Harriman State Park: Jackie Jones Loop

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Harriman State Park, only 30 miles north of New York City, is New York State’s second largest state park. It encompasses more than 47k acres, 30 lakes and 200 miles of hiking trails.

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I explored this park with Take A Hike NJ! on a beautiful September Sunday. We chose a variation of the Jackie Jones Loop, a trail which passes through some ruins, ascends to a Fire Tower and a camping shelter before returning to the park road.

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After finding parking for the group at the trailhead, we followed the yellow blazes to the ruins of the Orak mansion. Orak is Karo spelled backwards…the mansion was built in 1923 by George Buchanan, an executive for the company that makes Karo corn syrup.

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After Buchanan’s death in 1939, the mansion was sold to the park. It was demolished in 1973.

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We continued on up the trail to the steel fire tower. Built in 1928 at the 1276 foot summit of Jackie Jones Mountain, it was renovated in 2018.

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It still seemed a little rickety to me as we climbed it to take in the surrounding views, but the little dog in our group made it up the 60 feet, so who am I to complain? From the top, the NYC skyline, the Hudson River and the lakes of Harriman State Park can be seen.

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Continuing along the trail after the tower, we climbed another ascent to the Big Hill Shelter. This is one of nine stone shelters throughout Harriman, for use by campers. This was a good place to rest before heading back down around the loop to our cars.

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Harriman Posts:

  • Jackie Jones Loop
  • Lake Welch (Coming soon)

Location: 54 Seven Lakes Dr, Sloatsburg, NY 10974

Designation: State Park

Date designated/established: 1910

Date of my visit: September 8, 2019

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9 thoughts on “Harriman State Park: Jackie Jones Loop

  1. This is great and so close to New York City. Were you there on a weekday or weekend. That close to a population center and with that great scenery, did you encounter crowds?

    1. Thanks 😊. In NYC terms, 30 miles could just as well be another planet. For example, we live less than 20 miles outside of Manhattan, but it takes my husband nearly two hours to get home from work on our woefully inadequate public transportation. If you think about crowded parks like Yosemite or Zion, this was nowhere near that. Our group had the trail to ourselves except for the camping area by the shelter. The trailhead is small, so we did park in a lot nearby and carpool to the trailhead

  2. What beautiful views. It does sound like it requires some lung power 🙂 Wow…a 2 hour one way commute….4 hours a day just commuting to work….awful! Hope he likes his job and it is worth it!

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