The New York Ski Blog

Hiking Silvermine Ski Area at Harriman

It was late morning on Saturday and by some miracle neither of my sons had any scheduled activities. I seized the opportunity to get them some exercise, a lesson in ski history and hopefully some pre-season psyche. I pried them away from the X Box to climb the ski hill at Silvermine Lake.

Silvermine-Ski-Area-run

Silvermine Lake is one of several small bodies of water in Harriman State Park that are popular picnic spots for people from the city during the summer months. It also used to have a small ski area located near its shore. It closed some time back in the eighties I think, possibly a victim of warm winters or a lack of chair lifts.

According to Skiing in the East – Ski Trails and How to Get There, a 1930s era guidebook commissioned by the Federal Writers Project, Silvermine ski area boasted 290 feet of vertical with two rope tows, 1,800 and 2,275 feet in length.

Silvermine-Ski-Area-path

When we pulled into the parking lot, we found day hikers and some with bigger packs. There were also a few families with full lunches spread out on tables in the picnic area.

I was somewhat surprised to see that the old, small base lodge which stood just a few years ago back when I’d brought the boys here to sled, had been razed. There where the beginnings of some new construction where it used to be.

Silvermine-Ski-Area-bullwheel

My younger son was negotiating as we headed up. There wasn’t really any need to go all the way to the top was there?  Then he borrowed my phone to take a selfie inside a broken down shack near the base. “You can wait here if you want” I said but he jogged right up the lift line as his older brother and I started to leave him behind.

I pointed out the towers and sheaves that were still visible in the trees and showed them the trail I had tried skiing a few years ago when there was snow on the ground. I speculated that the lift equipment looked more like a T-bar or poma then a rope tow and my younger boy agreed. My older son ate it up. He was taking pictures of everything that caught his eye.

Silvermine-trail-map

Silvermine Trail Map courtesy Chris Lundquist

I was happy that neither of them had any real trouble keeping up. Each time I pointed up ahead and said “Hey, check that out, let’s see what’s up there” they followed along willingly or ran ahead. At the top we found the remains of one of the lift terminals, at this point just some concrete and steel girder with some cable still laying at its base.

I was surprised to discover some old lights suspended in the trees and some PVC pipe visible along the edge of one trail seemed to suggest snow making activity at some point in the past. We headed back down to the novice trail.

Silvermine-Ski-Area-lift-shack

I steered the boys toward the old lift shacks as we neared the bottom. We were rewarded by finding the gears and machinery remained inside. One shack even had the old electric motor still there.

After more selfies and picture taking, we were headed back to the car; I was satisfied with the little bit of exercise we got and the education I’d imparted to my boys. One of them even asked if we came back this winter, could we bring our skis in addition to our sleds.

11 Responses on “Hiking Silvermine Ski Area at Harriman

  1. ml242 says:

    Great job, I love Harriman. Never skied Silvermine but I know people that have a good time there. I wonder how it compares to Fahnestock, you could do a two-fer!

  2. Alan says:

    Unfortunately, Fahnestock is closed to the public.

  3. Brownski says:

    Thanks. Fahnestock’s a good idea. Need some snow now so the boys can see what it’s like to earn their turns.

  4. Benny Profane says:

    The parking lot is a starting point for some road rides I do with friends at times, when I get all the way over there from Ct. I hiked it once, and, did you realize that the Appalachian trial runs right through the woods on the top of the runs? Always thought I’d like to ski it, but, I’d rather drive to Hunter or further north if it’s snowing that much.

  5. Peter Minde says:

    Fahnestock is a NY state park and is open to the public.

  6. Brownski says:

    Yes the Appalachian trail goes right through there. There’s actually a lean-to pretty close also. The lake is a nice spot for canoeing too. That’s how I found the place.

  7. snoloco says:

    Reopen it!!

  8. Mark says:

    I learned to ski at Silvermine, it was a fun very small place that was close to NYC where we lived. They defiantly had at least one t_bar I think 2 from what I remember.

  9. raisingarizona says:

    This brings back memories. I have an uncle that lives in the park so I spent a lot of time there for holiday celebrations. During the summer of 95 my friends and I drove to this ski area to hike around and party. That was a real nice summer with low humidity and moderate temps. I had a jeep and kept it topless and the doors off all summer. I stayed in NJ until New Years Eve when I moved to Steamboat.

    Great article man! Thank you.

  10. Frank says:

    I passed Silvermine on Mon 11/23 on my way from the AT at William Brien lean-to to the BM Inn (via LP and PG), a 12 mile day on a multi-day trek.

    I saw that funny looking structure next to the restroom facility, which used to be an entire lodge until a couple years ago when it was razed. Does anyone know what that is the start of?
    I thought solar panels on top, one guy suggested a ski lift, but it is oriented in the wrong direction to be a ski life, and I hardly think anyone is going to revive the Silvermine ski center when many of the swimming facilities in the park have been closed due to lack of funding to complete renovation – or even hire lifeguards?

  11. Frank Santariga says:

    There will always be a place in my heart for Silvermine Ski Center.I dedicated my 4th place finish at the 1967 Northeastern Regional Ski Championships to Silvermine where I first learned to ski. Be careful when you get to the top of the center slope because I plan to have my ashes spread.

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