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Posts Tagged ‘Bald Mountain’

by Daniel Chazin, The Record, NorthJersey.com, link to original post

FEATURES: This loop hike follows portions of the never-completed Dunderberg Spiral Railway, climbs to the summit of Bald Mountain and passes several expansive viewpoints over the Hudson River.
LENGTH: 7 miles
DIFFICULTY: Strenuous.
TIME: About 5 1/2 hours.
MAP: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map #119.
DOGS: Permitted on leash.

HOW TO GET THERE: Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Circle and proceed south on Route 9W for about four miles. Park in a gravel parking area on the right, at the base of a downhill section. (A side road, Old Route 9W, leaves sharply to the left here.)

From the parking area, walk south on Route 9W for a few hundred feet. Just beyond signs for Routes 9W and 202, three blue blazes and three red-dot-on-white blazes on a tree mark the start of the Timp-Torne (blue) and Ramapo-Dunderberg (red-dot-on-white) Trails.

Follow the blazes into the woods along a level footpath. Soon, the trail bears left and climbs stone steps to reach a stone-arch tunnel on the left – a remnant of the Dunderberg Spiral Railway, constructed in 1890 but never completed.

The trail now bears right and ascends more steeply to a junction. Here, the red-dot-on-white blazes continue ahead, while the blue blazes turn left. Follow the blue blazes of the Timp-Torne Trail, which continues to climb, but on a more moderate grade.

Soon, the trail turns right and heads away from the river. After going through a rocky area on switchbacks, the trail turns left and follows a level, graded railway embankment for the next quarter of a mile. With the railbed ahead blocked off by fallen trees, the trail turns right and climbs to the next higher level, where it turns left. Just ahead, you’ll come to the portal of an unfinished tunnel.

The trail now returns to the lower railway grade, which it follows around a curved embankment. The roadbed ends at the opposite end of the unfinished tunnel, but the trail bears left, crosses a stream and a woods road, and climbs to another viewpoint, which looks south along the river. Beyond the viewpoint, the trail is relatively level, and even descends a little.

Watch for a sharp right turn, where the trail reverses direction and heads northeast, uphill at first. After another level stretch, the trail reaches a panoramic viewpoint, looking both north and south along the Hudson.

From the viewpoint, the trail again reverses direction and heads southwest on a relatively level footpath. After passing another panoramic south-facing viewpoint, the trail climbs gradually, then descends rather steeply. At the base of the descent, the trail intersects a woods road, with the junction marked by a cairn.

Leave the Timp-Torne Trail here and turn right onto the woods road, marked with white “1777” blazes. In a short distance, turn right again onto the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, which you will follow for the rest of the hike.

The trail climbs to a viewpoint, continues over a rise through dense mountain laurel thickets, and descends to briefly join a woods road that crosses a stream. It then bears left and climbs to the summit of Bald Mountain. Just before reaching the summit, the trail turns sharply right. Continue ahead to the summit and to a rock outcrop just beyond that offers a panoramic view over the Hudson River.

When you’re ready to continue, return to the trail, and be sure to take the left fork. The trail begins to descend, passing an opening of the Cornell Mine on the right. It continues along the ridge of Dunderberg Mountain, with several ups and downs.

In another mile, the trail briefly joins a woods road and then climbs to a high point with a view. After a slight descent, it climbs steeply to reach an even better viewpoint, then continues through thickets of dense birch saplings.

After descending from the ridge, steeply in places, the trail curves right. Here, a short white-blazed side trail leads ahead to a viewpoint over the Hudson River. The Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail soon joins another graded section of the railbed, with several gaps where the grading was never finished.

At a stone abutment, the trail turns sharply left and descends steadily along a right-of-way excavated for a cable incline. When you reach the junction with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, continue ahead (downhill), following both blue and red-dot-on-white blazes back to the parking area where the hike began.

“Hiking” is provided by Daniel Chazin of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. The trail conference is a volunteer organization that builds and maintains more than 1,700 miles of hiking trails and publishes a library of hiking maps and books, including a two-map set for Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails ($9.95) and the “New York Walk Book” ($22.95). The Trail Conference’s office is at 156 Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202), Mahwah; (201) 512-9348; nynjtc.org; hikeoftheWeek@aol.com.

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