Pound Mountain/Dater Mountain: Hike-Live-Love!

Updated: Oct 14

Photos by Explore Harriman and Annette of Hike-Live-Love & UOS


We had a fantastic morning hike on the 3.8-ish mile Pound Mountain/Dater Mountain Trail with Hike-Live-Love Adventures, another branch of the well-established Urban & Outdoor Survival Team who we consider to be A+ hiking guides.

This was one of the first sub-forty degree mornings of the season - refreshing! The parking lot for this trail head is in the roundabout at the dead end of Johnsontown Road off of Seven Lakes Drive. This is usually a busy parking area on a Saturday but noticeably quiet, maybe due to the sudden temp drop and it being Columbus Day weekend. After hike leader Marlon Smith gave a quick overview of the trail, we set off. The first leg of our hike was up a short incline before the White Bar Trail revealed itself, better known as a part of the AT or the Appalachian Trail.


Yellow, orange, and red-colored leaves were on display and underfoot on the trails, though Autumn hasn't peaked just yet. A quarter mile down we took a sharp left turn off the AT and onto the Kakiat Trail (KK) to our first stream crossing. Good to see some water flowing after the drought but the park can definitely stand for some more rain. Point to note: there’s a nice patch of level ground in this area which Marlon and his team found on a New Year’s Eve solo campout some years back and now it serves as their beginners camping area.


Marlon spoke of the trail markers (aka blazes) and the various off shoots on this trail and unless you're well versed with the trail system, it's advised keeping to the planned trail to avoid getting lost — this team is all about informative discussions on their hikes.


From the Kakiat, we came upon the Blue Disc Trail following the joint white and blue blazes with a couple of steep and rocky inclines. Then we arrived at “Almost Perpendicular”, the name of the cliff apropos on Dater Mountain which is a fantastic viewpoint. It's a great spot to take pics or as Marlon put it "the best photos are taken with our eyes, letting the memory embed itself in your mind... you can just stop, breathe, and enjoy the stillness of it all. Out here there is no Wi-Fi, but you’ll never have a better connection!”

Below: The view from "Almost Perpendicular" / Dater Mountain


Continuing down the trail we paused so several trail runners could pass. There were Eastern White Pines here and Marlon took the opportunity to go over their medicinal benefits. He showed how it's needles come in clusters of five and how you can use the needles to make a hot Vitamin C loaded drink. Plus, the tree’s bark has anti-microbial properties and if cut and shaped right, can be used as a makeshift bandage to heal wounds — a great tree to find in a survival situation.


After clearing the halfway point, we approached Claudius Smith’s Den named after the Loyalist guerrilla leader during the American Revolution. He and his band of irregulars were known as the “cowboys''. The views from up here are much more pleasant than some of the history named after it.


We stopped for a quick bite here. In my search for a "good" protein bar, I came across the Over Easy brand. I picked up both their Banana Nut and Toasted Coconut, and they're really good in my opinion. This young company (founded in 2019) mixes great ingredients and has around 9-11 grams of protein and 6-7 grams of fiber. #overeasybars


On the move again we came to what Marlon calls the “white cross tree”. There are white X marks on it and this is where the trail splits into three – White Cross Trail – Tuxedo MT Ivy Trail – and the fire road that we traversed down until rejoining the AT yet again. Marlon again pointed out where the trails lead from this location and showed the group his digital map displaying the entire park and where he’s pinned key locations — he reiterates about getting one’s bearings and understanding the trail system so it instills confidence and can help get one out of mishaps. A half mile down from this point and we were back at the original turn off to the Kakiat Trail then back at the parking lot.


Quite hungry as always after a good hike, we headed over to nearby Seven Lakes Station in Sloatsburg, one of the favorite post hike eateries. Owners, Jamie and Martijn have a great place with backyard seating. “They have a great menu but the burgers, in my opinion, are heavenly!” - Marlon


Join us on our next outing with Marlon and his team. Find Hike-Live-Love Adventures and Urban and Outdoor Survival on Meetup.com.


When heading out on your next adventure, be sure to have a physical map - get your tyvek water resistant maps at nynjtc.org. And, please be mindful and leave no trace. Carry out what you carry in.

This specific blog is in partnership with Rockland County Tourism.


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