The Harriman Long Path portion of the 357-mile Long Path from New Jersey to Albany travels through Harriman State Park to its border with Orange County. Some of the route is rugged with steep climbs and descents, and boulder scrambles. It passes through dense forest and meadows filled with wildflowers, along rocky ridges, through marshes and swampland and along lakeshores.
Each of these landscapes harbors its own species of wildlife, including waterfowl, hawks and eagles, songbirds, bears, moose and more. Squirrels and chipmunks rule the underbrush, foraging for nuts and seeds for winter. Otters and beaver can be spotted in the water of lakes and ponds, along with lovely swans. Owls monitor your passing from their tree branches, and smaller birds flit among the pines and hemlock. Bees and butterflies make their graceful swoops in the rhododendron to mountain laurel blossoms that border the trail in the spring.
The beginning of this section of the Long Path is near Skannatati Lake, where it follows the shoreline north, climbs a small ridge, then continues west along the lake on an undulating up and down route. After crossing a swampy lake inlet area, the ascents and descents lengthen until you reach a viewing spot on a grassy ledge near the abandoned Hogencamp Mine. You'll also pass Cape Horn, another overhanging ledge and arrive at Times Square, a spot where the Long Path, Appalachian Trail and several other trails intersect. Hippo Rock, another cantilevered ledge, looms above and you'll soon climb to the Stockbridge Shelter, a stone and mortar building perched on a ledge with furtastic views to the south.
Here, the Path drops steeply and brings you to a cave, damp and uninviting as a shelter in all but the worst weather, and continues steadily downhill to Route 6 through a dense canopy of trees and wild blueberries for the taking. The end point parking lot and informational kiosk are on the other side of Route 6.
Packed with magnificent views of the Hudson Valley and surrounding mountains, the Harriman Long Path also provides a challenging physical adventure which will leave you satisfied and your fur-pup tired and happy.
The Long Path through Harriman State Park is home to many species of wildlife, including rattlesnakes and copperheads, bears and coyotes. For your protection and to keep your pooch safe, give these critters a wide berth and they will most likely do their best to avoid you.