Hiking Harriman State Park

I’ve had more than my share of New York State adventures lately, and with the green light to take a midweek day off, I decided to revisit Harriman State Park.

top of the ridge at Harriman State Park

Harriman is big and beautiful. The park needs to be experienced to appreciate its scale — and it provides a great opportunity to earn views and escape the masses.

One caveat: close to the trailhead, it’s easy to get depressed about the number of visitors in the park and the amount of garbage they leave behind. My hiking partner Stetson is a professional guide with a strong ethic of environmental responsibility, and he and I returned home with a staggering load of trash in our packs.

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Gore Mountain Topography

I hear a lot about the flat spots at Gore — like it or not, they’re part of the Gore Brand. In the beginning during the ride up and slide down days, heels were free and trails like Rabbit Pond followed rolling terrain going both up and down. Nobody seemed to mind the exercise.

Gore Mountain 1965
Gore Mountain 1965

But during the early period of lift served skiing on Bear Mountain, in the mid-sixties, there were no flat spots. The East and the North Sides functioned nicely as a mountain with higher elevations, more vertical and more terrain than the Ski Bowl.

In the late sixties, the funds became available to develop the true summit of Gore. Some of the very best terrain at Gore Mountain was added under the Straightbrook and Summit Chairs. Hawkeye, Chatiemac, Headwaters, Lower Steilhang and Hullabaloo put true expert terrain onto the trail map. At that time there was only one way to get down to the base, without adding yet another lift. “Cloud” was born.

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