Lake Skenonto Loop
Header photo by Horace Cheng
While we've already covered the most famous of the public transit accessible hikes (Breakneck Ridge), on the other side of the river, Harriman State Park provides access to miles of hiking by public transit
One relatively laid back hike is the 5.5 mile loop to Lake Skenonto which is perfect for newer hikers or those looking for a relaxed day. Note: there are a few rocky and uphill parts but overall this is a tame hike.
Step 1: Preparation
Hiking boots and a good map are always recommended. This trail is on the NYNJTC Harriman South Map.
Step 2: Take the train from Penn Station to Tuxedo Station
You'll be taking New Jersey Transit from "New York Penn Station" to "Tuxedo Station" - you can check the most up to date timetables by putting those stations into the NJ Transit Trip Planner here.
On weekends there's usually a 9:15AM train to catch (which will require a switching of trains in Secaucus) and there are various choices for the ride back depending on how long you stay out on the trails.
Step 3: Arrive at Tuxedo Station and head for the trails!
The rail station is about a 1/2 mile walk from the trailhead and will be marked on your NYNJTC map as "red". Basically you will need to walk North from the Train Station to find E. Village Road. Turn right on E. Village Road until it intersects with Grove Street. Grove will take you North to the Trailhead (also marked with red).
Step 4: Enter Harriman State Park
The first part of your journey will be along the Ramapo Dunderburg trail which is a red blaze on a background of white along the trail. Though you will intersect with a few other trails continue to follow the red blazes up a few steeps. On your map you'll see two stars near Parker Cabin Mountain which indicate great viewpoints. The first star is our recommended lunch spot (just before crossing the yellow Triangle trail) for it's views and flat rocks for sitting.
Step 4: Stop for lunch!
Step 5: Continue on the blue Victory trail to Lake Skenonto
A mostly flat blue Victory trail will lead you the edge of Lake Skenonto where views, entrance into the water*, and a great snack break (or late lunch) can be found. Follow the flat path around the side of the lake enjoying great views along the way.
Step 6. Head back to the beginning.
You'll follow the blue blazez past the Black Ash Swamp, and fields of gold until you reach the junction with the red trail under a set of telephone wires - you should recognize the spot from earlier in the day. From there you can follow red back all the way back to your car.
Day hike from New York City without a car achieved!
*Please note: for summertime adventurers there have been stories of people getting tickets for swimming in the lake.