Saturday, October 13, 2012

Harriman State Park, NY - Claudius Smith's Den to Lake Skenonto

Harriman State Park - The Palisades Parks Conservancy
Harriman State Park - New York State Parks

GPS Coordinates 41.180246, -74.163658

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Johnstown Road ends at a circle with parking all around the circle.

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

Pound Mountain -
Smith Rock -
Black Ash Mountain -
Parker Cabin Mountain -

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.2 miles

Walk back out Johnstown Road a short distance to the start of the Blue Disc Trail on the right.
At the time of this hike, it was believed that a man who shot and killed his daughter-in-law on September 24, 2012 was in hiding in Harriman State Park.  The park was closed to hikers for a while as a manhunt was underway but hikers are allowed back in now.
Although I was not all that concerned about it, it is a tad unnerving when your dog keeps going into full alert mode like this.
And like this.  Turns out it was just some other hikers with their dogs she was alerting on.  They caught up, all got to play and everyone was happy.
View from Almost Perpendicular.
Reeves Meadow Visitor Center from the overlook.
Early morning frost.
Elbow Brush
To get to Claudius Smith's Den you need to turn left and leave the Blue Disc Trail before the rock scramble.  The cave is around on the other side of the boulders.  Retrace back to the Blue Disc Trail.
Claudius Smith's Den
Back on the Blue Disc Trail on top of Claudius Smith's Den.
The Catskills in the distance.
More Catskills with the Gunks in front.
Black Ash Swamp
A frost survivor.
The summit of Black Ash Mountain on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (red dot on white).
Views from Parker Cabin Mountain on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.
Myrtle Warbler
Lake Skenonto
An unnamed woods road to the White Bar Trail.

[  0.00]  Walk back out Johnstown Road from parking circle
[  0.05]  Turn right on paved road at the 3 blue circle on white blazes of the start of the Blue Disc Trail
[  0.50]  The white-blazed Kakiat Trail joins in briefly from the right then leaves to the left
[  0.80]  Views at Almost Perpendicular
[  1.40]  Cross gas pipeline
[  1.60]  Pass to the right of pipeline
[  1.70]  Elbow Brush
[  2.05]  At intersection with red dash on white Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy trail leave the Blue Disc Trail to the left of the rock scramble to go around to Claudius Smith's Den; retrace to continue up rock scramble on the Blue Disc Trail
[  2.15]  Views on top of Claudius Smith's Den
[  2.50]  Views
[  2.95]  At 4-way intersection veer right on red dot on white Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and cross power cut
[  3.20]  Black Ash Mountain summit
[  3.90]  This is where the White Bar Trail should cross over but I missed it
[  4.20]  White Cross Trail starts to the right
[  4.35]  Views going up Parker Cabin Mountain
[  4.40]  Yellow Triangle Trail joins from the left, keep right on Yellow Triangle Trail when red dot on white continues straight and descend steeply
[  5.10]  Cross power cut; keep right and right again going parallel to power lines
[  5.30]  Left on woods road briefly for view of Lake Skenonto; retrace back to intersection
[  5.40]  Back at intersection with the Victory Trail, continue on Yellow Triangle 
                *** A short distance ahead watch for a fork and keep left on Yellow Triangle - this is very easy to miss, especially with yellow leaves on the trees and the sun in your eyes.  It is the second time I missed this.  I stayed with the woods road which meets up with the White Bar Trail so whether you stay with Yellow Triangle or the woods road, you come out at the White Bar Trail.  Just be careful at the end of the woods road because it is not clear which way to go on White Bar and it looks like your only option is to go straight when you should make a left turn.  If you start going uphill, you are going the wrong way.  Turn around and follow the White Bar Trail and it is easier to see where to go in this direction ending up at ...
[  6.70]  Dutch Doctor Shelter on left off of White Bar Trail; red dash on white Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail comes in from the right
[  8.20]  White Bar Trail ends at Johnstown Circle parking


  1. A good part of this hike was involved w/our very first Harriman hike. It convinced us that Harriman would always be our "go to" place to get in a real hike w/challenges & scenics.

    There are so many variations at Harriman, it's no wonder people keep returning there. As a matter of fact, we nearly crossed paths (literally) with you & Shawnee today at Harriman. Seeing your pic of frost-dusted leaves reminds me of just how "frosty" it was this morning when we started out on the AT at 7:45am!!!


    1. Seriously, you were right there? I started at the exact same time. I swear we will run smack into each other someday. I was thinking about you during that hike when it warmed up as I was doing the "long john switch-a-roo" with Shawnee as lookout, LOL!


    2. I have enjoyed following your hikes and have done a number of your recommendations in VA and PA..I also travel with my dog so was looking for any suggestions re where to stay in order to hike in Harriman State Park..I would like to try out this one and some of the others but not sure where might be a good base to stay that is pet friendly and doesn't involve camping!

    3. How great that you travel/hike with your dog, too! (I am with you on the camping bit, LOL.) Glad my hikes have helped you see some great places. I don't specifically know of any dog-friendly lodging in the Harriman, NY area since it is driving distance for me but I just Googled "pet friendly lodging Harriman NY" and came up with this place that is situated smack in the middle of Harriman, the Shawangunks and the Catskills and talk about pet-friendly!


  2. Many Thanks for the suggestion! We stayed last weekend at the Shenandoah River State Park in VA. The cabin was perfect..I wouldn't have discovered it without your blog..:-) We did your walk in the park, really nice walk and then a couple more in the National Park including the Whiteoak Canyon. At Christmas we did a couple of your other walks in the same area(e.g. Sky Meadows..)..and the time before we tried out your suggestions Trexler Preserve and Hopewell Furnace..We are based in northen DE. I can't say enough how invaluable your blog has been in planning our mini escapes. Thank you so much.. we will keep reading and discovering these hidden treasures.