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Appalachian Trail NY - Harriman State Park offers an ideal introduction to the fauna, flora, and history of the Hudson Highlands - The less traveled western section of Bear Mount. With signs of the dynamic 12,000 year relationship between nature and human beings, the land here comes alive.
Harriman State Park
You will explore the ruins of a 19th century iron mine, slip through the Lemon Squeezer rock formation, walk along the shores of pretty Island Pond, and travel through secluded forest once occupied by Native Americans. Of the very first 5.5 miles of AT ever blazed, this hike follows the approximate route.
Harriman State Park, rising out of the Hudson Valley, is a mountainous oasis with some two hundred miles of hiking trails and thirty lakes. In 1923, the first section of the AT was opened here. Designed in the 1920s, for Sunday afternoon family outings in the new fangled motor car, the roads across the park, maximize exposure to the surrounding forests, and even the rustic Romanesque stone arch bridges manage to harmonize with local rock outcroppings, in utter contrast to the get out of my way style of later highway construction.
A distance of about 2,160 miles, the trail, known by hikers as the AT, runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. From the Delaware Water Gap to Connecticut, in the New Jersey/New York region, it runs greater than 160 miles. The trail is uniformly marked with a 2" x 6" vertical blaze, white painted.
Delaware Water Gap
From the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Ramapo River south of Arden in Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks, the first section of the AT was built by volunteers of the NJ/NY Trail Conference in 1922-23.
Bear Mountain Bridge
In 1968, the AT was designated a National Scenic Trail by Congress. A protective corridor and the AT are managed cooperatively by the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the National Park Service. Along the length of the trail, including the NY/NJ Trail Conference, the ATC delegates maintenance responsibilities to member trail clubs.
5.7 total miles is the length of this local trail. From 550 feet at the trailhead to 1,328 feet top elevation, it has minimal elavation gain. Requiring a moderate skill level, this is a point to point hike. The hike takes about 3.5 hours to finish. You can contact the Appalachian Mountain Club at 617-523-0636, for more information.
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