Sunday, December 26, 2010

Harriman State Park, NY (File Factory Hollow/Panther Mountain)

ABOUT THE PARK:  New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

GPS Coordinates:  41.185122 -74.07385

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Diltz Road Hiker Parking

TRAIL MAP:  NY/NJ Trail Conference Southern Harriman Bear Mountain Trails Map 118

HIKE DISTANCE:  5.45 miles

From the hiker parking lot on Diltz Road, take the red dash on white trail beyond the barrier.
A short distance ahead turn right and follow the red on white trail along the power cut.
When the red on white trail leaves the power cut, stay with the red on white trail briefly then turn right on the unmarked trail to the left of the power cut; cross over a creek at .95 mile.
On the other side of the creek turn left on the unmarked File Factory Hollow trail which will run parallel to the creek. 
After rock hopping over the creek twice, the trail is intermittently marked with old horse trail disks. (According to the 2010 publication of the map, horses are no longer allowed in the park.)

At 1.8 miles turn left on unmarked Woodtown Road...
Then at 2 miles left on the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail:
The trail will now become more challenging with rock scrambles.

At Panther Mountain, views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline:
At 3.9 miles turn left on the red square on white trail:
At 4.55 miles turn left on the power cut trail back to the parking lot:

[  0.00]  Start at red dash on white trailhead beyond barrier at Diltz Road hiker parking lot
[  0.20]  Left on red dash on white then immediately right on unmarked
[  0.95]  Cross over creek; turn left on unmarked File Factory Hollow
[  1.20]  Rock hop over creek; take either fork; rock hop back over creek
[  1.40]  After huge rock boulder on right, keep straight at intersection ***
[  1.80]  Left on unmarked Woodtown Road
[  2.00]  Left on yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain trail
[  2.10]  Keep right on yellow as red arrow on white starts to the left
[  2.80]  Cross over red Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy trail keeping straight on yellow
[  3.00]  Cross over unmarked trail at cairns keeping straight on yellow
[  3.70]  Views at Panther Mountain
[  3.90]  Rock hop over creek; left on red square on white as yellow/red square goes right
[  4.40]  Turn right on red square at power cut (no access to power cut trail if you turn left without going through thick growth of thorny vines)
[  4.55]  Turn left; where red square goes right at a large cairn, turn left on power cut trail
[  5.40]  Turn right on red dash on white
[  5.45]  Arrive back at Diltz Road parking lot

***  In case you are wondering what lies to the right of the intersection beyond the huge boulder at 1.4 miles...

A right turn on the unmaintained Iron Mountain Trail would bring to you an intersection marked (as of this writing) by orange tape and three blue blazes in a vertical line on the other side of the tree at .4 mile. 
Turn right here and follow the trail for .4 miles, sometimes marked by old white disks and some cairns, to views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline (almost the same views you get at Panther Mountain).
I had originally intended to loop around here from the trail along the power cut but once the trail left the power cut, I lost it and had to backtrack.

Back at the intersection with the orange tape, left would bring you to a no trespassing sign .5 mile ahead just before Woodtown Road.  This is not indicated as a restricted area on the map but apparently it is. In case the sign was maybe old and randomly left there, I turned left on Woodtown road heading towards Second Reservoir only to find many more NO TRESPASSING/KEEP OUT/WATERSHED PROPERTY signs so I turned around and headed back.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Norvin Green State Forest, NJ (Manaticut Point - Lake Sonoma - Long Hill)

NY/NJ Trail Conference (this hike is in the "North of West Brook Road" section)

GPS Coordinates:  41.09134,-74.319981

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There is no parking lot - park along the north side of Crescent Drive at the curb.
Crescent Drive parking heading towards Burnt Meadow Road
TRAIL MAPNY/NJ Trail Conference North Jersey Trails Map 115
The yellow-blazed Manaticut Point trail is a new trail that is not on this version of the map.  Sections of the trail are shown as a dashed line.


HIKE DISTANCE:  8.5 miles

Some other options:
Walk on Crescent Drive back towards Burnt Meadow Road and watch for the start of the yellow-blazed trail on the left.  (Where the yellow-blazed trail comes out at the end of the hike is in the opposite direction a short distance beyond the curve in Crescent Drive.)

New yellow-blazed Manaticut Trail
Lake Sonoma
Overlook Rock
View From Overlook Rock
Lake Sonoma from Overlook Rock
Blue-Blazed Hewitt Butler Trail
Long Hill Summit at Ugly Power Cut
View from Manaticut Point

[  0.00]  Walk on Crescent Drive towards Burnt Meadow Road; left on yellow trail
[  0.85]  Stay left on yellow when orange joins in from the right
[  0.95]  Turn right on orange when yellow leaves to the left
[  1.10]  Lake Sonoma on the right; trail follows Lake Sonoma
[  1.35]  Trail turns left away from Lake Sonoma, goes uphill, crosses unmarked woods road
[  1.45]  Rock hop across stream, trail turns left on woods road then right on foot trail
[  1.85]  Keep straight on orange/white when white comes in from the right
[  1.90]  Orange ends at large rock on left, Overlook Rock with views; retrace steps on orange/white back to where white trail joined in, turn left on white trail
[  2.20]  Cross over badly eroded woods road
[  2.50]  White trail joins woods road; crosses stream, leaves woods road to the left
[  2.60]  Scenic Overlook
[  2.90]  Cross straight over power cut on woods road; other side of power cut white leaves woods road on foot trail into woods; while trail ends short distance ahead; turn right on blue
[  3.80]  Scenic Overlook; turn around and head back on blue
[  4.65]  White goes left; keep straight on blue
[  5.15]  Overlook to the west
[  5.45]  Summit of Long Hill
[  7.25]  Yellow joins blue from the left; continue on yellow/blue
[  7.65]  Manaticut Point; left on yellow when blue leaves to the right
[  8.40]  Yellow trail ends at Crescent Drive, left on Crescent Drive back to car

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Westchester County, NY

ABOUT THE PARK:  Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Westchester County Parks

GPS coordinates:  41.247751,-73.594673

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These directions take you into the park where you may need to pay a parking fee (currently $8) year round on weekends, every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  After the toll booth turn right at the sign for Michigan Road.

Online Trail Map
This map does not show newer trails within the park which are part of this hike.  Apparently you can get an updated version at the park but I was not able to locate one.  I crudely drew in the new parts of the Rock Trail (blazed black RT on white squares) in black along with new intersection numbers on the map below.

This hike of 10.35 miles incorporates both the Leatherman Trail and Rocks Trail.
Many loops of varying distances are possible.  Here are some other options:
6 miles - Leatherman's Cave and Spy Rock
7 miles - Rocks Trail

From the Michigan Road parking area, head towards the cul-de-sac where you will find the trailhead to the right.
Although this has been a park where hunting is prohibited, a sign on the information board indicates this has changed.

This hike captures most of the points of interest of the southern half of the park.
Side trail to Leatherman's Cave
Leatherman's Cave
Click here to read about the Leatherman.  My dog in the cave - it's more spacious than it looks from the outside.

Most of the original trails are woods roads.

But once on the RT (Rock Trail), a newer trail, which incorporates 6 named rocks within the park, the woods roads will become footpaths which are more fun and challenging to hike and not heavily used like the woods roads.  This new part, drawn in on the map above, follows the ridge line so in the winter it's a scenic hike from high up above.
The named rocks the RT trail passes:
Spy Rock
Castle Rock
Raven Rocks
Indian Rock Shelter
Dancing Rock
Bear Rock Petroglyph

[  0.00]  Shortly beyond info board at the trailhead turn right on red/green at intersection 70
[  0.35]  Keep right on red/green at intersection 53 where green goes left
[  0.40]  Keep left on red/green at intersection 54 where white trail goes right
[  0.55]  Turn right on LL trail at intersection 31 where red/green goes left
[  0.85]  Keep straight on LL at intersection 26 where LL also goes left
[  1.05]  Turn left on LL at intersection 27 where white goes right
[  1.20]  Trail goes up rocks to bench at overlook
[  1.55]  Just before intersection 29 make a sharp right on white trail to Leatherman's cave
[  1.60]  Return all the way to intersection 29 and turn left on LL where unmarked goes right
[  1.75]  Turn right on white trail at intersection 28 where LL goes left
[  2.15]  Turn left on unmarked for short distance then right on red/green at intersection 30
[  2.40]  Keep straight on red/green at intersection 32 where white goes left
[  2.60]  Keep right on red/green at intersection 34 where white goes left
[  2.95]  Turn right on white at intersection 38 where red/green goes left
[  3.10]  Keep straight on RT at intersection 39 where RT also goes left
[  3.55]  Arrive at Spy Rock; continue down from Spy Rock on RT trail
             **From this point forward new sections of RT trail not shown on map.**
[  3.90]  After steep descent and through hemlock grove, left on RT which is woods road
[  4.10]  RT trail leaves woods road to right as foot path
[  4.15]  Cross over brook
[  4.55]  Cross over brook
[  4.65]  Cross over power cut; just after power cut Castle Rock on left
[  4.90]  Keep right on RT at intersection 59 where white goes left
[  5.55]  Raven Rocks
[  5.65]  Turn hard right on RT at intersection 48 where red goes left and right
[  6.20]  Turn left on RT at intersection 58 where right goes to a bridge
             **New portion of RT trail reconnects with trails on map.**
[  6.45]  Turn left on RT at intersection 49 where white goes right
[  6.60]  Turn right on RT at intersection 18 where white goes left; Indian Rock Shelter on right
[  6.75]  RT trail ends at intersection 19; left on yellow/red trail
[  6.85]  Straight on yellow/red at intersection 20 where white goes right
[  7.00]  Keep straight on yellow where red goes left (did not see intersection 33 sign)
[  7.25]  Turn left on beginning of RT at intersection 22 where yellow goes right
[  7.45]  Keep straight on RT at intersection 36 where red goes left and right
[  7.80]  Turn left on white at intersection 37 where RT goes straight
[  8.00]  Dancing Rock; continue following white to loop around back to RT
[  8.25]  Left on RT at intersection 60
[  8.40]  Trail follows power cut briefly
[  8.60]  Bear Rock Petroglyph on right
[  8.70]  Right on white at intersection 39 where RT goes left
[  8.90]  Turn right on red/green at intersection 38 where white goes left
[  9.35]  Left on green at intersection 35 where red goes right and white sharp left
[10.05]  Right on red/green at intersection 53 where red/green also goes left
[10.35]  Arrive back at Michigan Road parking lot

Monday, December 6, 2010

Belleplain State Forest, NJ

ABOUT THE PARK:  New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection


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GPS coordinates 39.244861,-74.857285 were for the correct location (Interpretive Center parking lot at Lake Nummy) but my GPS did not recognize some of the roads and kept taking me in circles trying to get me to turn on roads that were blocked off - plan on having to navigate to the Interpretive Center on your own once you reach the park.
There are 4 parking spots in front of the Interpretive Center with 3 additional spots on the opposite side of the road.

When I inquired at the park office I was told they were out of maps and they are due to be reprinted Spring 2011.  This is a picture of the map outside which is in a couple of locations throughout the park.  Click on the picture for a larger version.
This map shows the trails for this hike:

The online campground map shows other trails around Lake Nummy.

East Creek Trail Loop - 6.75 miles 
East Creek Trail Loop with Ponds Trail out and back - 10.75 miles 
(Note:  Park map says East Creek Trail is 7.13 miles; I measured 6.75 miles.  Park map says Ponds Trail is 2.22 miles each way, I measured 2 miles each way. Since I am using a pedometer my measurements could be slightly off.)

Facing the Interpretive Center, walk along the road to the right of the building towards a sign that points to the left and says "Trash/Recycling Center Campers Only"
Turn left at that sign and you will see the white-blazed East Creek Trail on the right just before the trash/recycling area.
The trail is marked with square white disks, sometimes painted blazes and brown posts.  Trail surface is packed, no loose sand, often covered with pine needles or leaves.  Some areas have roots on the walking surface.
Trail briefly joins sand road skirting a field.
New section of boardwalk over swampy area.
Several paved roads are crossed along the trail.  Although traffic is allowed, I never saw a car except when arriving at Route 347 at 2.7 miles, where there is a large volume of high speed traffic.  Turn right at Route 347 and walk along the grassy shoulder towards East Creek Pond.
On the other side of the pond there is a small parking lot which might also be an option for this hike to avoid park fees in season.
To continue on the blue-blazed Ponds Trail, carefully cross over Route 347 from the parking lot.
The blue-blazed Ponds Trail has not been maintained and is overgrown.  It was passable at this time of year with a lot of ducking under branches, skirting around blow downs and picking through thorny growth.  I doubt it would be passable in the summer.  I also noted more deer stands in trees that I have ever seen in one place at one time so definitely not a place you want to hike on a hunting day.
Overgrown Trail
Blow Down Blocking Trail
Pickle Factory Pond at the end of the Ponds Trail.
If you do opt to hike the Ponds Trail, at the Pickle Factory Pond, turn around and retrace back to the small parking lot on Route 347 where you will find the continuation of the white-blazed East Creek Trail.
East Creek Trail skirts East Creek Pond

The trail will pass through a couple of attractive groves.
Arrive back at Lake Nummy at the end of the hike turning right on the paved road to return to the Interpretive Center parking lot.

[  0.00]  Follow road to right of Interpretive center; left at recycling sign; right at trail sign
[  0.90]  Wooden foot bridge
[  0.95]  Cross paved road (Sunset Road)
[  1.00]  Trail becomes gravel road skirting along edge of field
[  1.05]  Trail leaves gravel road at end of field to the right as foot trail
[  1.40]  Turn right at unmarked intersection; cross bridge
[  1.50]  Long boardwalk
[  1.90]  Bridge
[  1.95]  Bridge/boardwalk
[  2.00]  Trail goes through laurel tunnel
[  2.40]  Cross bridge; traffic sounds
[  2.60]  Left at fork
[  2.70]  Turn right on Route 347; proceed to parking area opposite side of East Creek Pond
[  3.00]  Cross busy road from parking area to blue-blazed Ponds Trail
[  3.25]  Right at fork
[  4.20]  Cross over paved road (Lehner Road)
[  4.50]  Turn left at T-intersection where double blue blaze on tree ahead indicates right turn
[  4.60]  Turn right at field; turn right at other end of field on woods road
[  5.00]  Arrive at Delsea Drive, the end of Ponds Trail at Pickle Factory Pond; retrace
[  7.00]  Cross over Route 347 to gravel parking lot for continuing East Creek Trail loop.
[  7.20]  Trail goes right up to lake before veering left
[  7.80]  Boardwalk then left to cross dirt road (Tom Field Trail)
[  8.90]  Cross paved road (Sunset Road)
[  9.40]  Cross over dirt road
[  9.50]  Cross over dirt road (Tom Field Trail)
[  9.90]  Cross paved road
[10.40]  Cross 4 bridges
[10.50]  Turn left at intersection with trail post but no turn directions; turn right on paved road; follow road along Lake Nummy
[10.75]  Arrive back at Interpretive Center parking lot