Hike Recommendations

Where should you hike today? Where is a good swimming hole? Are the Mountain Laurel out in Harriman yet?

Try searching our Hike Finder but if you don't find the perfect hike, try asking here.

 

 

BrianSnat's picture

In central NJ you have Round Valley Reservoir.  Round Valley has primitive, hike in (or boat in) campsites that are about a 3-6 mile walk depending on which site you choose and the entire trail is about 12 miles.  Though it is a public campground the sites are well spaced and give you a semi wilderness feel.  Reservations can be made here http://www.reserveamerica.com/campgroundDirectoryList.do?contractCode=nj... Harriman State Park is another option.  There is a huge network of hiking trails.  You need to camp near a shelter at Harriman but not necessarily right at it.  Two of my favorite short backpacks there are to the Tom Jones Mountain shelter and the West Mountain shelter.  You can use both as a base camp and explore the extensive trail network. Maybe a bit past your 2 hour limit are the Catskills, which offer some of the best hiking and camping in the region.  There are numerous trips were you can cobble together  5-6 mile hikes  and spend the night.  Check out the Catskill map set in this website as well as one of the guide books sold here.  Some short trips that come to mind are the Indian Head  Mt loop.  Black Dome loop.   North Point using the Escarpment Trail and returning via Marys Glen Trail. Panther Mountain end to end, or just a hike up to Giant Ledge to camp and back down the net day.  In the western Catskills there is a trail network around Trout Pond and Mud Pond that offers almost exactly what you are looking for.  There are also several public campgrounds in the Catskills that you can use as a base for day hikes.  My favorites there are Woodland Valley and North/South Lake.
Fdnavy's picture

Thank you. I didn't notice the reply until today. I will look into those. 
bphillips28's picture

Does anyone have any recommendations for a challenging loop hike near Tarrytown?  I woulld rather not drive more than an hour, but hoping to be out alll day (12 - 14 miles).  Unfortunatley it has to be a loop cause I am going alone. Thanks in advance.
Michael K7's picture

Can't you just take the thruway to the Palisades right up to Bear Mountain? That should be less than an hour driving, no?  Once you're at BM, you have many possibilities for hikes, but i can't give you any specific recommendations, as i don't go that far north in the park. But you could check the TC website hike finder for challenging  hikes near BM and look for one that is a loop. The closest place i can think of on your side of the river is Cold Spring, not sure if that's under an hour driving from TTown though. If you're willing to drive to Beacon, there is some serious hill climbing on Mt Beacon. I haven't been to either of these ares in a few years, so again you'll have to rely on the TC hike finder (or others who may chime in) for specific recommendations. Lastly, something to consider is if you're leaving from TTown, you could always take the train from there to Cold Spring, and hike to Beacon, then take the train from Beacon back to TTown. You could also go in the opposite direction, but i highly prefer the first, as the climb on the Breakneck Ridge Trail to the fire tower is one of the best hikes (with some spectacular views) that i've done.
bphillips28's picture

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it.  I am going to check out Mt Beacon next, good suggestion.  
Fdnavy's picture

Hello all I'm looking for a kid friendly first overnight backpacking trip.  Kids are 5 and 10.  Would like something with a view and not too far from a water source If possible.  Would like a spot in the Catskills and near Harriman or any other areas you guys would recommend.  Only one I can think of That wouldn't be to hard on kids is Bald Rocks in Harriman.  Thanks for your help
DeborahTaxi's picture

I have brought many campers into Harriman Park to stay at Beaver Pond Campsite or Sebago Cabins. These would be good locations with kids - day hikes and swimming available at both locations. I generally meet taxi customers at Suffern train station or even Sloatsburg or Tuxedo. (find me on google )
BrianSnat's picture

West Mountain in Harriman isn't too bad for kids.  There is a bit of a climb in the beginning, but from there it's all ridgeline to the shelter. Nice view from near the shelter. A fairly easy out and back in the Catskills is Huckleberry Point.   You can camp all the way out by the point, but there is no water there. If you want to be near water the trail to Huckleberry Point crosses a stream and there are options for camping not far from the stream and trail.  From there you have a base camp for a short hike to Huckleberry Pt or a longer one to Kaaterskill High Peak. The view from Huckleberry Point is a memorable one. The East Branch Navesink River is another flat and easy Catskill backpack.  The river is only about a mile from parking (at the end of Denning Rd). There is an unmarked  but distinct trail that follows the Navesink to its end in the col between Slide Mtn and Cornell Mtn. There are numerous options for camping along that trail.  The stream is scenic and  fun for the kids to play in and again it could be a base camp for hikes to Cornell, Slide or Table Mtns if you would like a great view (Cornell has the best of the three).
jon.morozowski's picture

I posted in another threat about wanting to take my pooch on his first overnight hiking trip.  I was originally planning to head up to the Catskills, but due to some other things happening this weekend we're going to have to stay a bit more local (I live in Union County, NJ).  Does anyone have any info on the dog policy in Stoke State Forest?  I know that you are usually not allowed to have dogs overnight in the campgrounds at NJ State Forests, but do the same rules apply to backcountry camping?  Also, does anyone have a good route to/from Sunrise Mountain?  I'm looking for something not too long (<8 miles round trip) and not too strenuous for the little guy.  Any ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks!   Jon
BrianSnat's picture

I believe dogs are fine in state parks and forests but need to be on a leash.  And they will ticket you if you are caught.
jon.morozowski's picture

I am assuming that you mean if I am caught with my dog off leash?  That's not a problem for me as I always keep my little guy on a leash.  He's still pretty young and animals fascinate him so I definitely wouldn't want him to run off after something and put either him or the other animal at risk.
dick wilson's picture

I have a few days off next week and I am looking to go someplace to do some good day hikes.  Not too cold/snowy.  Will take a short flight or a long drive.   Would like to stay in a hotel, and get up each morning to a selection of 5-6 hour day hikes.
lbwexler's picture

Any recomendations for least crowded areas of Harriman? (Regular marked trails or woods roads.)  Looking to go backpacking this weekend with my 12 year old daughter.  We are prioritizing solitude (vs. say, best views) and having trouble choosing from all the options! I have the NYNJTC Harriman Guide and Map, but it does not give much help re: usage.
Sully's picture

You might want to check out the Almost Perpendcular/Claudius Smith Den Loop. I've done it a few times and have not seen many other hikers at all. It's relatively moderate with a steep section or two, but nothing that a healthy adult nor a 12 year old couldn't handle. Hope this helps a little :)
Michael K7's picture

You're definitely better off in the Northern part of the park, but as Daniel says, stay away from the Bear Mountain area. Maybe try hiking the Long Path in the north western area of the park. Have fun!
Daniel Chazin's picture

I will not answer the question directly, but will say the following:  The two most heavily used areas in Harriman are the area from the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center to Pine Meadow Lake and the area around Bear Mountain.  The Askoti-Skannatati parking area also gets a lot of use.  If you steer away from these very popular areas, you are likely to find at least relative solitude.
lbwexler's picture

Ha!  I knew there was something a bit awkward about this question.  :-) I think you handled it perfectly, and your thoughtful response is much appreciated.   That info is what I really needed most....   Best Regards, Lee    
harorld's picture

Any recomendations for a Catskills 2-5 mile hike + overnight? My wife and I are planning on driving up in the next few weekends.   Would love to set up a campsite in a spot with views (under 3,500 ft) and close-ish to water (if possible). We were thinking of Hunter Mountain but I feel like there will probably be a lot of people around because of the fire tower and whatnot. Would definately prefer somewhere quieter but gorgeous.  
BrianSnat's picture

You can do the loop over Indian Head Mountain starting on the Jimmy Dolan Notch trail, and returing via the Devils Path, with an added out and back to Echo Lake to spend the night there.  Views galore and a water site.   Another possibilty is the Indian Head Loop, Going clockwise, starting on the Devils Path and returning via Jimmy Dolan Notch.  There is a scenic, secluded stream that is a short (about .2 mile) bushwack west of the JD Notch Trail (actually the trail once paralled  the streambed  and you can still see some faded blazes) with a number of nice, secluded camping spots along it.    It's hard to find a prettier place to camp than Giant Ledge, but you won't be alone up there if it's a weekend, especially a nice fall weekend.   In the western Catskills there is the Trout Pond area.  No high peaks to climb, just hills, but Trout Pond is a very scenic spot to camp. You can even get a head start by driving up the night before and camping along Russell Brook Road (southern approach is washed out but you can still come in from the north).   Then there is the Neversink River East Branch.  Come in from Denning and park in the designated parking lot at the end of Denning Road.  From there it is only about a mile and a half hike to a legal campsite (well there was a shelter there, but I think it may be gone). Or you can continue upstream along an unmarked but distinct trail that follows the Neversink and there are numerous nice campsites along it (though most are too close to the water to be legal).  I like to use this area as a base and day hike to the surrounding peaks (Slide, Wittenberg, Cornell, Friday, Peekamose, etc.) Another option is Huckleberry point.  At about the halfway spot to Huckleberry Point is a stream. If you bushwack south along the eastern side of the stream  there are several very nice places to camp, totally off the beaten path.    Of course in the Catskills you officially have to be 150 feet from the water if it is not a shelter or designated campsite.   Hope this helps.  
jon.morozowski's picture

Are there any restrictions on backcounty camping with dogs in any of those areas?  I'm looking to bring my dog on his first overnight trip and would like to do something relatively short for his first trip.