Come for the peace, or come for the adventure.

Harriman State Park is the perfect place to spend a day or a weekend.

A Memorial to a Plane’s Crew, Lost in the Harriman Woods

A couple years ago, I wrote about a Northwest airlines 727 that came down in the Harriman woods one winter’s night in 1974.  On it were three men.  They were on their way to Buffalo, New York, to pick up the Baltimore Colts football team after a game on December 1.  All three lost their lives that night. I was surprised by some of the comments left on that post.  Among them were memories of that night by people who were part of the rescue, by kids just getting ready for bed in nearby towns, and then by family members themselves.  1972 is so distant to me, but the feelings others expressed around this event seemed brand new. The post caught the attention of Gary Scarano and Robert Wren, Jr., and with Scott Salotto, they determined to mark the spot with a permanent memorial.  For more than six months, they have been working on this memorial, and the ceremony that will be held tomorrow.  I can only imagine that it will be a solemn and spiritual experience for the family members and those who stand there with them. This Saturday — tomorrow morning, November 7 — family members of the plane’s pilot and crew will gather in the woods near the Long Path, where it leaves the Old Turnpike, in Harriman, to mark the placement of a memorial at the spot where the plane came down. In the words of pilot’s son: “My heart is gratified that people see it not as a curiosity or treasure hunt, but remember it as a place where three men lost their lives... read more

Featured Hike: From Thendara Mountain Club to Tuxedo

Autumn’s Last Hurrah, Using the Bus This 8-mile hike is currently sporting the gaudiest colors of the fall.  Use the shuttle to do a one-way trip right back to your car or the train station; don’t forget your camera. One of the beautiful things about using the Tuxedo-Harriman shuttle (in its last weekend on October 31 and November 1) is that, even if you have a car, it opens up a world of hiking possibility.  With just one car and the shuttle, you can hike a one-way route back to your car, without having to retrace your steps. We decided last week that, after running the shuttle for much of the summer, we’d actually use it ourselves.  We hopped off on Seven Lakes Drive near the entrance to the (private) Thendara Mountain Club by noon and made it back to the Tuxedo Train Station in time for a sushi dinner and the drive home. This 8-mile hike takes you from the edge of Lake Tiorati to your return train (or parked car) at Tuxedo.  On the way, you’ll walk through blazing-red blueberry patches, rocky “whaleback” hilltops with incredible views and, again, those blueberry balds.  Two rustic, hundred-year old shelters make perfect places to stop for lunch, and the woods are dotted with old, disused mines.  The Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail is your pathway home. Here’s the route: Pick up maps, food, coffee, drinks at the Tuxedo train station.  There’s a bathroom there, as well.  On Saturday, a Farmers Market is in the train station to sell all kinds of fruit, vegetables, pies and breads, empanadas, cheese, etc.  And the Tuxedo Wines and Spirits shop,... read more

Last Call for the Tuxedo-Harriman Shuttle

Take the Train to the School Bus Through Harriman State Park this Weekend This is the final weekend of the season for the Tuxedo-Harriman hikers’ shuttle, so if you haven’t used it to create a one-way hike for yourself, make a plan now! Get Tickets in Advance, or Just Be on the Early Weekend Train into Tuxedo. Besides being a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll be helping us out.  We’d like to continue the shuttle again in the spring, and by simply turning up, you’ll help us convince our sponsors that helping hikers get to the trails is pretty good service to have. The shuttle is in its first year and has created a bustling crowd at the train station on the weekends, but don’t worry; because it brings you to more remote parts of the park, you won’t be in a crowd for long. Leaves are still hanging on brilliantly, even at this late date.  The blueberry patches are an astounding, blazing red; Trail maps are for sale in the Tuxedo train station; Volunteers and a large display of the park, shuttle route and trails are also in the train station to help you plan your route.  Volunteers will be on the shuttle to alert the driver when you’re ready to get off. The Farmers Market is right at the train station as well (Saturday only).  Apples, pies, empanadas, bread, cheese… A helpful hiker reminded me that Tuxedo Wines and Spirits is a stone’s throw from the train station, and you can pick up individually-packaged, single-serve wine or other spirits to warm you on... read more

That One Thing: Trailhead Kiosk in Tuxedo

This is the first in a series of posts about Tuxedo, New York, emerging as a “trail town” and gateway to the Hudson Valley. The Kiosk: Where Adventure Begins Like other hikers, I’m drawn to trailhead kiosks.  They’re little beacons that stand at the entrance to adventure.  You can see them from the road as you drive by, and like other hikers, I make mental notes of kiosks as I pass them, vowing to return.  To me, nothing is more enticing than a man-made trailhead kiosk with a trail that disappears into the woods, into darkness and leaf and who-knows-what. Kiosks say, “This is where the adventure begins”. One of the best adventures I know begins at the start of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail in the Tuxedo Train Station.  The trouble is, there are no trailhead kiosks there.  And that’s where many (if not most) of the visitors to western side of Harriman State Park are looking for information. There is a huge gap in what should be a seamless route from the city to the park via train, and it happens exactly at the Tuxedo platform. Here, a hiker should be able to hop off the train and immediately see a trailhead kiosk, because a kiosk is what hikers are conditioned to expect. We look for them, and if we don’t find them, we keep looking until we do, because who has an awesome trailhead without a kiosk? The kiosk we know and love has trail information, warnings, conditions, and often — especially if the trail is located in a town — information about local amenities, such as restaurants, shops and transportation.... read more

The Best Day Hikes in Harriman, Using the New Shuttle

The Train: 9:21 train from Penn Station, arriving Tuxedo at 10:17. The Trails: Ramapo-Dunderberg; White Cross; Triangle Victory Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Distances: 3.2 miles (shortest combination of trails) and up. Difficulty: Moderate. Features: 100-year old lean-to shelters, lakes, streams, forest, rocky “whaleback” mountaintops. Shuttle cost: $5.00, weekends (Saturday and Sunday) only. Take the Train to the Shuttle to Some of the Park’s Prettiest Trails. One of my very favorite areas of the park is right on the new Tuxedo-Harriman shuttle route (weekends only).  This means it’s easy to get to from the Tuxedo Train Station to Harriman’s best hiking trails or, if you’re coming by car, you can create a one-way hike back to it by parking in Tuxedo and boarding the shuttle.  Simple! The area I’m writing about contains the trails that go from Route 106, over Tom Jones, Parker Cabin, Black Ash and Blauvelt Mountains.  In that part of the park, you can visit the pretty shores of Lake Skenonto and Lake Sebago, see Claudius Smith Den, have your lunch with your feet up at Tom Jones Shelter. There are plenty of trail combinations to get your there, and while I could plan each and every combination, my suggestion is this: pick up the map set when you get to the Tuxedo Train Station.  Take a look at the trails, pick your perfect combination of scenery and miles (if you can hike 3.2 miles, you can do a trail with the shuttle!) With the maps, the park is the kingdom and the map is your key to it.  With more than 230 miles (MILES!) of hiking trails, I... read more

Six Overnight Trips In Harriman, Using the New Shuttle

Take the Shuttle to Your Next Overnight — Especially if You’re Carless The new weekend shuttle, from the Tuxedo train station through Harriman, opens up a world of possibilities for the car-less hiker coming by train from New York City.  What’s more, even if you DO use your car to get to the park, the shuttle may be included in your plans to enable one-way hiking where loops aren’t possible. Below are my suggestions for just a few of these overnight backpacking possibilities that use the new Tuxedo-Harriman shuttle. Important to Keep in Mind: The shuttle runs on weekends only (except for Friday, July 3, a holiday.  It runs then, too) You’re likely to find others camping at the lean-tos.  No worries!  Bring a tent and get comfortable around one of the fire rings, and enjoy the camping community vibe. You won’t be able to catch a shuttle out if you’re spending the night Sunday-Monday.  However, you can arrange for a pick-up on Monday by texting or calling Deborah Taxi: (845) 300-0332.  She runs a seven-seat taxi service. Bring water!  Most of the shelters have no water nearby, but you can collect and filter stream and lake water, or bring your own in. Make sure you have maps from the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.  You can purchase either the paper trail maps, or download (purchase) the digital PDF maps for use with the Avenza app on your smartphone (highly recommended!).  Trail maps are available for sale at the Hikers Information booth at the Tuxedo Train Station on Saturday (and Friday, July 3); you can also pick them... read more

Ride the Harriman Shuttle

Take the Train From New York, Then Ride the Big Yellow School Bus to Your Next Harriman Adventure You’ve seen two hundred cars parked along Seven Lakes Drive at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.  Or, you’ve seen hikers and backpackers get off the trains at Sloatsburg and Tuxedo and wonder how to get to the trailheads in Harriman State Park. In an effort to encourage train travel to the park, and to make it possible for those who come by train to get to some of the more remote trailheads and camps,, the Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce and A Better Tuxedo are bringing an old-fashioned mode of transportation to shuttle bliss. Starting Friday, July 3, at 10:50 AM, then running weekends only. The shuttle is your classic, 42-seat school bus.  The cost is $5.00 a seat.  And it will meet your train from New York City at the Tuxedo Train Station, give you a half hour or so to pick up goods at the Farmer’s Market (Saturday AM only), Bentley’s Deli, or the grocery store, then set off on its loop through Harriman State Park. You can hop off the bus along the shuttle’s route through the park.  From there, you’ll have to hoof it along any of Harriman’s 230-plus miles of hiking trails to get back to the train station or bus station (or your car, if you’ve driven to Tuxedo or Sloatsburg). See the Turn-by-Turn Route Description at the Bottom of this Post! But the shuttle enables you to plan out adventurous one-way hikes back to the station.  It lets you spend a weekend in the... read more

Five Places to Park (that AREN’T Reeves Meadow) in Harriman

When you see the cars lined up in front of the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, remember: the park is the size of almost three Manhattans!  The trick to finding your solitude, and a handy parking spot, is in going to some of the other parking areas.  Here are five suggestions. Memorial Day Weekend: Stay Away from Reeves Meadow! This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and the weather looks like it’s going to be clear and beautiful.  That means there will be a long, long line of cars — close to 200 — parked up Seven Lakes Driver near the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only trails in the park begin and end at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center!  Get the trail maps and spend some time studying them.  Once you see that the park is criss-crossed by an incredible network of trails, built long ago by the Trail Conference and maintained lovingly ever since, you’ll stay away from Reeves Meadow on busy weekends. So here are five other places to leave the car in Harriman State Park, with suggestions for what trails to take when you’re there.  Remember that if you’re spending the night at one of the shelters, you are allowed to leave your car in a legal parking area overnight. And remember to have a map, and preferably two: a paper map in your hand, and a digital map on your smartphone.  Why both?  Because some get lost with a paper map in Harriman, and you can lose battery power on your smartphone. Maps: 1.  The Trail Conference trail maps,... read more

Base Camp Tuxedo

Base Camp Tuxedo’s Very First “Speakers and Suds” Night #1: NYNJTC’s West Hudson Program Coordinator Sona Mason, “Wild Trails” Tuxedo Train Station Saturday, May 9, 2015. 6:45-9pm; Free and Open to All. Tuxedo to me has always been this adorable little town in the heart of the parks.  One look at the map, and it’s obvious what a great “Trail Town” Tuxedo could be: all that green of Harriman to the east, Sterling Forest to the west, surrounding the pointy little houses and civic buildings that seem like they fell out of a Grimm’s fairy tale.  Deep in the valley under Dater Mountain, a train track from New York City stops at a train station that could be the envy of any town, anywhere.  A river rushes by. MyHarriman and the Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce has launched something we’re calling “Base Camp Tuxedo”, a thus-far loose idea of programs or events designed to enhance the trail-town experience. “Speakers and Suds” is the first of those programs, a series of fun evening presentations that showcase some local craft brew and spirits, while dishing out some useful information from expert speakers about different ways to use and protect the park. Our very first S&S event is Saturday, May 9, at 6:45-9pm at the Tuxedo Train Station, and features the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s West Hudson Program Co-ordinator, Sona Mason. Sona will be speaking about trails that start near Tuxedo and run deep into the heart of the parks.  She’ll tell you some places to go and what you’ll see there, with plenty of surprises for those just learning about the... read more
“We set up camp, gathered firewood, and had a great night under the stars. The area was very clean and the view was amazing…The trails were beautiful and once we figured out how to navigate them we had no trouble.” Matthew R.