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Harriman Snowshoe Night Hike from Elk Pen

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  • Harriman Snowshoe Night Hike from Elk Pen

    Started snowshoeing at 4:30pm yesterday with a buddy. Tubbs Mountaineers 30"

    We go to Harriman when we need a quick fix as its just a short ride for us compared to other areas of New York. Second time with snowshoes in Harriman this year. The first time was the day after we had a huge storm here and I was breaking Trail solo alone on the way to Big Hill shelter.

    Man, I can't remember the last time powder was this good in Harriman. Prob 2011. But once it falls you better get there fast before the hordes come through and bust it up.

    Now I'm not one to usually lament a few boot marks in the snow here and there. But Harriman State Park is ridiculous. My buddy and I joked that it's amazing that all the snowshoes are sold out in the country but the trails there are always boot marked and post holed. Luckily we don't always stick to the trail and many times we just walk next to the trail for more realistic Snowshoe experience. Although I will say last night with the fresh fallen snow, it helped to make the boot marks underneath more tolerable, as there were many. However if we had waited until tonight or tomorrow it would have been a different story after the Saturday crowds, but i digress...

    It was snowing hard at Elk Pen when we began on the AT and continued so for a long time. Snowed all night but eventually lightened up a bit halfway through hike.

    4-6 inches of fresh powder on top of what already existed. One way to beat the crowds at Harriman is to just go in the dark. You'll have the place to yourself!

    We had no real plan and hadn't even looked at the map yet until we were walking for a while. We were just out for some exercise. Was light out for a while and then the sun went out.

    We were on the AT approaching Island Pond then we took a right on a woods road and took it to ASB Red Trail eventually we were making our way then we did some nighttime bushwhacking. We're trying to cut over to a yellow Trail as we were planning on heading to Bald Rocks shelter to hang out in the dark for a bit.

    However the trail system over there is dense and with night time bushwacking, mistakes can be made. We thought we were somewhere else on a trail. And really we weren't that far along and then we made a wrong turn on another Trail. No big deal as we were just kind of winging it anyway and whatever happened happened. So we scratch the lean-to as a destination and just continued on.

    There were a lot of white and yellow Trails over there. We were headed the wrong way down the white bar Trail and eventually had to make a right and get on the Nurian white Trail and just take that back towards the car. Cross through the Valley of Boulders and continued on the Stahahe Brook Red Trail all the way back to car. Towards the end we were kind of bushwhacking downhill. We joked that we should just head towards the sound of traffic, but it wasn't really a joke....

    The Harriman woods look very pretty while there was daylight with freshly fallen snow all over all the trees. Also bonus was that it was snowing hard on us for a long time and it continued to flurry throughout the night. The twinkle of snow in the cone of light from our headlamps as well as the steam coming off our heads was a soothing sight along with the crisp night air.

    We were done around 9 p.m. We hung in the parking lot and ate a few snacks and then took off. Not quite 6 miles.
    Catskills: 39/39, 35W/35W
    ADK: 46/46, 1W/46W

  • #2
    Too many trails can be confusing, as you noticed. Must have been nice to have your solo tracks to fall back on. Were you with the Gearhor? I like saying that.
    I might be kidding...


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes and Yes.
      We knew we had solo tracks to fall back on. And yes I was with him. Lol

  • #3
    Well, just like harriman has a lot of trails, it also has a lot of trailheads. Elk Pen is a big lot and of course with the AT going by, not terribly unused. Definitely avoid the Visitor's centen 7LD on a nice weekend.. but there are a TON of small out of the way hole in the wall trailheads all around Harrimen..

    Life is a short, warm moment
    And death is a long cold rest.
    You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
    Eighty years, with luck, or even less.
    -Pink Floyd


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes. And I think I've used them all!

  • #4
    The trouble is that you can't park at many of them!

    ADK 46r #8003; 6W
    2nd round: 16
    SL6r #596
    Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      I dont totally agree with that. You can always find a way to slip the car in. Although I will admit that during covid times, things have gotten ridiculous in Harriman. A busy area went to ridiculously busy. Trying to park at the reeves center or lake skannatati, you might as well just park along down the road and start walking, or enter the woods from a different point

  • #5
    My experience is to find powder there you need to move while it is still falling.
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