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The Long Path: US Route 6 to Woodbury

Posted Apr 22 2012 11:56pm
Back in February I did a point to point run from Monroe across the Schunemunk Ridge and to Salisbury Mills . That run started started just below the Metro North tracks where The Long Path intersects with Route 94 in Woodbury.

The Long Path Trail-head
Since that run I had been curious about The Long Path connection from Harriman State Park to the Schunemunk Ridge. By doing a little research I  found there was an 11 mile stretch from a parking area/trail-head on US Route 6 to Route 94 in Woodbury.

The Long Path
I had my friend follow me to the Route 94 parking area, where I left my car before we headed off to the Route 6.

Just off Route 6 there's a short and well marked access road with parking just a few feet from the trail-head.

I was somewhat surprised to see there were already several cars here. As I was planning this run I noticed that the areas north of Route 6 appeared to the more remote portions of Harriman and would likely be less populated than other areas of the park.

View from Long Mountain
I left my friend and without hesitation I ventured into the woods following the familiar aqua blazes for the day.

I was pleased with the quality of the trail. It was wide and grassy with some scattered stones winding it's way through oaks and low scrub-brush.

After a small descent the red trail appeared on the right and The Long Path started the first climb to the top of Long Mountain.

Turkey Hill Lake
The climb isn't exceptionally difficult and at the summit are spectacular 360 degree views of the Highlands with Turkey Hill Lake below.

In addition to the wonderful views the Torrey Memorial is engraved into the summit.

As I continue along the path, it finishes it's crest of the summit and descends deeper into the woods through a series of downhill switchbacks.

The Torrey Memorial
At the bottom the trail crosses Hollow Brook before reaching the West Point Boundary.

The Boundary is a 25 foot cleared path  through the woods ascending for about half a mile. Eventually heading inward through oak and blueberry bushes and cresting Howell Mountain.

Again another descent down the northern-side of Hollow Mountain leaves me on the floor of another glacial flat strewn with massive boulders and a series of small brooks.

Cresting Howell Mountain
And as you would expect, yet another climb awaited my approach. This one was basically two long switchbacks, the first steeper than the second allowing me to continue my slow shuffle  to the top of Brooks Mountain.

At the top of Brooks Mountain I follow the trail along an undulating ridge strewn with rock face, green grasses and blueberry shrubs before descending past distant views of Lake Massawippa and eventually dropping down to cross Route 293.

The Long Path borders West Point
After crossing Route 293 and reentering the woods, I found myself slipping in deep drifts of brown dead leaves left over from last fall. After negotiating the surprisingly slippery foliage The path began another climb that once again borders the West Point Boundary as it climbs Blackcap Mountain.

Arriving at the top of Blackcap the trail turns left and wanders along stone ridge, mountain laurel and underbrush as it heads towards Route 6.

The trail stays in the woods longer than expected following a chain-link fence about 30 feet in from the forest line and the highway. Again the leaves from last fall have accumulated beside the fence and have left the footing slippery and unstable.

Old Route 6
Eventually, at about 5 miles into the run the trail forces me from the woods and for about 300 yards I'm running in the long grasses alongside Route 6, but before it could get too annoying the aqua blazes visibly head down the grassy embankment and down to a an abandoned roadway.

The roadway is obviously the old Route 6 as the oddly out of place double yellow lines on the abandoned road are still visible.

For the next several miles The Long Path follows paved roads.

Now that I was out in the direct sunlight, heat management had become an issue.

The day was slightly humid and in the 70s but while I was in the woods where it was reasonably shaded and the pleasantly cool breezes from the mountain top exposures provided a comfort that was no longer available.

I trotted my way down the old route 6 and rounded a gentle bend and was presented with a view of the backside of the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets . Continuing past the view of the shoppers mecca (that I have no interest in), the road continues to descend and passes over a wire barrier to an active road through a very cute little neighborhood.

Still continuing on a slight downhill just before crossing Route 84 I turn right and follow a long straight road with a 1% downgrade.

I can see Schunemunk off in the distance as I wished for the rain the weather reports had said were a possibility. Unfortunately the possibility of a storm was as far away as the mountain. The humidity was higher than it had been all spring and there was no shade for the next few miles as I began to suffer.

At the end of the road I took a right onto Smith Clove Road. I quickly realized this road was very different from the previous 8 miles. The road possessed the narrowest of shoulders and the cars were recklessly speeding along the windy road. On several occasions coming too close for comfort.

I passed the scenic Smith Clove Golf Club nestled under the wooded mountains that I had just emerged.

Before too long I took a left and meandered over a Pine Hill and eventually over the Route 84o overpass, and finally wrapping my way down the curvy road to Woodbury Creek.

At the creek the path merges right and crosses the road and runs the last couple of miles along a gas pipeline between the creek and the Metro-North tracks.

Metro North Trestle
On reasonably flat terrain and in a somewhat shaded environment, I was on my way to finishing today's run.

There were a few difficult graveled areas that I suspect were washed out during hurricane Irene and repaired with large ankle twisting grey gravel.

I made my way to the the creek as it runs parallel to route 32 and under the train trestle. The trail frustratingly runs down to the creek and loops back up the hill to route 84 and back down to route 32.

I probably could have crossed at the first encounter with the creek, but I wanted to run this portion of The Long Path in it's entirety. So I blindly followed the blazes eventually reaching Route 32.

I climbed over the guardrail and I know I have but a few hundred yards up the winding road to reach the car I dropped off earlier.

I drove home with a cherry red face, air-conditioning on full blast.

Distance: 11.10 miles
Time: 3hrs 23min
Elevation Gain: 1,780 ft
  1. Long Mountain (1,143 ft)
  2. Hollow Mountain (1,154 ft)
  3. Brooks Mountain (1,078 ft)
  4. Blackcap Mountain (1,194 ft)

The Route
Elevation Profile

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