View Full Version : 3D/2Nt Loop Recommendations in Harriman / Bear Mountain SP (NY): Memorial Day Wknd

05-16-2016, 17:22
My brother and I are planning to backpack over Memorial Day Weekend for two nights (Sat. - Mon). I want to use the trip to get out, but also to reacquaint myself with the AT as I ponder the prospects of a thru-hike in 2017. Since he's in Manhattan, Harriman/Bear Mountain SPs seem to be a good move. I've never hiked this section of the AT, though I've downloaded the detailed NY/NJ Trail Conference map while searching through this forum, trip posts, blogs, etc. online. Seems like a beautiful section.

Questions I have for this lovely community:

What trail loops would you recommend to make the most out of the AT? We'll have a car that we need to get back to, and would like to avoid the extra task of arranging a shuttle. (My brother hasn't backpacked before, but is in shape and hikes with me, so I think we're conservatively looking at 8-12 miles/day with the ups and downs I've read about.)
Are there any trails/shelters specifically to avoid due to the holiday?
(i.e. Any that are likely to be overloaded? We're looking forward to seeing/meeting other hikers, so we don't need complete solitude, but would rather not pile on to an already crowded scene...)
Is it ok to hang food bags in these parks? I can't find this information on the SP website.

Other insights/wisdom are very welcome.

coach lou
05-16-2016, 17:42
The Park WILL be crowded. The park....Bear Mtn. , Harriman, and Sterling Forest are loaded with bears....take care of your food. West Mountain Shelter has the best view, but is VERY popular. If you park at Elk Pen, you can circle for days, and not even cross the Palisades Parkway. I would stay away from Bear Mtn Proper.

coach lou
05-16-2016, 21:02

This really is a lovely area....enjoy!

05-16-2016, 21:13
Then there are the scouts....
They can be at any shelter. Plan on having your own tent/tarp for sure.
There is a shuttle service http://www.myharriman.com/harriman-shuttle-bus/ so consider leaving your car at the end of your hike and getting a ride to the start. Maybe even a Uber or taxi ride.

Feral Bill
05-16-2016, 23:14
Get the NYNJTC maps. There are numerous possibilities. Elk Pen (Arden Valley Road at he Thruway) is a good starting point.Make sure of the water situation, some shelters are dry, at least at times.