I hadn’t been able to get out in the woods for a while, so I wanted to take a nice long hike. I decided to check out some trails in Harriman State Park that I hadn’t hiked yet. (NY-NJ Trail Conference has maps, and an excellent guide to the park. I can’t find any other source for maps online.)
Harriman State Park is a very popular place to go hiking in the lower Hudson Valley. So much so, that when I drove into the southern entrance of the park, there were approximately sixty — that’s 60 — cars parked on the side of the road on either side of the visitor center. I was astounded. I was thinking, This is great! People getting out in the woods and hiking and enjoying nature. But then I though, I better go somewhere else.
The attraction at the visitor center is a fairly easy hike to Pine Meadow Lake, a very picturesque body of water that doesn’t have any roads roaring past it. I also wanted to check out Lake Wanoksink, just to its north. I didn’t realize how popular this hike was. I decided that I’d go a bit farther north and park at the Lake Sebago boat launch, which I’d been to before, but for canoeing on Lake Sebago.
Parking was no problem at the boat launch, and I picked up the Seven Hills trail just across Seven Lakes Drive. Seven Hills starts out steep, but tapers off after about a half mile. You’re treated to a very nice view of Lake Sebago from a rocky bald just before reaching Diamond Mountain Tower trail.
Diamond Mountain Tower trail winds downhill to meet up with Pine Meadow, which then takes you to Pine Meadow Lake. Nice!
There were a lot of people at the lake, hanging out on rocks and picnicking. I wanted to follow some woods roads and unmarked trails around the lake and try to scope out some less-traveled spots. The trouble with woods roads and unmarked trails, is that they’re… unmarked. I missed a trail that would take me around the lake, and ended up about a mile past where I wanted to go, and about 6 miles from the parking area. Luckily I ran into a nice couple who do trail maintenance with the NY-NJ Trail Conference, who were out for a casual hike. They pointed out where I was, topped off my water (thanks!), and as it was starting to get a little late, I began heading back towards the parking area.
I looked at my map and picked what looked like the most direct route back, but didn’t look closely enough at the topography. I took the Kakiat back to Seven Hills, and then headed north. Seven Hills gets very vertical at this point, and though it was great hiking/scrambling, it was a bit of a hindrance in making time! Alas, I just had to roll with it, and try to walk as quickly as I could. This was a definite workout.
There are so many places to hike in Harriman State Park. I’ve only scratched the surface, and am looking forward to getting back there a lot more this summer.
I’ll leave you with some additional photos: