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