Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sterling Forest State Park, NY - Red Back Loop

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

GPS Coordinates 41.17654, -74.22704
Entrance drive to parking is directly across from the intersection of South Gate and Buttonwood Roads.
Large parking area at the end of the drive.

Sterling Forest Trails Map 100 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Sterling Forest State Park Trail Map - NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Sterling Forest State Park, NY - Red Back Loop at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  6.6 miles

The loop starts at the gate.  We went straight and returned from the left.
Looking at the New York New Jersey Trail Conference map, it appears as though most of this hike is woods road.  It is, but it is not always on well-defined woods roads, they often become more of a path.  It's a very pretty hike.  While the rest of the world is over at Sterling Lake, you can have this hike all to yourself.  Not another person around the entire hike, not even another car in the parking lot.
There is some icky rock/gravel early on but it's not for very long.
The surface smooths out as the trail ascends.
Most frogs jumped in and under the mud in the puddle when Shawnee stepped in but not the one on the right.
He stayed put no matter how close Shawnee got.
A huge boulder along the trail.
Lots of mine tailings off to the side...
... as well as what looks like an old mine down below.
Some grassy woods road.
A few short overgrown sections but here it's all soft grass.
At 2.5 miles the yellow McKeags Meadow Trail joins in for half of a mile.
Junctions with other woods roads are generally well-marked.
The Red Back Trail leaves the McKeags Meadow Trail at the 3-mile point.
I walked through many well-established spider webs - that is how lightly used this trail is.
Crossing a creek that leads to ...
... a swamp on the right.
An overgrown section along a swamp on the left.
It gets a little thorny in here but not near as bad as what we have hacked through on some other hikes this summer.
Looking across the swamp and over to the mountain where the other side of the Red Back Trail is that we were on before.
Break time....
... before an uphill rocky section.
Nearing the end of the loop.
The parking area comes into view before the trail veers left over a creek then meets up with the mail woods road at the gate.


  1. Great pictures especially the close ups of the frog! Glad Shawnee looks well. Thanks for sharing! Joanne

  2. Looks like a great hike to do in the fall. Not too fond of all that overgrowth in summertime. Agreed, Shawnee looks terrific! So happy to see her and, as always, your great pictures. Linda

    1. Well, Linda, not really a good place to be in the fall. Hunting from October through February :(


  3. Is that poison ivy in the second picture after "Some grassy woods road."?

    1. I don't know. I can't tell one plant from another and because I tend not to be affected by poison ivy, I don't pay much attention to it. Not that I would intentionally wallow in it :(