Sunday, August 9, 2020

Jackie Jones Fire Tower and Big Hill

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain (SBM) Trail: Yellow blaze
Long Path: Green blaze
Old Turnpike: Unblazed

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4 Miles

Pros: Great views, peaceful area
Cons: First part of hike busy
Hike Type: Eight Loop

Hiking Partner:
Joseph Friedman

Google Maps of Parking:

This was another very hot summer hike. The weather for much of the summer this year has been very hot, and this Sunday was no exception. We parked on Gate Hill Road at the SBM Trailhead parking, and took the trail through the ORAK ruin, an old abandoned estate with the gatehouse and some of the foundations still extant. We spent a few minutes exploring the ORAK ruin and then continued along the trail. There were fallen branches everywhere from Tropical Storm Isaias the previous week, including a large tree blocking the trail on the way to Jackie Jones. This required a bushwack around the tree.

This part of the hike was busy, and we passed several groups on the way. We passed the Jackie Jones communication tower, and then shortly after reached the much shorter fire tower. There were some people on the tower, so we waiting for them to descend before going to the top. I was surprised to see how the state of the tower had deteriorated since the recent refurbishment. I guess the influx of all the Corona-era hikers have taken a toll on the tower. Near the top of the tower was a gaping hole in the side railing, which made for a nerve-wracking entrance to the top, but the 360 degree view from the top was fantastic as always.

We descended the tower, and continued along the SBM Trail, and then took the trail up the short but steep ascent to Big Hill. We took a short break at the shelter, where there is a nice view, and then descended on the Long Path. We then took the Old Turnpike, a wide woods road to the unmarked path that heads towards Jackie Jones, and then took the paved Jackie Jones communication tower road back to the bottom to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Harriman State Park Sign at the Parking Area

Me in the Old Gatehouse of the ORAK Ruin

Old Abandoned Structure at the ORAK Ruin

Me in the ORAK Ruin

Fireplace at the ORAK Ruin

Jackie Jones Fire Tower
Lake Welch Beach While Climbing the Fire Tower

Full View of Lake Welch from the Fire Tower

Jackie Jones Communication Tower

View Facing East Towards High Tor and Haverstraw from the Fire Tower

Me in the Fire Tower

Me Descending the Fire Tower

Another View of the Fire Tower

Fire Tower in the Distance While Ascending Big Hill

Approaching the Big Hill Shelter

Big Hill Shelter in Harriman

View from Big Hill

Me at Big Hill

Me on the Rock at Big Hill

View from Big Hill Facing East Towards Hi Tor

View from Big Hill Facing Northeast Viewing the Hudson River

Side Growing Trees Along Old Turnpike

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