Blog by Explore Harriman, 10/28/22
Pics by Explore Harriman and Jen, member of Hike-Live-Love group.
It was a perfect autumn morning for our hike to William Brien Shelter via Silver Mine Lake with Marlon Smith of Hike-Live-Love Adventures. Before heading to the Old Ski Center at Silver Mine, we stopped into It’s Coffee in Stony Point — a hot spot for visiting hikers from NYC and NJ. This is a great little place though large in flavor! Owned by Stony Point native Nisi Hilario, they brew their own brand of freshly ground premium blends from 42 different countries along with single-origin blends. And there are lots of other coffee beverages — lattes, Chai and other teas to be enjoyed! With fuel in hand, we set out for the trail head.
From Stony Point, it’s just a 13-minute drive to the Silver Mine parking lot which is located in the northernmost section of Harriman State Park. You can also get to this location from the southern end of the park in Sloatsburg, NY and drive the full length of Seven Lakes Drive north which cuts through the entirety of the park — an amazing preview to all Harriman has to offer. Lakes and trail heads can be found on either side of the drive. An important point when going north, approximately a mile after passing the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center, your cell phone service may become spotty or drop all together. And, in fact, at Silver Mine, cell phone bars are basically non-existent. Marlon says “Acquiring a two way radio for your outings is the best way to insure you and your hiking party can remain in touch driving to and especially while on the trails.”
At the Old Silver Mine parking lot, the first thing you see are the two ski runs and this time of year the runs are framed by acres of autumn colors. There’s ample parking, a large pavilion with picnic tables and it’s one of the few areas in Harriman State Park with restrooms. Here’s where we finished up our cup of joe from It's Coffee before heading out.
With Silver Mine Lake on the left, the yellow-blazed Menomine Trail is where our hike began. This trail has a rocky start and rocky patches throughout — sturdy hiking boots are always recommended. It was just a week since our last hike, but autumn has sped up. A plethora of fall colors were everywhere with a thickening bed of leaves underfoot as well.
We continued up the trail and came to the first incline, a gradual one that would take us to one of the only water sources, named the Bockey Swamp Brook, before we come to the William Brien Memorial Shelter. We stopped and tested out an MSR water filter that one of the group’s members had packed. Remember, ALWAYS filter water collected from lakes and streams.
The next leg is a steady, rocky incline before arriving at the William Brien shelter with its double bunk bed accommodations. There are many other established campsites here and bear hang lines for food storage. Among the several well-built fire rings spread out in front of the shelter here, Marlon led the group to a fire ring which had a few stone chairs built around it (note: we do not condone building "furniture", please keep the habitat as you found it). We stopped here for a snack and took the opportunity to practice campfire building. Another member who had been sharpening her fire making skills nailed it on this one, three strikes on a Ferro Rod (Ferrocerium Rod) and we had a flame to build our campfire upon.
After we refueled, we extinguished our campfire. And before we headed back on the Menomine Trail towards Silver Mine Lake, Marlon took the group a bit further down to a nearby backup water source. He explained how this spot is a good option when camping and this avoids one having to take the rocky hike back down to the Bockey Swamp Brook only to have to hike the incline back.
Heading back the way we came in, we stopped at the high point of the trail which is where you will find the AT (Appalachian Trail) & RD (Ramapo-Dunderberg) junction with the Menomine. There's a long rock-build staircase here where earlier thru-hikers were descending.
On this day, we chose just the short 3 mile trek to the William Brien shelter but one can continue the full 4.2 mile length of the Menomine Trail (out-and-back) which ends at the Red Cross Trail junction. This is a great trail to return to during the winter for snowshoeing as well.
As always, carry out what you carry in and always carry a tyvek map from the nynjtc.org
Blog In partnership with Rockland County Tourism