Sunday, June 30, 2019

Halfway Mountain & Diamond Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Yellow blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Hillburn Tone Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange blaze
7 Hills Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Scenic area, good climb, great views, and blueberries
Cons: Lots of people at beginning part of hike on weekends

Hiking Partners:
Josef Friedman
Shimmy Rosenberg

This area is one of my most favorite area in Harriman State Park. It features incredible views with nice climbs and scrambles. The weather had been quite hot, and this was no exception.

We parked at Reeves Meadow, which was already quite busy despite being the morning, and took the Pine Meadow Trail to the Stony Brook Trail along the brook. The bridge across Pine Meadow Brook at the junction of the Kakiat Trail was broken and out of commission, with a sign by the pile of wood from the bridge that we will be rebuilding it soon. The water level was low enough to easily cross the brook on foot.

We continued along the Kakiat Trail to the Cascade of Slid waterfall, and then took the HTS Trail up to the view. This view is becoming quite overgrown with less to see. We then continued up the steep rock to the top of Diamond Mountain, at the intersection of the 7 Hills Trail.

There is a great view here, and it remains impressive along the 7 Hills Trail all the way to its descent back to the deep valley of Pine Meadow Brook. We continued along the 7 Hills Trail, crossing the brook, and then taking the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Destroyed Bridge Across Pine Meadow Brook
at the Kakiat and Stony Brook Trail

Shimmy at the Bridge Crossing Site

Cascade of Slid Waterfall

Overgrown View at Halfway Mountain

Continuing our Ascent over Halfway Mountain

Climb up Diamond Mountain from Halfway Mountain

Me on Diamond Mountain

Top of Diamond Mountain, Facing South

Top of Diamond Mountain, Facing Southwest

Another View Facing More West

Shimmy Along the Ridge of  Diamond Mountain

Me on the Diamond Mountain Ridge

View on the 7 Hills Trail on Diamond Mountain

Diamond Mountain View Before the Descent into the Valley

Me at the Last View Before the Descent

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Daters Mountain to Elbow Brush and Claudius Smith Den

Harriman State Park,
Rockland/Orange Counties.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Good scrambles and great views, interesting rock formation
Cons: None

Hiking Partners:
Josef Friedman
Shimmy Rosenberg
Moses Ginsburg and sons

Claudius Smith Den is one of my favorite spots in Harriman. We visited the area from the southern approach, starting at Daters Mountain to Pound Mountain through the Elbow Brush.

We parked at the trailhead at the dead end on on Johnsontown Road, at the start of the Blue Disc Trail. We took the Blue Disc trail up the mountain, bushwacking on the part of the old trail to the view area. This mountain features a steep and challenging climb with an amazing view at the top. We continued along the Blue Disc Trail after the above, along Pound Mountain, to the Elbow Brush.

The Elbow Brush is a rock formation along the Blue Disc trail with a short cliff wall that goes along about 500 feet with several overhands and cave-like holes from talus boulders. The trail goes along the bottom of the formation and goes through a few interesting crevices and small caves. There used to be an alternate trail along the top of the formation as well, but the blazes have since been removed by the Trail Conference.

We continued from the Elbow Brush a short distance to Claudius Smith Den, which we climbed up for the top view. Claudius Smith Den features a crevice through cracked rock, with a beautiful view on the top along a steep cliff.

After Claudius Smith Den we turned around, and went on the old trail above the Elbow Brush formation. I don't know why they removed this spur trail. It is still there and easy to follow, but the blazes are gone. We continued along the Blue Disc Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Approaching the First View

Shimmy Scrambling Up the Daters Mountain

Daters Mountain View

Me at the Daters Mountain View

Me on the Rock at Daters Mountain View

Me in the Distance at Daters Mountain

Another View at the Daters Mountain View

Some more of Daters Mountain

One more at Daters

Our Group Hiking along the Blue Disc Trail

Me at the Elbow Brush

Elbow Brush Cave

Interesting Rock Formations at Elbow Brush

Josef at Claudius Smith Den Summit

Me at Claudius Smith Den

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bellvale Mountain AT to Village Vista

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area
Greenwood Lake Village area,
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Village Vista Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Pros: Quiet area, very scenic view
Cons: First park of hike avoids views and is rather boring

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Bellvale Mountain is a long and narrow mountain starting near Warwick and going alongside Greenwood Lake and into New Jersey, where it is called Bearfort Mountain. Bellvale Mountain has interesting rock formations and craggy outcrops which make great views. However, most of this hike lacks any views or outcrops. The only view is at the end of this hike, but it is a spectacular one.

We parked at Route 17A at Mount Peter, and took the Appalachian Trail south along Bellvale Mountain. Once reaching the Village Vista Trail, the trail reaches the craggy outcrop with a very nice view of Greenwood Lake and Greenwood Lake Village. We turned around after the Village Vista, and took the Village Vista Trail down the mountain. We had requested an Uber to take his from the Village Vista Trailhead back to our car, but the driver cancelled on us, so we bushwacked back up the Appalachian Trail and returned to our car.

The weather was cloudy and muggy with rain in the forecast. It started raining steady as soon as we completed the hike and got to our car.

Map of the Route

Me at the Trailhead Information Panel

At the Powerline on the AT

Powerlines on the Trail

Me on the Appalachian Trail in a Mountain Laurel Forest

Village Vista Trail Trailhead

Approaching the Rock Exposure at the Village Vista View

Village Vista View, Overlooking Greenwood Lake

Looking South toward Greenwood Lake

At the Village Vista View, Facing North

Another View Facing South

Shimmy at the Village Vista View

Pretty Pink Flowers at the Village Vista View

Village Vista View Facing Northeast

Zoomed into Greenwood Lake

Northern Part of Greenwood Lake

View into Greenwood Lake Village from the Village Vista Trail

Zoomed into Greenwood Lake Village