camp. I have Photos but I’m unable to share them.

  4. I too went to Camp Orenda: two weeks each in 1976 and 1977 - Boy's Athletic Club. Chartered bus left from a building in Manhattan, over the George Washington Bridge. My counselors name was Cliff. If I remember correctly, accommodations were: there were Native American style tee-pees, tents with hard floor platform, open bunk houses (no windows or doors but solid roof) and enclosed cabins for the counselors & group leaders. The main lodge was where meals were served (no elbows on the tables!) and where camp meetings were held. Used to be a raffle / contest - each camper would put their name on a piece of paper and it would go into a bowl. If your name was selected, you got to stay in a enclosed cabin. There was two enclosed wooden paddocks in the lake for supervised swimming; shuffleboard, canoeing, rowboating, hiking, archery, wildlife identification and many different craft classes. Camp mascot was a very tame raccoon named (what else?) Rocky. On the Saturday night before the two weeks ended, there would be huge celebration with teepee style fire. I was of course too young to appreciate it then, but good memories.