Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fahnestock State Park, NJ - Three Lakes Trail and Appalachian Trail

Fahnestock State Park - NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

GPS Coordinates 41.420704, -73.868597

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East Hudson Trail Map #103 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
I used the 2010 edition of the map (2012 edition just came out) which showed two scenic views along this route.  Both were overgrown so for views, this hike is best done when leaves are down.

Reverse Lollipop to Canopus Hill - 11.4 miles
Three Lakes and Appalachian Trail Loop - 4.65 miles

Canopus Hill -

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 1,393.6 to 1,397.9

This section of the blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail does not seem to be used much at all.  It alternates from woods...
.... to rocks....
... to very overgrown with lots of well-established spider webs to walk through that are impossible to get out of your hair.
I had wanted to take a short umarked side trail to Duck Pond.  I never did find the trail but everything off of the marked trail in that direction is off limits anyway.  There are plenty of these signs as reminders.
The trail crosses a yellow-blazed horse trail.
The blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail ends at the red-blazed Catfish Loop.
The red-blazed Catfish Loop was about as unused and overgrown as the blue trail was - except through rocky sections.
Old stone walls crisscross throughout this hike.
A little bit of a view magnified with the camera.
The trails goes through an interesting crevice.
From the top of the last rock in the crevice, a little bit of a view to the left.
Marker overload where the trail crosses another horse trail.
The last little bit of mountain laurel for the year.
Although there are several rocky sections, the white-blazed Appalachian Trail has some smooth sections also.
A memorial on the AT just before crossing South Highland Road.
Lots of slugs on the trail.
A little but of a view, magnified, from Canopus Hill where there was supposed to be a view.
This gives a better idea of the actual size of the view.
Looked at the pretty blue skies through the treetops on our break.
A ruin back at the parking lot.

[  0.00]   Cross Dennytown Road slightly to the left from the parking lot to begin on the combined white-blazed AT/blue-blazed Three Lakes Trail; after a short distance keep right on the blue trail when the AT goes left
[  0.40]  Cross over yellow-blazed horse trail
[  0.55]  Keep straight when side trail to the right goes to restricted area
[  1.00]  Cross swampy area then keep straight on red when blue ends
[  1.90]  Very limited view
[  2.15]  Cross creek
[  2.45]  Keep straight (left) at unmarked fork - have to turn around to see red marker
[  2.75]  Brief rock scramble up
[  2.85]  Go through rock crevice
[  3.05]  Rock hop creek
[  3.15]  Cross over yellow-blazed horse trail
[  3.45]  Right on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail when red continues straight (or turn left on the AT for the 4.65 mile loop)
[  5.00]  Memorial on left before wooden beam bridge then turn right on paved South Highland Road briefly before turning left to continue on AT (the AT actually continues to the right just after the bridge before the road but it is hard to see - more obvious on the return route)
[  6.10]  Cross paved Canopus Hill Road
[  6.20]  Rock hop creek
[  6.75]  Very limited views off trail to the left from camp site
[  6.90]  Nice flat rock on right for break spot after descending slightly from Canopus Hill peak; retrace
[  7.60]  Rock hop creek
[  7.70]  Cross paved Canopus Hill Road
[  8.65]  Cross paved South Highland Road then right over wooden beam bridge
[10.20]  Keep straight on AT when red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail crosses over
[11.00]  Very limited view to the right
[11.40]  Blue trail joins in from left; cross paved Dennytown Road
[11.45]  Back at parking lot


  1. I live in the area and in fact was hiking near you the same day on Sunken Mine Rd which intersects the Three Lakes Trail. Both of these are pretty much less traveled, especially by the locals who know the issues. Weekenders do them most often, but usually only once. Three Lakes has been a mess for a long time. The Yellow/Blue connection was severed due to beaver dams and other problems. The Catfish Loop is bad on the feet and doesn't prvide much in the way of views. You should try the Candlewood Hill Loop. Park at the end of Bell Hollow and walk up to Sunken Mine (.5 m), turn right until you see the Red Candlewood Trail on the right and climb up to the top to enjoy a great view. There uses to be a Gezebo up there but someone burned it down. Continue down the side of the hill to Bell Hollow back to your car. Not long and less strenuous in this direction. Should take about 1.5 to 2 hours.

    1. How nice to get some firsthand insider info - thanks! If you come back and see this, I have a couple of questions. As you outlined the route, that is way too short for me. I have about a 2 hour drive to get there so I have to hike 10 miles minimum to warrant the drive. There is parking at the end of Bell Hollow? (Parking not shown on map.) Do you know if dogs are allowed on the Sunk Mine Road/Candlewood Hill Trail portion that runs along the scout reservation? I know dogs are not allowed on the blue trail through the scout reservation. In order for me to make a long enough loop, I would incorporate the Appalachian Trail and probably Three Lakes and/or Old Mine Railroad to loop around - is that the flooded part you are referring to?


  2. Yes
    I can give you a 10+ miler and make the Candlewood Hill part the end. Park at end of Bell Hollow which ends and becomes a very rocky eroded woods rd. Walk up to Sunken Mine Rd (.5m). Make a left and walk until you come to the cairn for the AT xing. Make a right and follw the AT to rt 301 (up come uou by the guard rail opposite Canopus Lake). Cross 301 and continue on the AT until the Blue (Fahnestock) Trail and make a left until the Red (Charocoal Burners) and make another left. You will recross 301 on Red until you come to Yellow (old Mine RR) and make a right which will come back to Sunken Mine Rd. Make a Left and you will pass John Allen Pond and a really nice Lilly pond where it is common to see many turtles sunning themselves. Keep going past Bell Hollow until the Red (Candelwood Hill) trail and make a right and go to the top and down the mountain back to your car. The AT is the only strenuous section where it does a couple of steep climbs over some ridges. I have done this one a bunch and it never gets old.

    1. Excellent, thanks! I will put it on my list and will be doing it when I head out to that area again.