Sunday, September 20, 2015

Appalachian Trail, NY - Bellvale Mountain and Village Vista

Hiking the AT in NY and NJ - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Terrain by Region: New York - Appalachian Trail Conservancy

GPS Coordinates 41.244104, -74.286587
There are several parking options in this area.  This is behind the island where the hot dog stand is, right at a very well-maintained unmarked trail that leads to the Appalachian Trail.
Sterling Forest Trails Map 100 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Appalachian Trail, NY - Bellvale Mountain and Village Vista at EveryTrail

To the end of the blue-blazed Village Vista Trail and back - about 6 miles
To the ladder at the far end of Bellvale Mountain and back with Village Vista Trail - 9.8 miles
To the ladder at the far end of Bellvale Mountain and back without Village Vista Trail - 8 miles

Shawnee had to sit this one out.  She has had one of those harmless growths on her lower eyelid but it suddenly became much larger and was rubbing her eye so as much as I hated to put her under at her age, it had to come off.  She is doing very well and will be back on the trails next weekend.
This unmarked trail closest to the hot dog stand is no doubt a trail well-worn by thru-hikers making a stop at that hot dog stand.
It connects right to the Appalachian Trail heading south.
Crossing a power cut.
There are some rocky areas but for the most part it's an easy trail with not much elevation gain.
A trail on the left leads to a camp site with not much of a view other than...
The clear skies of the cold front coming through and pushing the humidity out!
About 2 miles in, the blue-blazed Village Vista Trail.  More out of curiosity than anything, I decided to follow it to the end.  The end way down at the bottom of the mountain.  Which meant I would have to climb back up.  Good thing I did this going out because I never would have on the way back.
A short distance in...
... views!
Heading down on blue.
It's all switchbacks so not terribly steep at all.
The most difficult part of the trail is a rocky section at the bottom.
The trail comes out on to ball fields and a playground.
I was wondering what the purpose of this trail was since there did not appear to be any parking to access it.  This explains it - it's a trail for thru-hikers to get into town.
Heading back up on blue.
Another closeup glimpse from up above.
Continuing south on the Appalachian Trail.
It's about here where the going starts to become more difficult.
The reward is views of Greenwood Lake and Sterling Forest.
This is a very steep descent where I had to throw my poles down because all hands were needed.  And it's the reason I chose this hike without Shawnee.  I knew there would be parts that are now too difficult for her.  This descent would have been difficult when she was young.  You'll get a better ides of what it looks like going back when I had to climb back up.
About the 5th or 6th ovenbird I have gotten this summer.
At the turnaround point, just before the trail descends steeply on a ladder, views of Greenwood Lake into New Jersey.
Heading back a few other hikers caught up to me and we hung together for a bit because something happened that was, well, very creepy.  Someone yelled "hello" at me and when I looked up there was a man off trail on a boulder dressed in an orange and black tiger striped shirt with black tiger stripes painted on his face.  OK, weird, so I said "hello" and went on.  A few minutes later the other hikers caught up to me and asked if I had seen the hunter with the rifle.  They meant the tiger stripe guy with a rifle that I had not seen.  I was more creeped out by the rifle than the stripes because there is no hunting allowed along this AT corridor AND hunting season does not start in this part of NY until October 1.  Fortunately, that was the last we saw of him.
And this is going back up that steep descent from earlier.  It was actually easier to climb up than to get down.
Some more views of Greenwood Lake on the way back.
And finally off the rocky part and back on the smoother trail surface.
The left fork is the unmarked trail back to...
... where I parked.


  1. Best wishes to Shawnee for a speedy recovery.


    1. Thanks! She is chomping at the bit to get back out there. Two more days...

  2. I hope Shawnee recovers nicely....poor baby. Very nice pictures. Quite a hike you went on. Thanks for sharing. Joanne

    1. Thanks, Joanne, she is recovering nicely. She had a very hard time waking up from anesthesia, which has never happened before, she was peeing in her bed, growling at her best friend, Al the poodle who stays with us during the week, all kinds of out of character things. But the next day she was back to her old self and she is fine now.