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.
Winter-friendly hiking trail #1 - The Buck Trail! Plus, further down, I share my post-hike stop at a fantastic eatery, Seven Lakes Station, in Sloatsburg.
I do really enjoy the trails during this time of year. It’s so energizing to be outside in the fresh cold air! I just spent a few hours on the Buck Trail. Even though this winsome, hidden gem is often overlooked, it offers a secluded beauty that is perfect for a winter afternoon.
So first, I want to start by saying wearing ice spikes, cleats, or crampons are recommended for any icy conditions. Always exercise caution. Be sure to have a digital map set up on Avenza as well as a paper map from The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
Park at the Lake Sebago Boat Launch. Cross over Seven Lakes Drive to the Seven Hills trailhead, blazed in blue. The first 0.35 miles on the blue is a steady incline and the most difficult part of the day. If you are without spikes, be sure to take your time and confirm your footing as you make your way up the mountain.
After about 15-20 minutes, start looking for the Buck trailhead blazed in yellow which will guide you to the left, leaving the blue to the right. The next 1.15 miles is a comfortable and level path that gently leads you through Conklin Mountain on your right. I like winter hiking the Buck trail for a few different reasons. First, it is mostly flat, which is easier to navigate through snow. There are also minimal water crossings. I counted two, both were just a step or two to get over. Second, if you look to the west, there are amazing mountains that can only be seen when the leaves are off the trees. Random boulders dot the landscape. There was a particular spot where the trail led me through three boulders the size of Volkswagens! See if you can find them when you’re on this trek. Once you get to the 1.15 mark, the trail splits with the yellow Buck heading to the right and the Buck alternate, blazed black stripe on yellow to the left. FUN FACT: This is the only trail in Harriman that is blazed black stripe on yellow.
Stay on course with solid yellow to the right for another 0.45 miles till the end where you will run into a road that is authorized for X-country skiing. Take that road to the left for a half mile where you will see the Buck alternative to the left. Take that back to the yellow intersection and stay right to head you back on the 1.15 miles to the blue. Take the blue to the right back down the mountain to Sebago. Watch your step along the way.
I heard the sound of a woodpecker tapping away on a tree. Does that mean spring is near?
I spent about 3 hours out there and afterwards I was definitely hungry. I decided to meet up with my friend, Trailblazin Tez, at Seven Lakes Station in Sloatsburg.This intimate gastropub offers indoor and very cool heated pod outdoor seating. I really like the local art that decorates the place. And, I have to say it is always a good thing when there is a wide variety of beers on tap. Plenty of IPA’s but i decided to try a dark lager called “Zero Gravity”. It was good but I am trying to decide if I like the BBQ sauce burger even more - Seven Lakes Station is known for legendary delicious burgers. Plus, anything with fried onions is fine with me! Tez’s Tuscan Chicken looked so amazing, I almost took a bite off his plate when he wasn’t looking.
All and all, it was a great afternoon regardless of the freezing temperatures.
Come hit the trails on your own or with me. I am a registered hiking guide with the NY State Outdoor Guiding Association (NYSOGA) and would love to spend an afternoon with you. I have covered all of the marked trails Harriman has to offer and accept all levels of experience. DM to schedule your guided hike today! Please remember to carry out what you carry in - leave no trace.
Disconnect To Reconnect with me, Glenn Donovan @a.serene.path
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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.