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.


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 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.


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.

23 comments on “Hiking Silvermine Ski Area at Harriman

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. I learned to ski at Silvermine Ski Center when I was 5 in 1957. Then I started teaching there when I was 15. Great memories.

  10. I love that people are still reading this from time to time. Thanks for all the nice comments. Seems like lots of folks have fond memories of Silvermine.

  11. Friday Nights: I also learned to ski at Silvermine Ski Center. We had recently moved to the area in 1968 from Brooklyn and my father took us skiing most friday nights. With fun music playing on the loud speakers and a roaring fire in the chalet it was a great time. I’ll always remember those fun times. So glad to see others felt the same way…

  12. I skied it today and it was great! It was pretty busy with people sledding, but they all hung around the lower half of the main slope (“2″ in the map above). We hiked to the top, and managed some freshies, pulled 4 laps to make some nice 8s in the snow. There was probably 6-8” of snow, with some deeper pockets throughout. We didn’t make it over to the steeper slope, so we’ll save that for next snow. Here’s the video edit: https://www.facebook.com/ygillers/videos/10212946813258035/?l=3120460506416147881

  13. Learned to ski at Silver Mine in 1958 on the beginners slope far to the right as you look up the hill. Nothing but fond memories!

  14. My sister and I learned how to ski there in the 70’s and would go with our middle school every week in the winter. Thanks for helping me rekindle some fond memories.

  15. I used to go skiing there with my dad and brother in the late ‘60s; a few years later with dad, my husband, and daughter. It was so close to Queens and therefore so much easier to get to than all the other ski areas. I also remember that at some point they had ski jumps that we watched. Awesome memories. Somewhere I still have a Silvermine ski patch. Wish it were still open.

  16. In the 1960’s my friends dad was the superintendent of the entire park. We went to ski every day. I even worked the snack bar on Friday nights and weekends. As I got older did a lot of fishing there too. Large mouth bass were abundant. Living only 8 miles from there was great.

  17. On December 31 (next week) I will celebrate fifty years of skiing, which began at Silvermine on New Year’s Eve in 1968. Our neighbor George Liddecoat brought me along with 3 of 4 his kids (read that: “crowded stationwagon) to do what I had only seen on tv to that point, but somehow knew I was going to love. At the age of 10 I found the reason I was born and have never stopped skiing since.

    I vividly remember the rope tows – hugely intimidating. I think it took most of the day just learning to get up the hill.

  18. Wonderful. As a kid I probably skied Silvermine. Fahnestock was the go to with Tuxedo Park close by for the preadolescent me and an easy drive for my benevolent skiing parents. Thanks for the memories.

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