Updated: Feb 28, 2022
By Ian & Morgan
Explore Harriman: Before setting out on any trail, always be sure to have not only the Avenza App on your smart phone but awaterproof trail mapby the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference as well. We also strongly suggest you heed theseimportant winter do's & don'tsby our friends at Urban and Outdoor Survival.
This past weekend, Morgan and I went on an adventure down The Diamond Mountain Trail in the south section of Harriman State Park, NY. This trail is located at the same trail start as the Reeves Brook and shares the same parking lot. There are actually two parking lots, one paved by the AMC store and restrooms and the other is a gravel lot across the street. Morgan and I were early enough which is really key since these lots fill up fast on beautiful weekends year-round.
We started out at 8:45 am. The beginning of the trail was still icy and crampons were a requirement, even though we only saw 1 out of every 5 people wearing them. As we headed down the trail we could hear the sound of the running Stony Brook Creek which is a beautiful sight to see - we even saw an older gentleman sitting on the bank painting on a canvas.
The trail follows along the creek for a majority of the hike especially if you go counterclockwise, which is the route we took - at 0.4 miles, there's a fork, we veered to the right. For the next 0.5 miles, you stroll along the bank of the creek with a gradual incline, before hitting a small water crossing. There were remnants of a bridge which hopefully will be replaced this 2022 spring/summer. In the meantime, there's a narrow section where the bridge once stood that is passable with some proper rock hopping. ‘Proper’ being the operative word here as my boot slipped and I tumbled a bit causing my knee cap and hands to hit the water. Luckily, it was a comfortable 50-degree day and the cold water helped wake me up. Something my morning coffee didn’t quite accomplish.
Once across the river, you begin to head uphill through, over, and around rocks before coming across a working bridge that meets the orange trail. This is a great spot for an Instagram pic. After you pass the bridge you will reach the 1.5 mile, which is where it can get a little difficult. At this point, you reach a rock scramble that brings you up to a ridge overlooking Stony Brook Creek and the nearby mountainside. Morgan and I stopped for a mini photoshoot and a hydration break before heading across to the actual Diamond Mountain peak standing at 1,240 feet above sea level.
When you get to the peak you can see Pine Meadow Lake to the east and Tuxedo Park to the west. There are also plenty of granite slabs to grab a seat or layout for a rest in the sun. We fueled up with a light protein snack before heading down towards Pine Meadow Lake. As we made our way down, we got an amazing view of the terrain made possible by the still-bare trees. At the bottom we crossed over a small bridge and up towards a huge opening with a partial view of Pine Meadow Lake. After a few photos near the lake, we continued back towards the trailhead.
Further down you begin winding in and out of wooded sections along Stony Brook Creek. I honestly fell in love with this trail. I was lost in the beauty of the mountains in the background with all the undisturbed snow still surrounding the creek.
Once we were finally back at the trailhead, we removed our crampons, hopped in the car, and headed for lunch - this time at the Valley Rock Market right on the main drag in downtown Sloatsburg. When you make your way to this location from Seven Lakes Drive, be sure to turn left onto Municipal Plaza towards the Sloatsburg Fire Department. Then turn right onto Mill Street just before the train tracks. This will lead you to a parking area that both the Valley Rock Market and Village Blend share.
As we walked up to Valley Rock Market, we noticed picnic tables set up in their front patio which looked to be a perfect place to have lunch on those warmer days. Inside, there is a great beautiful open space with large farm-table seating and a wood-burning stove. Further in, you’ll find a market space with loads of fresh fruit, vegetables, a soup station, coolers filled with fresh farm-raised products and beverages, and two pantry-style walls with a variety of goods and cooking essentials. Even further back, there's a mix of booths and tables with large windows that let in plenty of natural light. The ambiance and decor have a modern rustic mountain getaway feel, and they also had great music playing.
There’s a counter area filled with prepared hot and cold foods, pastries, cookies, and bread. This place has everything you need before or after a hike. I got the Cuban sandwich w/ chips, vegan cream of mushroom soup, organic ginger ale, and tart for dessert. All I can say is wow!! My sandwich was amazing - hot, tender, and seasoned perfectly, plus the meat-to-cheese ratio was just right. The vegan cream of mushroom soup was also extremely good and warmed me up plenty. The ginger ale beverage was great and the ladies behind the counter warmed up the strawberry jam tart and it was out of this world! Morgan had a gluten-free spinach egg and prosciutto wrap with chips and vegan butternut squash, which all looked fantastic. She was quite focused and happy… lunch hit the spot perfectly after that 5-mile hike.
This place and its food are great when you’re feeling hiker-messy and still have on your gear. I think Morgan said it best - this place is a hidden gem and a place you must check out if you're looking for quick, easy, and good food before heading to Harriman State Park or on the way home. So, we highly recommend making Valley Rock Market a stop on one of your adventures!
As always, please remember to carry out what you carry in - leave no trace.
Remember to #exploreharriman if you take pics or vids and perhaps your adventure will be shared on Explore Harriman’s socials.
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This story blog is in partnership with ExploreHarriman.org and Rockland County Tourism though it is exclusively the blog author’s own experience. Authenticity and transparency is paramount to all parties.