Backpacking & Solo Winter Camping in a Snow Storm on the Appalachian Trail and New York Long Path.
For this 3 day, 2 night camping trip, I decided to do a backpacking loop in New York’s Harriman State park. Despite being just a half hour north of New York City, Harriman SP offers hundreds of miles of trails, rugged mountain terrain, and rustic lean-to shelters built in the 1920’s. Covering over 47,000 acres, it’s the second largest state park in NY and feels more like a national forest shortly after hitting the trail.
Because I did this trip in mid December with a forecast of possible snow and a temp range of just above freezing down to the teens, I figured the crowds would be minimal. The shelters in this area also have some great personality, so I decided to do something different – go minimal and just sleep in the shelter with a sleeping pad and a down quilt. This is a convenient and common practice for most Appalachian Trail hikers in fairer weather, but it would be a first for me in winter.
For an easier read, GPS data, and more info check out my full blog post:
No permit is required to backcountry camp in Harriman SP, but you may only set up camp within 100 yards of one of the park’s lean-to shelters.
Trailhead Used: Kanawauke Picnic Area, Bear Mountain, NY 10911
I chose this spot to begin because the road is closed beyond this point during winter. There are plenty of spots for parking and it was plowed while I was in the woods, which is a plus. There are also restrooms here, but they were closed for the winter.
NJTC Trail Map https://amzn.to/2KMYfrs
Trails Used, Day 1
Road hike west on Kanawauke Rd 1/2 half mile.
Right on Unnamed Forest Road
Left (west) on Dunning Trail
Right (north) on Ramapo Dunderberg Trail
New York Long Path North / Arden Surebridge Trail
Right on Appalachian Trail North
Left (north) on Long Path
Camp at “Unmaintained Shelter”
While listed as “unmaintained”, this is an all metal shelter that is in good condition with an established fire pit in front. Water is available 1/8 mile east on the Long Path at the crossing of Surebridge Brook.
Day 1 Mileage: 5.7
Day 1 Gross Ascent: 1,581’
Trails Used, Day 2
Continue on the Long Path
Camp at Stockbridge Shelter
Made of stone in 1928 and built into the side of the Stockbridge Mountain summit with a new metal roof and two stone fireplaces. There are plenty of spots for tent or hammock camping to the rear of the shelter as well. I didn’t observe any water sources here. I got water the next morning 1 mile down the yellow trail at one of the streams feeding Lake Nawahunta.
Day 2 Mileage: 3.4
Day 2 Gross Ascent: 762’
Trails Used, Day 3
Backtrack south on the Long Path
Left (east) on Menomine Trail (yellow)
Pass by Silvermine Lake & William Brien Shelter
Right (west) on Red Cross Trail
Straight (southwest) on unmaintained woods road.
I did this as a shortcut to save time and elevation.
Road Hike west on Seven Lakes Drive (plowed in winter)
Return to vehicle
Day 3 Mileage: 9.5
Day 3 Gross Ascent: 1,466 feet
Total Mileage: 18.6
Total Gross Ascent: 3,809’
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