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Hiking in Harriman State Park:
Elk Pen Seven Mile Circular

Total Distance: approximately 7.2 miles
Difficulty: Medium (about 1,000' total elevation gain)
Estimated hiking time: 4+ hours

From the parking lot take the path through the middle of the field eastward to get to the treeline. Make a right onto the Arden-Surebridge trail (A-SB, red triangle on white blazes). Take it south until you reach the intersection with the Stahahe Brook trail (red horizontal stripe on a white background blazes). Continue onto the Stahahe Brook trail. Take the Stahahe Brook trail to its end where it intersects the Nurian trail (white blazes). Make a left onto the Nurian trail. Take the Nurian trail until it ends.

Make a left onto the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail (RD, red on white blazes). This is a slightly tricky turn as the blazing at the very end of the Nurian trail may indicate a right turn to stay / go onto the RD. At this point you will not make a right turn as indicated but will instead head north along the ridge and you will see the next RD blaze in a short distance. Make a left onto the Dunning trail (yellow blazes, The Dunning trail intersects shortly after passing the Bald Rocks Shelter on your right). Make a right onto Island Pond Road (an unpaved and unmarked road which intersects shortly after passing the Boston Mine entrance on your right). Island Pond Road merges briefly with the Arden-Surebridge trail. Continue briefly on the merged road/trail and then make a left to continue on the Arden-Surebridge trail (and not Island Pond Road). Take the A-SB trail back to the parking area.

References: NY-NJTC Trail Map #119 (Northern Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails)

Driving Directions from New York City

Take the George Washington Bridge to the Palisades Interstate Highway heading north.

In about 19 miles exit the parkway at exit 9W onto the Thruway (Route 87/287) which heads west. About 10 miles later, exit the Thruway at exit 15A. At the exit turn left onto Route 17 North.

After about 10.5 miles, turn right onto Arden Valley Road. Make a right and go 0.5 miles until a parking area turnoff on your right. Turn right and park in the parking area, Elk Pen (GPS: N 41.26534, W 74.15363). The entire trip is about 47 miles and should take less than an hour.

Public Transportation

From the Port Authority in New York City there is a bus that leaves people off on Route 17 near Arden Valley Road.

Click here for What to Bring on a Hike

Click here for Information for Group Hikes

Questions: Michael Brochstein

Arden Valley Road sign at turnoff from Route 17 North. (October 2010)   Road leading into the Elk Pen parking area from Arden Valley Road. (April 2004)
The turnoff for the parking area.  Make a right here, going from Arden Valley Road to the parking area. (October 2010)   The parking area. (October 2010)
Information board inside the parking area.  Too bad there is no useful information here for hikers (how about a map with a "You are here" label), they seem to have some unused space in it. (October 2010).   The start of the trail (going from the parking area eastward) to where the marked trails are, at the treeline.  The hike starts here.  (October 2010)
The intersection of the Nurian trail and the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail.  The Nurian is ending and the RD blazes indicate a right turn. Go straight instead, north along the ridge, until the next RD blaze (the right turn indicated above is misleading IMHO). (October 2010)    
The outer entrance to the Boston Mine, just off the Dunning trail near Island Pond Road (October 2010).   The inner entrance to the Boston Mine (it is not recommended that you try to enter the mine!) (October 2010).
The Bald Rocks Shelter (just a few yards east of the Ramapo Dunderberg trail, just south of where the RD intersects with the Dunning trail). (September 2008)
Elevation profile
Fall colors near Elk Pen (October 17, 2010)
Fall colors along the Nurian Trail (October 24, 2010)

 Last updated: 10/2010

Copyright © 2008-2010 Michael Brochstein. All rights reserved.