Updated: Feb 28
By Glenn Donovan
Explore Harriman: Before setting out on any trail, always be sure to have not only the Avenza App on your smart phone but a waterproof trail map by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference as well. We also strongly suggest you heed these important winter do's & don'ts by our friends at Urban and Outdoor Survival.
Hey, Glenn here, this time venturing out into Sterling Forest State Park. I am going to recommend my top three favorite trails in Sterling for snowy winter months. The Hudson Valley has many trails available to explore but don't get discouraged to journey into the woods during this chilly time of year. Take advantage of this refreshing time with these “Winter friendly” hikes!
Let’s begin with an easy one. Start by parking at P15 on Rte 84, Long Meadow Rd. This is where the Fire Tower trail, blazed white stripe on red, begins. Walk 0.5 to the Lakeville Trail, blue stripe on white. From there it is only another 0.5 to the end making this a good choice if you only want to go out for an hour or so.This path is also completely paved and should be easy to walk on during snowy conditions. If you have some more time, be sure to take a look around the Sterling Furnace and other ruins along the short Lakeville Iron Works trail for some very interesting history about the area.
Next is a slightly longer trail. I really enjoyed my day on the Hutchinson Trail. The”HT” is blazed with yellow H on red and is approximately 4 miles. I had the pleasure of my friend and her dog joining me for this one. She requested a easy trail with minimal inclines because her dog is aging and hasn't been out in a while. This was perfect for the pooch! This trail starts at the Caretaker Lot on Rte 84, Long Meadow Rd, with some gentle inclines for the 1st half a mile. After that, the path opens to a very level and straight trail for about 1.5. Minimal rocks and wide trails makes the trail easily crossable in the snow. It ends at the magenta blazed, Red Back Trail where we did an about face and returned back on the Hutchinson from where we came.
Finally we have the ever popular Sterling Lake Loop. I love this trail for its beautiful lakeside views and history. Park at the Sterling Visitor center and follow the blue blazes around the lake. It is about 5 miles to complete so start early! The trail has minimal inclines and rocks and is very wide for the 1st half of the trek. Be ready to get muddy on this one! I like to start to the left so I can pass the Sterling Furnace and other Ironwork ruins early on. All of the different perspectives of the lake throughout the day are breathtaking, especially once you reach the northern side.
After my last hike, I really was in the mood to snuggle up with a hot beverage. I stopped by Sloatsburg's Village Blend to quench my desire. This cozy spot offers indoor and outdoor seating and a wide variety of hot drinks, caffeinated and decaffeinated plus soups, quiches, sandwiches, salads, snacks... I usually head straight to the coffee but today I was tempted to try a latte. I was glad I did! It was perfect. I also treated myself to a slice of crumb cake. There must have been an inch of yummy, sweet, crumb stuff on top. Decadent is an understatement!
And there you have my Sterling Forest Winter Report. Though this is only a small portion of the area’s offerings. Stay tuned for more trail reports of my favorite winter hikes in Harriman State Park. Happy hiking! Include #exploreharriman in your Instagram posts, stories or TikTok vids and perhaps you’ll be selected to appear on their gallery. Please remember to carry out what you carry in - leave no trace.
- Disconnect To Reconnect with me, Glenn Donovan @a.serene.path
This story blog is in partnership with ExploreHarriman.org and Rockland County Tourism though it is exclusively the experience of the blog author. Authenticity and transparency is paramount to all parties.
Explore Harriman is not affiliated with or a subsidiary of guided hikes organized by those who share their blogs.