Saturday, January 9, 2016

Harriman State Park, NY - Stahahe Brook

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

GPS Coordinates 41.26479, -74.15426 (But watch closely for Arden Valley Road since the GPS tends to direct to Arden Road from which Elk Pen cannot be accessed.)
Elk Pen parking lot at 7:30 AM  (Wait until you see what it looks like after the hike at 1 PM!)

Northern Harriman Bear Mountain Trails Map #119 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.8 miles (A little less if you don't have to bushwhack to find a more acceptable creek crossing for Shawnee.)

The white-blazed Appalacian Trail cuts right through the parking lot and heads east towards Green Pond Mountain.
The red-triangle-on-white  Arden-Surebridge Trail starts out along with the AT.
When the AT leaves to the left, stay right on red-triangle-on-white.
Looking back over Elk Pen at the parking lot.
Red-triangle-on-white leaves to the left, keep straight on red-line-on-white Stahahe Brook Trail.
Elk Pen
At Stahahe Brook, the trail turns left uphill.
The trails climbs up over Stahahe Brook. 
It's a gorgeous area that the pictures don't do justice.
When red-line-on-white ends, turn left on the white-blazed Nurian Trail.  Where it crosses the creek to the right at the downed tree would be our return route had Shawnee been able to cross.  More on that later.  For now, on to the left.
The Nurian Trail
An area of Hurricane Sandy devastation.
The crossing at the waterfalls proved to be a little challenging but we made it across.
I had actually intended to take an unmarked woods rood to Lake Stahahe but at this point realized I had long missed it.  Probably wasn't paying close enough attention with the beautiful scenery, even on a gray, spritzy, sleety day.
At the top where all the water comes from.
Heading into...
Valley of Boulders
Some views at the top.
Coming up on the yellow trail that goes along Green Pond.
Green Pond
I should have stayed on the Nurian Trail.  I had forgotten how hard this trail was and it was challenging getting Shawnee through.  Thank goodness for the handle on her harness.
About half way around you can see the Nurian Trail to the left through the trees so we abandoned yellow and headed back to Nurian.
The Nurian Trail comes out on Island Pond Road, then leaves to the left.  We stayed on Island Pond Road for a some easier terrain for Shawnee since she had done some awesome climbing and bouldering so far.
Oh happy day!  A balloon for my collection.  I swear I don't even look for them, they jump out at me.
Nice and easy but scenic also.
Because I missed the turn I intended to take to loop around Stahahe Lake, we had to road walk for a bit.
There was, however, absolutely no traffic so this road must be closed.
This camp road goes along the eastern side of Lake Stahahe, according to the map, but it is paved so we continued road walking to get to what the map shows as woods road along the western side of Lake Stahahe.
Lake Stahahe
And here that is.  We turned right and stayed right on paved road, wasn't woods road as shown on the map.
I didn't think too much of the CLOSED sign because that usually means the lake area is closed but it is generally OK for hikers to go through.
A second closed sign, a building with a Christmas wreath and a basketball hoop?  I was starting to become concerned but I did not see any NO TRESPASSING signs.
At this point I heard chickens clucking off to the left.
Then the paved road that was supposed to be a woods road seemed to end at a garage with park vehicles.  Now I was thinking I was at a park ranger's residence and promptly turned and headed back.  Later at home I could see on Google Earth where this road does become a woods road if you walk around behind the garage but while there I was not comfortable doing that since I had started feeling like I was someplace I should not have been.
So back to almost at the road and right on the gravel road at the barrier.
This looked like a park service road, shown as a woods road called "Arden Road" on the map.
It was a little scenic.
Nearing the NY Thruway.
It's not every day a dog gets to hike along the thruway.
Here is where the Nurian Trail crosses the thruway.
We weren't going that way (and there are a ton of steps on the western side) but we walked across and back just because.
Coming off of the bridge and continuing left on the Nurian Trail but with one more detour.
If you stay on the woods road a short distance after the Nurian Trail leaves to the right, there is a road monument that says "THIS ROAD WAS BUILD IN 1894 BY E. H. HARRIMAN TO SHOW THE ADVANTAGES OF LEVEL ROADS IN HILLY COUNTRIES."
Now back to the Nurian Trail and an uphill climb.
It does go up and up and up.
Unbelievable!  This is a first, two balloons on one hike.
The Nurian Trail eventually turns left on a woods road.  To the right is where I would have come out had I gone beyond the park ranger's garage.
Whitewater rafting gone bad in Stahahe Brook?
So here we are at that crossing by the downed tree.   Just the other side is where we would start retracing on red-line-on-white straight ahead and Nurial turns right up along Stahahe Brook, the way we began the hike.  Shawnee, however, could not get from boulder to boulder and the water was faster and deeper than it looks in the picture.  As I was taking this picture she was standing with her back to the brook, clearly telling me, NO WAY!  So we had to bushwhack upstream to find her a better crossing place.
Better for her, not for me.
But we managed, made it across and met back up with...
... the red-line-on-white Stahahe Brook Trail where we stepped to the side to let a large group of hikers pass.  The only hikers we saw all day and it was withing the last mile of the hike.
Those hikers took a shortcut back through Elk pen that is not on the map but it is shown on Google Maps.  We stayed on the trail.
And this is what the parking lot looked like at 1 PM.  Other than that large group, we did not see anyone.


  1. Great photos! Looks like a nice spot. I used to hike up at Harriman. I forgot the name of the trail but it went all the way up to a lake that the only way you could get to it was by hiking. Harriman is a great park. I've never been on this trail that you were on. Always glad to see Shawnee doing so well. You are both troopers! Thanks for sharing! Joanne

    1. Joanne, you are you! You aren't anonymous any more! I bet you are referring to Pine Meadows Lake since I think you can drive to most of the others.


  2. Awesome photos! Looks like a great hike! I spent a weekend at the Arden Homestead a few years ago (they're horse racing people!) We spent the weekend on snow mobiles exploring the mountains. It was incredible! I've wanted to go hiking up there ever since, and this post inspires me! 8.8 miles is a longer hike than I normally do, but I might have to suck it up!

    1. Thanks! I would think that particular hike is closer to 8 miles taking out the bushwhack and the detour to the park ranger's house. But there are many other options for any length. The newest edition of the trail conference maps have mileages noted by each section of trail so you can easily come up with a shorter hike.


  3. I can't believe how many balloons you pick up. We do pick up trash on our hikes (my dog packs it out), but never any balloons. Just odd.

    1. I started collecting them because I was getting so annoyed at finding so many in the woods and now it has become a challenge. I am saving them all in a box and I think it will be pretty interesting to see how fast they pile up. I already have 7 since 11/15/15!


  4. Random question, but what gps device do you use to map out your hikes? I am starting to get into hiking in the area and want to track my hikes using Every Trail. Thank you and love your blog!

    1. Thanks, Ed! I have a Garmin Oregon 450T. It has been very reliable and I am happy with it in that respect but there are a couple of design flaws that are pretty annoying. When you touch the screen to move the map a totally useless push pin pops up and you can't get rid of it and have to keep moving it out of the way. Also when the unit hangs from the carabiner it hangs upright so when you lift it to look at it, it is upside down. It should hang upside down so when you look at it, it is right side up. This means whenever I want to look at it I have to unclip it and turn it around. Those seem to be two common complaints from people who have that model. So just something to keep in mind while shopping for one. Also, as much as I like the features of EveryTrail, it is down a lot and has become increasingly unreliable so I use GPSies which is much more reliable but is not quite as user friendly with less features. Another thing I found to be kind of fun is to upload tracks on Google Earth. It's pretty cool to open Google Earth and see your tracks all over the place.