From the parking lot, head east (left when facing the woods) on the broad red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, passing the Visitor Center on the left. In about 300 feet, you'll notice a white-blazed trail that begins on the right. Turn right onto this trail, known as the Reeves Brook Trail, which follows a woods road uphill. Soon, the trail begins to parallel Reeves Brook, which is to the...
From the parking lot, head east (left when facing the woods) on the broad red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, passing the Visitor Center on the left. In about 300 feet, you'll notice a white-blazed trail that begins on the right. Turn right onto this trail, known as the Reeves Brook Trail, which follows a woods road uphill. Soon, the trail begins to parallel Reeves Brook, which is to the left.
In half a mile, another woods road leaves to the right. A short distance beyond, follow the white-blazed trail as it bears left and begins a steeper climb on a footpath, passing attractive cascades in the brook (when the water is high). After a level section, the trail bears left and continues to climb through mountain laurel thickets. It next proceeds over undulating terrain, climbing gradually (but steeply in places), with several short descents, and continuing to parallel the brook.
About a mile and a half from the start, you'll notice a steep escarpment just ahead. Here, you'll cross the blue-on-white-blazed Seven Hills Trail and continue ahead on the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail, which now runs parallel to the escarpment. After a short descent, the Reeves Brook Trail ends at a junction with the black-on-white-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.
Turn left onto the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which briefly descends to cross a stream on rocks and then steeply climbs the escarpment. The trail continues along the ridge and soon reaches a southwest-facing viewpoint from a rock ledge over the Torne Valley, with the New York Thruway beyond. After a short climb, the trail emerges onto another rock ledge, with several pitch pines. This ledge -- with a large rock that juts out, known as The Pulpit -- also affords a southwest-facing view. After a short descent, the trail climbs to reach a junction with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail on an open rock ledge.
Continue ahead on the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, which continues to climb more gradually to a wooded area on the crest of the ridge. The elevation here is about 1,230 feet above sea level, and you've climbed about 800 feet to reach this ridge - the highest point on the hike. On a clear day, you can see the New York City skyline in the distance from a rock ledge to the right of the trail.
The trail descends to cross the route of a gas pipeline and climbs to regain the ridge. After a level stretch, it begins a rather steep descent. At the base of the descent, the trail bears right and climbs gently through dense stands of mountain laurel. It then descends gradually to a junction with the white-blazed Kakiat Trail.
Turn left at the junction and follow the Kakiat Trail, which descends gradually, passing through more dense stands of mountain laurel and then paralleling Raccoon Brook, on the right. In about half a mile, you’ll pass the northern trailhead of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail on the right. Continue ahead on the Kakiat Trail, which soon widens into a woods road.
Soon, you’ll reach a junction with the Seven Hills Trail (blue on white) and the Pine Meadow Trail (red on white), which come in from the right. Here, the Kakiat Trail turns right, but you should leave the Kakiat Trail and continue straight ahead on the joint Seven Hills/Pine Meadow Trails (do not cross the bridge over Pine Meadow Brook). When the Seven Hills Trail leaves to the left, continue ahead on the red-on-white-blazed Pine Meadow Trail. You will take the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the parking area.
A short distance beyond, the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail briefly joins. Continue ahead on the Pine Meadow Trail. Soon, you’ll reach a section where the woods road has eroded, and the trail has been relocated onto a footpath to the left.
After crossing a gas pipeline and then Quartz Brook on a wooden bridge, the Pine Meadow Trail reaches a junction where the yellow-blazed Stony Brook Trail begins on the right. Continue to follow the Pine Meadow Trail as it bears left and begins to run close to Stony Brook, with its attractive cascades. To bypass a wet spot at the crossing of a tributary stream, the trail has been relocated to the hillside on the left, where it crosses another wooden bridge. Just beyond, you’ll come to the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center and the parking lot where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 03/23/2004 updated/verified on 03/07/2022
This loop hike at the southern end of Harriman State Park follows several picturesque streams and climbs to views of Torne Valley and the New York City skyline.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.